Your Money: Protect yourself from identity theft

Posted: October 05, 2013

When you or someone you know suffers identity theft, the typical loss is more than $4,900, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. So how can we protect ourselves?

A June study found that the number of identity fraud victims annually in the United States totaled 11.5 million people. So we put together some tips to fight identity theft:

Guard your mail and trash from theft. Have the U.S. Postal Service hold your mail while away from home, and install a lockable mailbox. Tear or shred receipts, insurance information, credit applications, doctor's bills, checks and bank statements, old credit cards, and any credit offers received in the mail.

Opt out of preapproved credit cards. The easiest way for a fraudster to commit identity theft is to fill out preapproved credit applications we receive in the mail. Opt out of preapproved credit-card offers by calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888- 567-8688).

Check personal credit information annually. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires each of the national consumer-reporting companies - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion - to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.

Shield your Social Security card and numbers. Keep your card in a safe place, particularly when living with roommates. Although a roommate might not steal your information, a friend or family member of theirs could, says Leon A. LaRosa, CPA and certified fraud examiner with LaRosa & Associates in Exton.

Be smart with passwords. Avoid using passwords associated with you, such as a birthday, mother's maiden name, spouse's name, digits of a telephone number, or consecutive numbers. Do not use the same password for everything, and change it periodically.

If you think you have been the target of an identity thief, call the Federal Trade Commission (when the government reopens) at 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877- 438-4338).

Get them to the Greeks

The Options Industry Council will host a free seminar Tuesday at the Hilton Philadelphia City Avenue. For more information on this and other free seminars, contact the OIC at 1-888-678-4667 or its website,

Prior to Fischer Black's and Myron Scholes' developing a pricing formula, the financial world had no standard by which to value stock options. This presentation covers the options-pricing model and the inputs (known as Greeks) that help determine the price of calls and puts.


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