Pre­cau­tions to take to pro­tect your iden­tity

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODWINES -

ring­ing. A fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion will re­quest that you ver­ify your per­sonal de­tails only if you have re­quested in­for­ma­tion or a fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tion tele­phon­i­cally.

Al­ways dis­pose of doc­u­ments con­tain­ing per­sonal in­for­ma­tion in a se­cure man­ner, such as by shred­ding them.

Do not leave per­sonal in­for­ma­tion ly­ing around on your of­fice desk or even at home.

Never sign blank doc­u­men­ta­tion or applications for in­sur­ance, and al­ways make sure you know what you are sign­ing for. If you are told that you do not need to com­plete cer­tain fields in a doc­u­ment, draw a line through those fields or en­sure that you write “n/a” clearly in them.

If you do not re­ceive your pay slip in a par­tic­u­lar month, no­tify your pay­roll depart­ment im­me­di­ately, and check the next pay slip you re­ceive to ver­ify de­duc­tions.

Reg­u­larly check your bank state­ments for unau­tho­rised de­duc­tions.

When pay­ing pre­mi­ums or in­vest­ing money, make sure that you pay the money di­rectly to the in­sur­ance com­pany or the in­vest­ment house.

Make sure you re­ceive pol­icy and in­vest­ment state­ments di­rectly from a fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion. Make a point of check­ing all your poli­cies and in­vest­ments at least once a year. Warn­ing bells should ring if you do not re­ceive an­nual state­ments and trans­ac­tional his­to­ries di­rectly from your life in­surer or in­vest­ment com­pany.

Some­thing sim­ple, which chil­dren should be taught too, is to en­sure that you have a sig­na­ture that is dif­fi­cult to forge. Sig­na­tures that are scrib­bled and do not show a per­son’s name are the eas­i­est to forge. Hand­writ­ing ex­perts find it eas­ier to iden­tify dis­crep­an­cies in sig­na­tures that are sim­i­lar to a per­son’s nor­mal hand­writ­ing.

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