Florida Office of the Attorney General issued the following announcement on Dec. 23.
Attorney General Ashley Moody is issuing a Consumer Alert with tips to help protect Floridians in recognition of National Identity Theft Prevention and Awareness Month. More than 440,000 consumers nationwide fell victim to identity theft last year, including almost 38,000 Floridians. Safeguarding consumers’ identity is especially important amidst the waning hours of last-minute holiday shopping.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “Identity theft is not simply damaging to victims’ credit card or bank accounts, it can wreck lives. Victims may find out that their Social Security Number was stolen years after the crime when they try to buy their dream home and are denied because their credit was destroyed, or they may be questioned by the police because the criminal who stole their identity committed other crimes using their information. I am issuing these tips because I don’t want any Floridian to live out these nightmare situations.”
Floridians can reduce the chance of becoming an identity theft victim by remaining vigilant in all financial matters. Steps consumers can take to avoid identity theft include:
Ordering and closely reviewing a free credit report from each national credit reporting agency once a year;
Abstaining from emailing personal data unless using encryption technology;
Browsing and purchasing online using only a secure connection. Never use autofill feature when filling out online forms, unless it is on a trusted site;
Using anti-virus software, anti-spyware and a firewall;
Avoiding oversharing on social networking sites;
Refraining from giving solicitors personal or financial information over the phone, by email or pop-up message; and
Opting out of pre-screened offers of credit and insurance by mail. To opt out, call 1(888) 567-8688 or visit OptOutPreScreen.com.
Original source can be found here.