Watch Your Back  
Help Yourself And Your Company Avoid Identity Theft  
b y P a u l B i e b e r  
just learned about something called  
a “credit freeze,” which works on  
both business accounts and per-  
sonal accounts. A credit freeze is the  
strongest action you can take to help  
prevent identity theft. This absolutely  
stops hackers,even after they may have  
learned your social security number  
• You are entitled to get one free credit  
report per year from the three re-  
porting agencies. Do this;  
• Take your receipts from gas stations  
and other purchases. Throw them  
away at home after tearing them into  
small pieces;  
• When you use an ATM or are work-  
ing on your computer in a public  
place, watch for “shoulder surfers”  
who try to pick up your passwords;  
• Speaking of passwords, make yours  
as complicated as possible.Use num-  
bers, capital and lower case letters  
and symbols;  
You are entitled  
to get one free  
credit report per  
year from the  
three reporting  
SSN) or other important personal data.  
Placing a credit freeze takes ten min-  
utes. The fee for most states is $10 and  
even less for a good handful of some  
others.Once the freeze is on,no one can  
access your credit file. So if someone  
steals your SSN or a credit card they  
won’t be able to open a new account in  
Do this.  
The phone calls will take about ten Trust who you buy from when you  
give your credit card number over the  
phone.A big established retailer will  
have better systems in place to pre-  
vent cards from being stolen than a  
small one-person retailer; and  
dren if they have one of your credit Check every credit card statement for  
After this is set up, you will get a let-  
phony invoices. Look for a small re-  
curring charge that appears monthly.  
Immediately call your card provider  
if you have any doubts.  
There is a lot of information at The credit freeze is ter from each company with a ten-digit  
their number-one way to stop someone pin number so you can release the  
from hijacking your name. If you are freeze for a temporary situation.  
going to apply for a new credit card or  
The best things to do are the easi-  
est. Be alert when using your credit  
cards; check bank and credit card  
If your personal information is at- monthly statements; place your credit  
other financing, you call an 800 num- IF YOU ARE A VICTIM  
ber and lift the freeze only for that in-  
quiry, for a limited amount of time.You tacked, call the Federal Trade Commis- freezes and check your free annual  
will get a 10-digit password from each sion (FTC) at 877/438-4338 to report it. credit history report; and have two  
of the credit agencies that will identify This will give you an Identity Theft Af- different people check all of monthly  
you. It really is this simple and it is just fidavit, which you will need if things get statements. s  
about 100-percent effective at stopping messy. After that, go to your  
identity theft.  
local police department to  
I placed a freeze on my business ac- file a complaint. Again, this  
count and on my wife’s name as well is paperwork,but it will help  
as my own. This needs to be done with when someone calls saying  
the three credit reporting companies you owe money.  
P a u l B i e b e r has 38 years’  
experience in the glass industry, with  
C.R. Laurence and as executive vice  
president of Floral Glass in New York.  
He is now the principal of Bieber  
in the U.S.:  
What else can you do to  
protect yourself?  
Consulting Group LLC and can be  
reached at Read his blog  
on Tuesdays at  
Equifax: 800/349-9960;  
Experian: 888/397-3742; and  
TransUnion: 888/909-8872.  
• Get rid of any credit cards  
you don’t use;  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | April 2016