Identity Theft Defense for Dad

Your father has protected you your entire life. From teaching you how to ride a bike or shoot your first free throw to sending you off to college or giving you away at your wedding, he has cared for you and always looked out for your best interest.

So what better time than now, with Fatherís Day upon us, to return the favor? This year donít just stick to the typical necktie or tool buying routine, take your fatherís financial health into consideration and help protect him from unexpected dangers Ė like identity theft.

Identity theft is among the fastest growing crimes in America, and perpetrators are getting more sophisticated and adept at stealing the information they need to take over someone elseís credit cards and bank accounts. More than 10 million Americans and one in five families have experienced identity theft in the past year. During that same time period, consumers invested an estimated 300 million hours and $5 billion to resolve related issues.

Yet many consumers are unaware of its consequences and the tools available to protect their families. Adult children concerned with their parentsí vulnerability to identity theft can take steps to help keep financial information safe. Here are five easy ways you can help protect your father from becoming one of these statistics.

* Give dad peace of mind this Fatherís Day. Consider purchasing the Equifax Credit Watch Family Program, a family discounted credit monitoring package available at Utilizing Equifax Credit Watch Gold, the service automatically alerts consumers within 24 hours of credit file changes indicating possible identity theft. The program also features $20,000 in identity theft insurance, as well as victim assistance with an identity theft specialist for step-by-step guidance and problem resolution.

* Lock it up. Make sure your father keeps all financial information and personal records locked at all times, especially if he has a housekeeper, or guest in the house.

* Watch the mailbox. Mail theft is among the most common forms of identity theft. Criminals can gain most of the information they need to commit the crime right in your dadís mailbox. Encourage him to use a locked mailbox and pick up his mail daily.

* Shred it. Encourage your father to shred all sensitive documents before disposing of them.

* Donít let hackers crack dadís credit code. Be sure the virus protection software on your fatherís computer is current and remind him never to open attachments from strangers. Other safety tips include using firewall programs and secure browsers with high-level encryption and password protecting any sensitive documents stored on his computer. Also, never discard a computer without erasing all personal information. Office supply stores sell ďwipe programsĒ for this purpose.

This Fatherís Day, give dad something he can really use Ė credit protection. For more information about protecting your father and your family from identity theft, contact Equifax at

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