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VOL. 38 | NO. 48 | Friday, November 28, 2014

Officials urge protection against identity theft

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NASHVILLE (AP) — State safety officials are urging Tennesseans to protect themselves against identity crimes this holiday season.

Last year, identity theft accounted for 14 percent of all complaints recorded by the Federal Trade Commission, leading the list of top consumer complaints.

"Internet scammers or hackers can easily access your private data, if you're not careful," said Tennessee Highway Patrol Major Stacy Williams, who oversees the state Department of Safety and Homeland Security's Identity Crimes Unit. "Citizens should make sure websites are secure before entering any personal or financial information."

Here are some protection tips from the Safety Department:

— Shop on secure, reputable sites only; http:// at the beginning of the URL indicates a secure site.

— Use a credit card and not a debit card; this protects your personal funds and prevents thieves from gaining access to funds in your bank account.

— Avoid carrying a social security card, birth certificate, passport, bank information or paychecks when hitting the stores.

— Check your bank statements, credit card bills and credit reports often to avoid any efforts to use your identity.

For more tips, visit: www.TN.Gov/safety.

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