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Protect yourself from identity theft

July 24, 2012

Have you really ever thought about identity theft? Are you doing anything to keep yourself from being a victim? Think about a few of these things:

Do you:
- Receive several pre-approved credit offers every month.  Do you shred them before you throw them in the trash?
- Receive several convenience checks in the mail (from credit card companies) every month. Do you shred them before putting them in the trash?
- Carry your social security card in your wallet?
- Have a locked, secured mailbox or PO Box to receive mail?
- Leave mail for pickup in an open box at work, clipped to a mailbox or in an unlocked box at home?
- Provide your social security number whenever asked, without asking how that information will be safeguarded or why it is necessary?
- Have your social security number printed on your checks?
- Have you ordered a  copy of your credit report in the last year?
- Have an internet connection and o you have firewall software?
Each one of the questions above represents a possible risk factor for ID Theft.

Deter identity thieves by safeguarding your information:
- Shred financial documents and paperwork with personal information before you discard them.

- Protect your Social Security number. Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write it on a check.  Give it out only if absolutely necessary.

- Don’t give out personal information on the phone, through mail, or over the internet unless you know who you are dealing with.
- Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails; instead, type in a web address you know.  Use firewalls, anti-spyware, and anti-virus software to protect your home computer; keep them up-to-date. Visit OnGuardOnline.gov for more information.

- Don’t use an obvious password like your birth date, your mother’s maiden name, or the last four digits of your Social Security number.
- Keep your personal information in a secure place at home, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help, or are having work done in your house.
Article Source: Adapted from http://www.ftc.gov/idtheft

Recipe of the Week

Zucchini and Tomato Salad

1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
2-1/4 cups thinly sliced zucchini (about 2)
1-1/2 cups thinly sliced plum tomatoes (about 3)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Gradually add oil, stirring well with a whisk. Add zucchini and tomatoes, toss gently. Sprinkle evenly with basil. Yield: 5 servings (serving size: 3/4 cup)
Calories 117, fat 11g, protein 14g, carbs 4.4g, fiber 1.4g, chol 0mg, iron0.5mg, sodium 129mg, calcium 19mg
Recipe source: Weight Watchers Five ingredient 15 minute recipes — 3/26/10

Pamela Redwine is a nutrition and food safety agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. Article provided by Oktibbeha County Extension Service; for more information call 662-323-5916.

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