Dodging Dumpster Divers
What do you do with your bills after they've been paid? What about your bank statements? Do you throw them in the trash? What about all those pre-approved credit cards and applications? Always shred paperwork that contains personal or financial information of any sort. This includes but is not limited to
- Credit card receipts
- Copies of credit applications
- Insurance forms
- Statements from physicians, dentists, and other professionals
- Checks and bank statements
- Expired credit cards that you're discarding
- Credit offers received in the mail
You can opt out of receiving mailed prescreened offers of credit by calling 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688). This is a service maintained by the three major credit reporting companies. When you call, you'll need to provide your SSN as part of the identification process, but it should significantly cut down on your junk mail for the next five years.
The best overall defense against phishing is simple awareness. The Anti-Phishing Working Group provides an excellent checklist of best practices.