Legal $ense Monthly

December 2014

       Guarding Your Digits: How to Protect
     Your Information Through the Holidays 


           With all the shopping you will be doing this holiday season, you may be asked regularly by retailers for your "everyday numbers" i.e. your zip code, birth date, passport, phone number, and PINs. And while you are so used to giving out these numbers everyday - you may want to think again!             


            When checking out at major retailers if you pay with a credit card they will often ask for your zip code - the purpose being to match your mailing address. It is then added it to a list to bombard you with junk mail or irritating phone calls, that's best-case scenario. Worst-case scenario it may find its way to a scammer who can pair it with other pieces of personal information and steal your identity. Next time, just say no thank you.


            Your birthday is another piece of valuable information that retailers may ask for. And while the birthday freebies may seem worth it you may want to reconsider giving this out. With your name, address and birth date, scammers may be able to buy your social security numbers from websites that normally sell them to businesses conducting background checks or may be able to guess most, if not all, your social security number.


            Even when not traveling, a lost or stolen passport is serious business. Always remember to keep it securely locked away and if it does go missing call the State Department toll-free at 1-877-487-2778 to immediately deactivate.


            During the holidays you may receive automated telephone calls with instructions to "opt out" by pressing a certain key. Pressing this key can just notify the caller that the number is working and ripe for future calls. So just hang up instead.


            Your PINs are also another important number to protect. Remember to never use your birthdate or birth year. If you misplaced your wallet and it falls into the hands of a thief, a quick glance at your driver's license wont lead to the quickest route to unauthorized cash withdrawals.


Everyday Numbers and Social Media: Never list your zip code or your birthday on your social media profiles or other public websites. This is an easy place for identification thieves to look!   


At Elder Law Solutions we concentrate our practice in estate, long-term care and special needs planning. We are located on the North Shore and have a strong commitment to client service.  If you have questions about these or other legal matters, do not hesitate to contact us by e-mail by clicking here or by calling us at (978) 465- 5407.

Elder Law Solutions
Margot G. Birke, Esq.                                        www.elderlaw-solutions.com
One Harris Street                                              info@elderlaw-solutions.com
Newburyport, MA 01950
(978) 465- 5407

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