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Take charge of your identity

Dec. 20, 2010 at 6:20 a.m.


More InformationThe Federal Trade Commission is the federal government's primary agency for dealing with identity theft matters. They operate a toll-free hotline devoted only to identity theft: 1-877-IDTHEFT(438-4338), or visit the FTC ID Theft website, www.ftc.gov/idtheft, to obtain additional information.

If you fall victim to identity theftFirst contact the fraud department of the three major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.

Contact your bank or creditor for any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.

Finally, file a report with your local police, or the police department where the identity theft took place.

Eggnog Cheesecake

Ingredients

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

2 Tbsp. white sugar

3 Tbsp. melted butter

3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup white sugar

3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

3/4

2 Eggs

2 Tbsp. rum

1 Pinch ground nutmeg

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

2. In a medium bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, 2 Tbsp. sugar and butter. Press into the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool.

4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

5. In a food processor combine cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, flour and eggnog; process until smooth. Blend in eggs, rum and nutmeg. Pour mixture into cooled crust.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.

7. Reduce heat to 250 and bake for 45 minutes, or until center of cake is barely firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and immediately loosen cake from rim. Let cake cool completely before removing the rim.

Source: allrecipes.com

With the holiday season upon us, now is the time to take action to protect your identity. Yoakum National Bank employee Cynthia Morris wrote these tips to remind you of very important ways to prevent identity theft at this busy time of year. You are in the best position to protect your own identity by taking these precautions.

1. Use passwords that are difficult to guess - Do not use passwords that relate to names, birthdates, your Social Security number, or address. Do not use the same password for everything. Once the thief knows one piece of valuable information, he has access to all your personal data.

2. Do not write passwords on your debit or ATM card or keep them in your purse with the card. This gives the thief easy access to your account.

3. Carry only the identification and bank or credit cards you need when traveling or shopping. Keep copies of credit cards in a safe place, in case they are stolen you can immediately report the correct account numbers.

4. Review your monthly statement promptly and carefully. Immediately notify your bank of any unauthorized transactions. Shred or tear up your statements, checks, and other sensitive personal information.

5. Destroy and cancel old, unwanted, or unused credit cards. Cutting them up is not enough. Canceling them will ensure a statement isn't intercepted in the mail by a would-be thief.

6. Don't give private information to anyone unless you initiate the call. Keep your computer safe by not opening files from strangers or companies you don't know.

7. Never lend your password to anyone, ever. You may be responsible for their actions if the information gets into the wrong hands.

8. Guard your Social Security number. Never carry it in your wallet or write it on checks. Don't use it as a personal identification number for your ATM/debit cards.

9. Do not allow your credit card out of your sight when paying for products or services. Protect your PIN when using an ATM or making purchases at a merchant location.

10. Periodically check your credit report to see if there are loans or credit cards outstanding that you don't know about. To order your free annual report visit www.annualcreditreport.com.

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