Kelly Bullis: Watch out for identity theft

Kelly Bullis

Kelly Bullis

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Are you starting to let your guard down when it comes to being concerned about being a victim of identity theft? I have one word for you … DON’T!

There are evil people out there who have no problem trying to trick you into giving them your private data so they can steal from you.

Recently, one of our own office CPAs was minding his own business and bam! Up popped a window on his computer supposedly informing him that his computer was just infected with a virus and to call the Microsoft Tech Support Phone number for assistance. (First mistake, calling the number on the screen instead of looking up the correct tech support phone number.) After over an hour on the phone with the phony tech support, he had mistakenly given out all kinds of private information. Soon charges for a hotel in India showed up on his credit card, and it got worse from there.

What does an honest person do to protect themselves?

The number one thing on your list should be having an identity theft monitor program setup and running all of the time. They inform you if they detect any unusual activity, or if your private data is appearing in the “dark web” (the criminal world of data sharing). Use multiple passwords, so your risk of being attacked if the bad guys find out one of your passwords is limited instead of everything.

Here are some other things you should be doing:

• Have anti-virus software running on all your computers.

• Give personal information only to trusted sources that you have contacted, not if they contact you. (This is huge. A lot of these criminals send out emails and make phone calls that can fool just about everybody. So do not give any information out unless you are the one contacting them and you are sure of who you are talking to.) If somebody calls you, do not call them back on the phone number they give, look up the official phone number and call that back, asking if they just called you.

• If you receive an email (even from a trusted source) unless you were asking for the attached item, do not click on it. Instead call that person and verify they sent you something legit.

• Be careful how much personal information you share on social media. (Keep your home address, phone number, employer, work schedule, vacation schedule, etc. private.)

• Shred all documents you wish to throw away if they have any personal information (just your name and address is enough “personal” information to give thieves a start.)

• Keep old tax returns and personal records under lock and key.

• Do not send anything as an attachment to an email unless you first put a password on it.

• Do not put any private information in the body of an email. (Criminals set up servers that “assist” in passing email traffic and while that email is “passing through” they have programs running to snag any personal information such as Social Security numbers, passwords, phone numbers, etc.)

Did you hear? Prov 14:16 says, “One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless.”

Kelly Bullis is a Certified Public Accountant in Carson City. Contact him at 882-4459. On the web at Also on Facebook.


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