Don’t be haunted by financial fears this Halloween

Farm Forum

Ghosts and goblins aren’t the only spooks to look out for this time of year. Here are some ways to keep you and your family financially safe this Halloween.

Identity theft and fraud can wipe out years of savings and leave you feeling financially fragile. Keep what you have from being compromised with these tips:

Protect your identity. At a time when many people are in costume, make sure that no one is posing as you. To minimize the chances that your information will be stolen, be aware of how identity theft occurs and take steps to protect yourself. The first step in protecting yourself against identity theft is being aware of the ways thieves might access your information. They might: Claim to be a representative of your financial institution. Sift through your trash for discarded papers. Steal newly issued items such as credit cards, checks, utility bills, insurance statements, and benefits documents from your unsecured mailbox. Look over your shoulder at the ATM to capture your personal identification number (PIN).

Trick or Treat? Don’t get tricked out of your money. There are plenty of pranksters hoping to wreak havoc with your finances. Tips from http://www. can help you maintain financial security both before and after retirement. Look at the Fraud section.

Check your credit report. Did you know that you can get a free credit report every year from each of the major credit reporting agencies? By checking your report for inaccuracies, you may be able to detect someone else using your information.

There is no definite way to ensure you will not become a victim of identity theft. However, there are steps you can take to minimize the chances that your information will be stolen and used by a thief.

First, pay close attention to your credit report and regularly check for inaccuracies. You are entitled to a free credit report every year from each of the major credit report agencies-Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion-so if you pull one every few months, you can continually stay up-to-date throughout the year. You can order a detailed summary from each agency by visiting http://www.annualcreditreport


Next, never give out your Social Security number, bank account, or other private data to unknown organizations or people. Most people who fall victim to identity theft mistakenly give out their personal information to fraudsters who appear to be representing a legitimate business. Remember, even a financial institution that you work with will not contact you asking for this information.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Reach Karen Slunecka at 605-626-2870 or