My Sunday column on preventing online identity theft offered tips from cyber-security experts. Here three more tips, including one from a reader.
1) Column reader Curtis Carroll, a map company sales manager in West Sacramento, recommends getting a "security freeze" on your credit files. He's had them for about 10 years with each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax). To him, it's peace of mind. "If I lose my wallet, I have to replace my credit cards and driver's license. But I don't have to worry that someone is trying to open accounts in my name," Carroll said.
With a security freeze, if someone tries to use your name to open an account, the access to your credit files is denied. If you're applying for a job, car loan, mortgage or anything else requiring a credit check, you can have the security freeze temporarily lifted.
If you're a victim of ID theft and have filed a police report, a security freeze is free. Otherwise, there's a small fee: If you're younger than 65, it costs $30 total ($10 per credit reporting bureau). If you're 65 or older, it's $15 total ($5 per credit reporting bureau).
For a full explanation and how-tos on security freezes, check with the state Office of Privacy Protection
2) Want to see what's on your annual credit reports? The best -- and free -- source is AnnualCreditReport.com Every 12 months, you're entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. It's a great way to ensure that your credit history is accurate and that no fraudulent accounts have been set up in your name. Request your copy online or by phone: (877) 322-8228
3) Another good cyber-security source: OnGuardOnline.gov
Sponsored by the Federal Trade Commission, it's got great info on computer/Wi-Fi security, online scams (investing, shopping, etc.), mobile apps, etc. There's also a special section for parents on protecting your kids online.