NBPD Offers Tips on Minimizing the Risk of Scams and Identity Theft

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The Newport Beach Police Department reminds residents that you can greatly minimize the risk of scams or identity theft by implementing the following tips.

  • Be extremely cautious when handling and disclosing the following information:
    • Social security number
    • Mother’s maiden name
    • Date of birth
    • Current and past addresses
    • Driver license number
    • Credit card numbers
    • Bank account numbers
    • Personal Identification Number (PIN) codes
    • Usernames and passwords
  • Never provide personal information over the phone unless you have initiated the phone call. If you receive a call and want to confirm the caller’s identity, ask for a callback number and check it against the publicly-advertised numbers for that company. You can check with the Better Business Bureau to determine the legitimacy of a business.
  • Never leave sensitive outgoing mail – such as checks or forms with the personal information listed above – in your residential mailbox Use a blue postal mailbox or your local post office.
  • Consider installing a residential mailbox that is secured with a locking mechanism.
  • Never leave mail in your mailbox overnight.
  • When ordering new checks, do not have them mailed to your home. Pick them up at your bank or have them delivered by registered mail.
  • Use a shredder prior to disposing of bank and credit card statements, cancelled checks, pre-approved credit card offers, and any other personal information listed above. A crosscut shredder offers added security by making it more difficult to reconstruct shredded documents.
  • Place your garbage bins out in the morning on the day of pickup, rather than the night before. This gives “dumpster divers” less opportunity to go through your trash.
  • Minimize the amount of information you carry in your wallet or purse by taking out extra cards and IDs.
  • Cancel all unused credit cards. Maintain a list of all active cards and account, including the following details: account numbers, expiration dates, telephone numbers and addresses for each creditor.  Store this information in a secure place.
  • Open all bills promptly and check your accounts monthly.
  • Call your credit card company if your card is expired and you have not received a replacement. Report any lost or stolen cards immediately.
  • Notify financial institutions and credit card companies in advance of any address or phone number changes.
  • Always shield the keypad from prying eyes when you enter your PIN number.
  • Never leave transaction receipts behind, including at an ATM, the gas pump, the bank, or in a nearby trash receptacle. These should be shredded if they include any sensitive information.
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