Call 11 For Action: How to protect yourself from identity thieve - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Call 11 For Action: How to protect yourself from identity thieves

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TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

By Matt Wright - bio | email
Posted by Nick Dutton - email

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - As identity theft cases skyrocket, more people are turning to identity theft protection services.

Elaine Lidholm, a consumer affairs expert, says one of the main advantages of the groups is that they can quickly alert someone that their identity has been compromised.

 While the services can be helpful, the Consumer Federation of America says consumers do not always get what they pay for.

In fact, Lidholm says that no person or service can absolutely promise to protect someone 100 percent of the time from identity theft. "It would be wonderful if they could but it is just not realistic."

However, something is being done to combat the problem. Identity theft task forces,  joint efforts between the U.S. Postal Service and other law enforcement agencies, are popping up across the country.

"We get an early leg up on the bad guys when they are in this area operating because we talk to the financial institutions and we are also working the cases jointly between all area law enforcement," said postal inspector David McGinnis.

The task force recommends five tips:

1.       Review your credit report annually.

2.       Promptly remove mail from your mailbox. You should always mail checks and bills from the post office instead of your mailbox.

3.       Keep up with your bank statements and reconcile them with your receipts. Then shred those receipts, along with unnecessary financial documents.

4.       Never give out your personal information unless you have initiated the contact.

5.       If you are considering an identity theft protection service, look for one that is backed by Equifax, Experian or TransUnion and carefully read the contract terms and conditions.

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