Identity Theft Protection Plan
TO DO LIST
- Secretary of State – Regarding All Your Business Entities
- Set up Email Notifications
- Set up Secure Business Filing
- Calendar annual report date and file report timely
- Verify everything accurate at SOS
- Verify that there are no deceptively similar names to yours
- Review the most recent website page on Business Identity Theft:http://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/business/ProtectYourBusiness/BITresourceguide.html
- Your Wallet
- Take out all the credit cards not necessary to carry and store safely
- Do Not Carry Your Social Security Card
- Sign credit cards. For additional protection, you may also add “Ask For ID”
- Photocopy the contents of your wallet: all credit cards, auto club card, library card, ANY ID, etc. – front and back
- Put the photocopy in a safe place which is accessible if you lose your wallet
- If your wallet is stolen, cancel all accounts (credit card, bank, auto club card, library card, etc) immediately
- Your Business Assets
- Make an inventory list (include serial numbers)
- Photograph and video assets
- Include these assets in your Personal Property Schedules for tax purposes
- Prepare Minutes/Resolution for your corporate book declaring ownership
- Insure them specifically on your General Liability Policy (with endorsement listing assets if necessary)
- Your Personal Possessions
- Photograph and video all possessions. Go room by room. Do not trust your memory!
- Verify you have specific identity theft coverage on your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy
- Your Passwords
- Don’t use same one for everything.
- Check your password strength at:
- Change your password regularly
- Use an encrypted password manager program to keep all passwords. The top programs are reviewed at:
- Your Personal Credit and Your Minor Child’s Credit
- Pull your credit report at least annually – free athttps://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp
- Verify on credit report that there are no unknown credit accounts
- Verify no one has stolen your child’s identity by pulling a credit report for their Social Security number
- Opt out of solicitations for credit lines by calling 1-888-5-“OPT OUT” (1-888-567-8688)
- 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.comTransUnion-1-800-916-8800 www.transunion.comEquifax-1-800-685-1111 www.equifax.comMore info is at:
- Your Checks
- Shred all old checks from closed accounts
- 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.
- Add “Void After 60 Days” on the checks
- If a check is not timely cashed, call payee or consider stopping payment
- Steer clear of banks which routinely fight customers on disputed/fraudulent checks (e.g. Wells Fargo).
- Pick up your new checks rather than having them mailed to you
- Your Credit and Debit Card Transactions
- If you are using a debit card, always use it as credit card (not a debit card)
- Watch out for fraudulent devices added to regular card swipers
- If you buy online, only use a credit card, not a debit card and only buy from credible merchants
- Review your statements line by line every month and look for fraudulent transactions – if you find any, call the credit card company
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.
- Never leave receipts at merchants or ATMs. Always take your receipts with you.
- Steer clear of banks which routinely fight customers on disputed/fraudulent transactions (e.g. Wells Fargo).
- Your Old Files and Junk Mail
- Shred with cross cut shredder only
- Implement Documents Destruction Policy
- NEVER get rid of the following documents:
- Insurance policies of any kind
- Real estate deeds/Deeds of Trust/Promissory Notes
- Titles of ownership (auto, boat, etc.)
- Proof of payment for court matters
- Original contracts
- Credit Card Receipts – always make a photocopy before the paper fades and you have nothing for an IRS audit
- Your Computer
- Wireless router should have and be configured to use WPA-2 for wireless clients (WEP and WPA – are not secure – Do not use them)
- Your wireless router should be “locked” and password protected
- 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.
- Antivirus/Spyware Filters – absolutely necessary – you can get it for free:http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/products/security-essentials or
- 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
- Consider getting a spam filter as well but don’t forget to check your spam folder for legitimate email
- Backup – have an offsite back up of all your important files
- 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)
- 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.
- Your Important Business Records
- Store the originals in a safe place (e.g., bank safe deposit box may be acceptable)
- Have back up copies somewhere else.
- Your Social Networking – remove your year of birth and any unique information that can be used to steal your identity
- What To Do If Someone Steals Your Identity
- Colorado Attorney General Has Steps On Website:http://www.coloradoattorneygeneral.gov
- 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
- 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.