Protect Your Identity
- Review your credit card and bank statements often.
- Review your credit report annually. You can request a copy from: annualcreditreport.com
- Carry only necessary identification with you. Do not carry your social security card.
- Shred any documents with personal and financial information when they are no longer needed.
Protect Your Smartphone
- Enable multi-factor authentication when available.
- Avoid clicking on links from unknown sources found in text messages, web pages, or emails.
- Enable the security features on your phone.
- Know what to do if you lose your smartphone. Have a way to disable features that access your accounts.
Protect Your Computer
- Use a strong, unique password for each of your accounts.
- Enable multi-factor authentication when available. Multi-factor authentication requires more than one method of authentication from independent categories of credentials to verify the user’s identity for a login.
- Equip your computer with comprehensive malware and anti-virus protection software.
- Only download software or applications from well-known or trusted sources.
- Download and install any operating system and software updates in a timely manner.
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi for secure transactions.
If you receive a suspicious email or phone call, do not respond. If you think the call may be legitimate, and you would like to verify it, use a phone number from the organization’s web page instead of one included in the email or phone message.
Make Your Donation Count
If you plan to make a charitable donation, make sure the organization you select deserves your support.
Research the charity yourself.
- Review the charity’s website or literature for information about its mission, programs, and accomplishments.
- Ask how much of your donation goes to programs versus administrative and operating costs. Ideally, 25% or less should be spent on administration.
- If a charity does not provide sufficient information, reconsider your donation. For example, beware if it will not provide financial statements. Trustworthy organizations will encourage your interest and answer your questions.
- To verify the deductible status of your contribution, use the IRS Tax Exempt Organization Search database. “Tax exempt” does not always mean tax deductible.
Or, research the charity’s ratings and reviews with a major watchdog group, such as Charity Navigator or Charity Watch.
- Give directly to the charity. Professional fundraisers and third-party websites take a percentage of your donation.
- Donations to individuals are not deductible.
- Scam operators often use names very similar to a reputable charity. Confirm that you are giving to the correct organization.
Estate and Trust Administration
You may know that we help people with estate planning. Did you know we also help with estate and trust administration? Are you a power of attorney, successor trustee, or the executor/personal representative of an estate? Do you know what that entails? Sue can help you identify what your responsibilities are, what actions to take, and what pitfalls to avoid.
We also prepare fiduciary income tax returns for trusts and estates.
We're here to help
Crisis can strike at any time and in many ways. We are always here to help you. Whether you have experienced a divorce, change of employment, serious health issue, or death in the family, Sue can walk you through the steps required to overcome the challenges you are dealing with. When you need us, please call.
Thank you for your confidence in our services. Please feel free to pass this information on to someone who may benefit from our assistance.