Identity theft is a growing problem in the U.S. according to the Federal Trade Commission, but for those of us that put ourselves out there via internet, the more likely we are to fall victim of this crime. Social Media opens the door to online hackers, so always proceed with caution prior to accepting friend requests, because just like the banks who falsely opened duplicate accounts, the same goes for social media; make sure you check the persons’ identity before accepting their request. Other ways that make it easy for thieves today is using all that plastic we carry. Credit and debit cards, there’s no safe place to actually use them today…everyone is at risk.

Beginning with your social security number, you must keep it secure. Avoid using it online, and beware of using free Wi-Fi in public places when using personal information; especially if it’s not a secured site (encrypted would be secure). Do not open emails that may be a phishing scam. I get these all the time; deleting or marking it (phishing) and reporting it are things you should do. There are many different ways that the internet tracks what you like, then using personal information they send this list off to third parties…hence; all those unwanted emails from companies you’ve never contacted. What’s even worse… is that there are now companies that are scamming cancer patients. The Federal Trade Commission urges any family members searching online, for cancer treatments (products for patients), such as therapies meant to enhance treatment along with other things, are what scammers prey on, hoping to gain personal information and… or the ability to just take your money. Always consult with your doctor before trying anything you saw online.

The FTC has valuable and up-to-date information, and believes that everyone should browse this site, so we can all be more vigilant in keeping ourselves and family members safe from identity thieves. Please take the time to do this… , , are a few links to get you started. Taking steps to keep your information secure is a must in todays’ world. I will list some of the top companies for 2016, that help track your information (keeping it safe) from falling victim to these serious crimes. Life lock comes in first place and their number is 1-800-915-4952. A few names making the list are; Trusted Id, Protect my ID, Identity Guard and ID Watchdog. You can find the list in Consumer Affairs online for reviews. I think if we all become more protective about our information, maybe one day these crimes will slow down…but for now, they’ve increased and continue to do so. Taking simple steps to improve our awareness throughout online communities and sharing valuable info with one another should be something we all take seriously; consider using one of these services listed here, so that you might lighten the burdens of worrisome threats that could potentially harm you, your family and unwanted possible financial (credit) problems.

Make your week count.