Just do it — again!

By Nancy Black

I hadn’t done it in a very, very long time. Like, more than 10 years. I know. I know. Nobody HAS to do it. Ever. But it is a great suggestion if you want to avoid stress, so I decided to take action. I finally made a copy of my credit cards.

Sure, I know the last four digits of most of them (I only have three), but I do not have all their expiration dates memorized, or the secret three-numbered codes on the back. And I certainly don’t know the different 800 numbers to call the credit card companies if my cards were stolen. Now, I have all that information in one place, stored safely in my home in case of emergency.

A friend of mine had his computer snatched out of his hands this past week as he sat at a table in a local Starbucks. The team of two thieves raced out of the store with my friend’s life’s work in their greedy little hands. He took off running after the crooks, giving chase for about a block and through traffic until he stumbled and fell into the street, scraping a layer of skin off both his hands.

Fortunately, a good Samaritan who had witnessed the entire incident from the drive-thru showed up minutes later with my friend’s laptop in hand. He had chased the kids, too, with his car and caught them. He got the computer back from the burglars and returned it to the store. My friend’s warning to others? Make sure you back up your computer files. Often.

Same goes for cell phone contacts. Hardly anyone anymore knows a telephone number by heart. Even those of close family members. Most cell phone service providers can instruct you on how to back up your contacts, if your phone doesn’t do it automatically onto some iCloud type of storage device. So, make sure you have all your information on your phone backed up, in case it gets stolen or lost.

We’re heading into tax season, when everyone will be digging through old receipts and banking information. Be careful what you discard and how you dispose of it. Identity thieves have victimized more than 41 million Americans. Don’t be one of them.

Protect your information, whether it’s on your credit cards, your computer or phone. You never know who is waiting in the wings to snatch your world away from you. Do it now. Don’t wait, like I did. You’ll feel so much better, almost immediately. And it’s such a relief when you do.