The start of a New Year brings the opportunity for a fresh start and new ways of doing things. It’s also the perfect time to resolve to get a firm handle on your personal and financial information. Better Business Bureau® of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) offers some simple tips to help consumers protect themselves from fraud in the New Year.“We at BBB like the idea of drawing a line in the sand and taking proactive steps towards a better tomorrow,” said Susan Adams Loyd, President and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. “There’s no way to shield yourself completely from fraud, but you can certainly take steps to reduce your risk.”BBB recommends consumers take these ten steps to be more secure in 2018:1. Check your credit report for free at AnnualCreditReport.com.\n Review it closely for errors and report any inconsistencies you see. \nChecking your credit report on a regular basis helps you catch signs of \nidentity theft early.2. Sign up for the Do Not Call Registry by visiting donotcall.gov\n or by calling 1-888-382-1222. This should reduce the number of \ntelemarketing calls you receive at home. You can also register your \ncellphone number on this list. 3. If you’re looking to cut down on the amount of unsolicited offers you receive through the mail, visit dmachoice.org. 4. Dispose\n of older bank and credit card statements, expired credit cards and \nunwanted credit card solicitations securely by shredding them with a \ncross-cut paper shredder.5. When\n using public Wi-Fi connections, don’t make any purchases, access your \nonline banking or share any sensitive personal information. Public means\n public, and fraudsters are known to frequent Wi-Fi hotspots and \nsometimes even set up hotspots of their own! It’s important to always \nverify a network before accessing it.6. If you receive an unusual offer or solicitation, research the company or charity for free with Better Business Bureau at bbb.org\n or 800-646-6222. BBB has Resource Specialists available from 8 a.m. to 5\n p.m. Monday through Friday to answer questions about marketplace \nissues.7.\n Never respond to phone calls or emails asking to "verify" your personal\n information. Your bank, credit card provider, the IRS - none of these \norganizations will contact you asking for sensitive information. They \nalready have it on file.8.\n Secure or lock sensitive personal documents around your home, \nespecially if you have roommates, employ outside help or are having work\n performed in your home.9.\n Don't store credit card numbers or other financial information on your \nsmartphone or tablet. Add a passcode lock (or security password) on your\n smartphone or tablet and set unattended devices to lock after a certain\n amount of time.10. Change\n your email and social media passwords and ‘beef up’ your security by \ncreating hard to crack passwords and employing two-factor authentication\n whenever possible.Consumers who follow these simple steps will be doing a lot to keep themselves safe and secure in the coming year.