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Identity Theft: Reducing your Risk
The NH Office of the Attorney General, the US Postal Inspection Service and the Consumer Credit Counseling Service along with the Small Business Administration presented an informative workshop throughout the state, including Littleton, to provide tips for avoiding scams and protecting your private information. Highlights and tips are shared here to inform the public of these growing risks.
Over nine million people fall victim to "Identity Theft" each year in America. Today, we need to be aware of new activities such as Dumpster Diving, Shoulder Surfing, and Phishing. These terms relate to how thieves access your information. They look through your trash, they watch you enter your secret PIN number on the ATM, they email bogus alerts from your bank and they try to trick you on the phone.
The most effective scam today is counterfeit money orders from Nigera. These scams come by postal mail, telephone and e-mail. The requests ask potential victims to transfer money orders for them or to send cash in exchange for a payment. If you ever have a questionable money order, take it to your local post office or bank to have it authenticated. Be skeptical of any easy money schemes, especially Prize Pools that announces you are a winner of a lottery you never entered. Before acting on a suspicious letter or e-mail, contact The NH Consumer Protection Bureau of the NH Attorney General's office www.nh.gov/consumer or call 603-271-3641
Be vigilant in protecting your private information
Below are some tips shared at the workshop for reducing risk.
- Check all your bank and credit cards statements each month for any irregular charges.
- Keep all your personal information private, especially your Social Security number.
- Check your credit report at least once every six months. Now you can obtain a Free Credit Report online at www.annualcreditreport.com
- Add your name to the Do Not Call List by visiting www.donotcall.gov or call 888-382-1222.
Shred all your important documents
The Littleton Recycling Center provides a commercial shredding service to all area residents and businesses. The free service is available Tuesday - Saturday, 8-4 (best time is in the morning). Just drop off your paper (staples and paper clips allowed) and the team at the center will help you out. For more info on the Littleton Shredder, call 444-1447.
Most of all, be alert and protective of your information. If you do fall victim to a scam or theft, file a complaint at 888-CALL-FCC and alert your local police and post office.
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