Special Report: Protection Plan pt. 2

Shredding is one of the best ways to keep your personal information out of the hands of crooks

A crook doesn't need much to steal your identity.

"Any type of document that has any of your personal information, social security number, bank account numbers, date of birth, any kind of checks, check stubs," said Captain Craig Dodd with the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office.

And Dodd has seen some creative ways of trying to deter crooks.

"We've even had people who would dump their cat litter box in the trash over their papers. And the people would still sift through them with gloves on and get their paperwork out".

One of the best ways to make sure that paper doesn't get into the wrong hands is by shredding it. Easter Seals provides a service for a very good price and it helps keep a person who is challenged employed.

Easter Seals charges 7 cents per pound for shredding. If you would like more information on this service, call Workshop Manager, Lisha Brown at 229-439-7061.

However, if your information is not of the paper variety, officials say a Trojan virus is just as dangerous.

"It sits there and waits until you access any kind of site that has to do with finances, then it sends a signal to the people trying to gain your information and it gives them all your information," said Dodd.

Tim Conlon works at the Computer Nerd, and says you have to do more than just delete files with sensitive information.

"Even though they're gone, if somebody wanted to pull up the data, they could still pull up your important information," said Conlon.

He suggests downloading something called Eraser that encrypts and writes over files so no one can read them. This is also important if you're getting rid of your computer and want to wipe it clean of your data.

If you don't have the time or want to put in the effort of downloading a program that can help keep your hard drive safe, experts tell me you can go a more *industrial* route.

"You can drill a hole in your hard drive to protect it to make sure nobody else is gonna be able to pop that drive into their computer and be able to steal your information off of it," said Conlon.

There are many ways to protect your identity, but there's really only a couple ways you can keep your car from attracting thieves. Good news: it's free! All you have to do is lock the doors.

"Probably the vast majority of the car break ins we work are simply on cars that were unlocked. People will go down the neighborhood, try the doors and go into whatever car they can get into," said H.E.A.T. Officer, Ted Wertz.

And don't try to temp thieves by leaving valuables laying around in the car.

"Under the seat, in the trunk, take them in the house, get them out of the car," said Wertz.

No matter if it's your hard drive, or *what* you drive, take these extra precautions to keep your vehicle and your identity safe.