Protect your Identity

Quick quiz time! Answer the following questions with either a yes or no.

1. I know how many credit cards are in my wallet right now.

2. If one was missing I would notice instantly.

3. I have the names and numbers of each credit card company I would need to call in case of theft.

4. I know the bank account numbers my debit card is linked to.

If you answered no to any of the above questions, it may be time to create a master financial list. Identity theft is increasing and becoming less and less obvious. Thieves may be photocopying your card or writing down your numbers (including the security code on the back) while your bill is being printed. It doesn’t take long.

Having a master financial list could be very helpful in the event of theft, fire or sudden illness. A list with the telephone numbers of your credit card companies would make calling and reporting missing cards quick and easy. The same applies to knowing your bank account numbers, social security numbers and insurance policy numbers.

First step is to empty your wallet and write down all the important numbers. Now locate the toll free numbers of each card that you would need to call. Do the same for your debit cards, ATM cards and checking account. Or put all the cards on your printer and copy both sides of them. Other important numbers are insurance policies, license numbers, savings bond numbers and retirement plan information. Any number that you think you would need if suddenly it was gone.

Once you have completed the list, make three copies. Store one in a fireproof strong box (with originals), one in a safety deposit box or other place off site and the third with all your important papers. (I would not recommend storing a copy of this information on your computer). Now, hopefully you will never need this information, but if you do, you’re ready.

Next week begins the second quarter of the year. Watch for my strategic plan update, it’s how I deal with New Year’s Resolutions.