Identity Theft Prevention

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Identity Theft


Don’t Be A Statistic Of Identity Theft

The thought of someone gaining unauthorized access to your most sensitive information might send shivers down your spine but identity theft is a very bona fide reality. In 2015 alone, over 13.1 million U.S. residents lost an estimated $15 billion to identity theft, according to Javelin Strategy and Research’s 2016 Identity Fraud Study. Not to mention in the last decade, over $100 billion has been lost due to the heinous crime.

Once your identity is stolen, it can be very difficult to recover from. Therefore, the best method to fight against it is to keep it from happening in the first place. Below are some tips to help you from your identity being stolen.

Be Vigilant

You might think that identity theft is done solely through sophisticated hacking and phishing schemes but it can be done by anyone you pass by on the street. Anyone who knows how to snoop properly, for instance, if you are at an ATM there might be people looking over your shoulder to find out what your PIN is.

If you are in a situation where you are sharing sensitive information in public, be wary about those around you, as it could result in a data breach.

Share Information With Discretion

Before you go and give your social security or credit card number over the phone, make sure that you trust whoever you are giving it to. If you answer a call from an unknown number claiming you have won some sort of prize and that all you need to do is give them your social security number, you absolutely should not comply. Just remember, it is better to be safe than sorry in situations like this.

Keep Track of Your Financial Statements

Whether it’s a credit card bill, a summary of your recent bank transactions or anything similar, you need to pay regular attention to these very closely. If you are checking them on a daily basis, then you’ll be able to catch worrisome activity earlier on and hopefully put a stop to anything sketchy before it is too late.

Make Strong Passwords

You are particularly vulnerable to theft if your bank account and email passwords are not secure with differing or tough to guess passwords. Many websites have special criteria when creating your pass code with more difficult requirements but you should still take it upon yourself to make your passwords as hard to guess as you can no matter what. Even the slightest modifications to an easy password, such as a certain number or special character before or after the original can make a world of difference. When it comes to your personal security, well being and especially when preventing identity theft you can never be too careful.

Shred Sensitive Materials

You shouldn’t underestimate identity thieves, nor should you overestimate them. They’ll do anything to access your personal and sensitive information, including but not limited to rummaging through your garbage can. If you have any documents even remotely containing any personal information, such as your social security number, date of birth or even your bank account information, you should make sure it runs through a shredder first before tossing it.

Only Carry Necessary Materials in Wallet

There are just some things that you should not carry in your wallet – even if it seems harmless. One of these is your social security card. Anyone who has a handle on this piece of paper can effectively mean theft of your entire livelihood. Keep this in a secure location at home with your belongings and make no exception. Also, if you have multiple lines of credit, it is strongly advised that you only keep one of each in your wallet at one time. If your wallet is stolen, multiple credit and debit cards mean there is greater potential for a thief to wreak havoc on you.

Ultimately, by just paying attention to those around you and keeping your sensitive information all to yourself, you can really deter anything catastrophic happening to you or your family.

Boating Season Has Arrived

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AZ Boating


It’s Boating Season

At the beginning of every summer here in Arizona, our team gets calls from customers after a fun weekend on the water takes a turn for the worse. Often, these accidents could have been prevented with just a few simple precautions. Here are a few tips we like – courtesy of our partners at Safeco.

Don’t let an accident wreck your fun!

 

Life Preservers Aren’t Just for Kids. It’s not enough to just have life jackets on board — wear them! In an accident, people rarely have time to reach for a life jacket. This rule applies to adults, not just children: More people in their 30s die in boating accidents than any other age group. Life vests have come a long way in style. Today, you can even get vests for your water-loving dog!

Watch the Back of the Boat. Carbon monoxide kills in minutes. So tell your passengers where your exhaust pipes are located and turn off your engine when people are in the water, and don’t let passengers “ski” or “teak-surf” by holding on to the back of the boat. Both Washington and Oregon made teak-surfing illegal in the last few years, after several tragic deaths. Carbon monoxide detectors are standard on most new boats; older boats install devices for less than $100.

Alcohol and Boating Don’t Mix. More than 50 percent of drowning’s result from boating incidents involving alcohol. You don’t drink and drive, so don’t boat and drive.

Boats Need TLC Too. When you’re out on the water, make sure your gas tanks are vented and bilges are free of vapors, oil, waste and grease. Carry a charged fire extinguisher. Have your boat’s operating systems checked yearly by a certified marine technician. The Coast Guard Auxiliary and United States Power Squadrons also offer free vessel safety checks.

Experience Counts! The U.S. Coast Guard says that operator errors account for 70 percent of all boating accidents. Make sure anyone who drives your boat is properly trained. You can also earn boat insurance discounts from Safeco and other insurers if you complete a safety course with the Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons.

Sites for Information:
Coast Guard: www.uscgboating.org
Coast Guard Auxiliary: nws.cgaux.org/
Safeco tips: www.safeco.com/insurance-101/consumer-tips/your-boat

Call Matt at (602) 888-1732 or e-mail matt@cityscapeinsurance.com for more info. We also have a list of summer boat safety classes that can save you money!