Off the Track

Sometimes when you are writing a blog around some main topics, little tidbits will come into your life that you would like to share with others. I have decided to call these tidbits “Need to Know’.

My 1st post is about identity theft.

Identity theft is so prevalent today that I decided to find out what I need to do in case. I am vigilant about shedding all mail with any identification. But I only recently found out that my personal check numbers open up my financial file for those who choose to view our information. I rarely use checks as I use other ways to pay for merchandise but I now know to safeguard my checks also.

I monitor my bank accounts online daily or several times a week.

The routing number on a check tells what Federal Reserve district, what Federal Reserve field office, the state that your bank is located in, the code for your bank, and the last number is used to verify the preceding 8 digits. Your account number is the 2nd long list of numbers on the check.

I use my debit card when I am shopping in stores for three reasons: (1) my pin number, (2) unauthorized electronic debits are covered by federal law, and (3) I can monitor my purchases daily online.

I never use my debit card online. I use one credit card for all purchases and send an immediate payment to cover the charge. The credit card gives me more protection to dispute charges. I am vigilant about not using my bank information online or my debit card.

However, in case I or you need the following information, I am listing what you or I could do about identity theft.

1) If you live in Florida as I do, you can find more information about avoiding the theft and/or you can file complaints at the Florida Attorney General’s office at http://myfloridalegal.com.

2) The Federal Trade Commission has great information at http://www.ftc.gov. You can also use this site to register your phones for the national Do Not Call registry. The FTC has a separate website for credit information for consumers here.

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