Is it legal for doctors and pharmacies to require that I provide my date of birth?

Dear Consumer Ed:  Is it legal for pharmacies and doctors’ offices to require me to provide them with my date of birth? I’m told they can’t look up my file without it, but it seems like I’m giving out my DOB on a daily basis and I worry about identity theft. 

Reducing the risk of check and financial fraud

Dear Consumer Ed:  Since the front of my personal checks show my bank’s routing number and my bank account number, what’s to stop someone from using that information to have their bills paid through an automatic draft from my account?

Protecting yourself from cell phone account fraud

Dear Consumer Ed:  I have frozen my credit with Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion to help reduce my risk of identity theft. I just heard that I could be at risk of cell phone fraud because there is another credit reporting agency that keeps data on telecommunications and utilities accounts.

Safe disposal of cell phones

Dear Consumer Ed:  I have an old cell phone that I want to dispose of. How can I do this in a way that will not harm the environment and will prevent others from obtaining any personal information that is or was stored on the device?

Can government employees’ personal emails be subject to open records requests?

Dear Consumer Ed:  I work for County government.  I recently forwarded a work email to my personal email address so I could do some work from home.

My Social Security number was compromised

Dear Consumer Ed:  I recently purchased a home and the closing attorney's office did not send my documents via encrypted mail, which resulted in the exposure of my personal information, including my Social Security number.

Cell phone repair shop needs my password; how can I protect my information?

Dear Consumer Ed:  I took my cell phone to the repair shop because the screen was broken. They said they needed my password to unlock the phone and make the repair. I’m concerned about all of my information being exposed like that.

Hotel keeping copies of driver's license and debit card for 3 months

Dear Consumer Ed: I stayed at a hotel in Georgia that required that I provide them with my driver’s license and debit card. It made me feel uncomfortable because I’m concerned my information will be compromised.  The manager said they will keep a copy of my license and debit card for three months and then shred them.  Is that legal? If it is, it shouldn’t be.

My Social Security number was compromised in a security hack

Dear Consumer Ed:  I just heard about a security hack that left my Social Security number out there. How can I protect myself? 

Preventing identity theft of a deceased spouse

Dear Consumer Ed: My husband passed away. What steps can I take to prevent someone from accessing his information and committing identity theft?