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18 Tips to Avoid Identity Theft and Scams

By Steven J.J. Weisman

There are a lot of people out there aiming to get your money and ruin your credit rating through identity theft and scams. They especially target seniors and people with disabilities. steve 01Here are 18 steps you can take on your own behalf or for a loved one to avoid these threats:

  1. Sign up for the federal Do-Not-Call list by calling 888-382-1222.

  2. Shred documents with personal information that you do not need. And use a cross shredder.

  3. Do not give out your Social Security number to anyone or any agency that does not absolutely need it and never give it out on the phone to someone who has initiated contact with by calling or by e-mail.

  4. Do not carry your Social Security Number or your Medicare card in your wallet or purse.

  5. Never click on links in e-mails unless you are absolutely sure that they are legitimate.

  6. Never invest at a free seminar.

  7. Never invest in anything you do not totally understand. And, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is (not true).

  8. When making charitable contributions, give directly to the charity and only after investigating the charity at

  9. Keep your important documents secure in your home.

  10. Get your free credit report every three months from one of the three major credit reporting bureaus.

  11. Eliminate preapproved credit cards by going to

  12. Stop your information from being sold by the credit reporting bureaus to third-party marketers by calling 888-567-8688.

  13. Consider putting a credit freeze on your credit report.

  14. Check your medical insurance monthly statements carefully each month.

  15. Use security software on your computer and smart phone.

  16. Pick a secure password.

  17. Check ATMs for skimmers before using.

  18. Check for information about the latest scams and identity theft schemes.

Doing all 18 steps may be a bit much to take on, but start today by picking one step to take, and then keep moving from the list. You and your family will be safer for it and could save a lot of trouble and time in the long run.

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