Identity Theft Protection Plan

TO DO LIST

  1. Secretary of State - Regarding All Your Business Entities
    1. Set up Email Notifications
    2. Set up Secure Business Filing
    3. Calendar annual report date and file report timely
    4. Verify everything accurate at SOS
    5. Verify that there are no deceptively similar names to yours
    6. Review the most recent website page on Business Identity Theft:
      http://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/business/ProtectYourBusiness/BITresourceguide.html
  2. Your Wallet
    1. Take out all the credit cards not necessary to carry and store safely
    2. Do Not Carry Your Social Security Card
    3. Sign credit cards. For additional protection, you may also add "Ask For ID"
    4. Photocopy the contents of your wallet: all credit cards, auto club card, library card, ANY ID, etc. - front and back
    5. Put the photocopy in a safe place which is accessible if you lose your wallet
    6. If your wallet is stolen, cancel all accounts (credit card, bank, auto club card, library card, etc) immediately
  3. Your Business Assets
    1. Make an inventory list (include serial numbers)
    2. Photograph and video assets
    3. Include these assets in your Personal Property Schedules for tax purposes
    4. Prepare Minutes/Resolution for your corporate book declaring ownership
    5. Insure them specifically on your General Liability Policy (with endorsement listing assets if necessary)
  4. Your Personal Possessions
    1. Photograph and video all possessions. Go room by room. Do not trust your memory!
    2. Verify you have specific identity theft coverage on your homeowner's or renter's insurance policy
  5. Your Passwords
    1. Don't use same one for everything.
    2. Check your password strength at: http://howsecureismypassword.net/
    3. Change your password regularly
    4. Use an encrypted password manager program to keep all passwords. The top programs are reviewed at: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2381432,00.asp
  6. Your Personal Credit and Your Minor Child's Credit
    1. Pull your credit report at least annually - free at
      https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp
    2. Verify on credit report that there are no unknown credit accounts
    3. Verify no one has stolen your child's identity by pulling a credit report for their Social Security number
    4. Opt out of solicitations for credit lines by calling 1-888-5-"OPT OUT" (1-888-567-8688)
    5. If there is a problem, contact all three credit Bureaus to put a fraud alert on your account, TransUnion, Equifax, Experian and dispute the entries.
      Experian-1-888-397-3742
      www.experian.com
      TransUnion-1-800-916-8800
      www.transunion.com
      Equifax-1-800-685-1111
      www.equifax.com
      More info is at: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre21.shtm
  7. Your Checks
    1. Shred all old checks from closed accounts
    2. When re-ordering personal checks, only use your last name on the checks - e.g. John and Mary Smith should be listed as J. Smith, M. Smith. Never have your Social Security Number or Driver's License Number pre-printed on the checks.
    3. Add "Void After 60 Days" on the checks
    4. If a check is not timely cashed, call payee or consider stopping payment
    5. Steer clear of banks which routinely fight customers on disputed/fraudulent checks (e.g. Wells Fargo).
    6. Pick up your new checks rather than having them mailed to you
  8. Your Credit and Debit Card Transactions
    1. If you are using a debit card, always use it as credit card (not a debit card)
    2. Watch out for fraudulent devices added to regular card swipers
    3. If you buy online, only use a credit card, not a debit card and only buy from credible merchants
    4. Review your statements line by line every month and look for fraudulent transactions - if you find any, call the credit card company immediately and follow their instructions for filing a dispute. In addition, send in a written dispute via certified mail, return receipt requested. The issuing financial institution should provide you with a new card, but if no, request a new credit card. Destroy the old credit card completely.
    5. Never leave receipts at merchants or ATMs. Always take your receipts with you.
    6. Steer clear of banks which routinely fight customers on disputed/fraudulent transactions (e.g. Wells Fargo).
  9. Your Old Files and Junk Mail
    1. Shred with cross cut shredder only
    2. Implement Documents Destruction Policy
    3. NEVER get rid of the following documents:
      1. Insurance policies of any kind
      2. Real estate deeds/Deeds of Trust/Promissory Notes
      3. Titles of ownership (auto, boat, etc.)
      4. Proof of payment for court matters
      5. Original contracts
      6. Credit Card Receipts - always make a photocopy before the paper fades and you have nothing for an IRS audit
  10. Your Computer
    1. Wireless router should have and be configured to use WPA-2 for wireless clients (WEP and WPA - are not secure - Do not use them)
    2. Your wireless router should be "locked" and password protected
    3. Firewall - you should have a software or hardware firewall. Alternately, For some free software see:
      http://www.pcworld.com/article/130330/how_to_secure_your_wireless_network.html
      Remember - even the Pentagon has been hacked. You definitely need a firewall to provide some level of protection. Proper configuration of the firewall is essential to keep out hackers.
    4. Antivirus/Spyware Filters - absolutely necessary - you can get it for free:
      http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/products/security-essentials or http://free.avg.com/us-en/download
    5. Be very careful opening email attachments from both known and unknown sources - stolen email accounts are the source of malware and you may be tricked into thinking it is a trusted source
    6. Consider getting a spam filter as well but don't forget to check your spam folder for legitimate email
    7. Backup - have an offsite back up of all your important files
    8. Software - store in a safe place as well in case your computer crashes and you need to reinstall. If no CDs came with software, make a backup copy on some form of media (or cloud)
    9. Be extra cautious when using your laptop at hotspots - others can hack into your computer and steal information. . In these environments, you should disable file sharing and fully enable your firewall. Also, make sure that you enable a logon password. If you travel, consider getting the mobile broadband devices from the wireless carriers since the signal will be secure.
  11. Your Important Business Records
    1. Store the originals in a safe place (e.g., bank safe deposit box may be acceptable)
    2. Have back up copies somewhere else.
  12. Your Social Networking - remove your year of birth and any unique information that can be used to steal your identity
  13. What To Do If Someone Steals Your Identity
    1. Colorado Attorney General Has Steps On Website:
      http://www.coloradoattorneygeneral.gov
    2. Colorado Supreme Court Judicial Department Forms page has a Motion to Determine Factual Innocence - you can file this with any Colorado court in which the thief has used your name illegally:
      http://www.courts.state.co.us/Forms/Forms_List.cfm?Form_Type_ID=36
    3. If you need help from an attorney, call us. We regularly deal with identity theft issues and advocate aggressively for our clients at the Pearman Law Firm, P.C.