Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

Protect against Identity Theft

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

Protect against Identity Theft

Article excerpt

Despite complex passwords, multiple user names and 16-digit account numbers supposedly standing guard over our financial records, high-tech identity theft is rampant. The price tag continues to soar as sophisticated thieves find ways to dip into our bank and security accounts. Here are some safety advisories to pass along to clients:

* Use only your initials and your last name on preprinted checks. So if someone steals your checkbook, they will not know how you sign your checks--with your initials or your first name and last name. But your bank knows.

* When writing checks to pay credit card accounts, include only the last four numbers of the account number on the "For" line. The credit card company knows the rest of the code, but a thief won't.

* Leave your home address and phone number off your checks. If you have a post office box, it's better to use that; if not, and you feel a need to add an address, use your work address and phone number.

* If you must include your Social Security number on checks, write--never preprint. Be wary about giving the number to anyone but authorized people your banker or accountant, for example. …

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