Have you ever had those moments when you don’t remember buying certain items with your card? Or you’re getting rejected for applications because you already signed up for one? These moments may all point to identity theft.
Identity theft is when a person uses your identity to do actions without your permission. This includes opening accounts and committing fraud under your name. In 2020, FTC received about 4.8 million reports for fraud and identity theft.
Don’t be one of the victims of identity theft! In this guide, we’ll be giving steps to identity theft prevention. Read on to learn how to prevent credit card fraud and having a stolen identity.
Notice Signs of Identity Theft
Identity theft can happen in many ways, so you need to know when it’s happening to you. Watching for warning signs will help you prevent having a stolen identity. Look for small details that may hint you at identity theft.
Do you often lose your household bills in your mail? This may be a sign of identity theft. People will do anything to find any information about you by stealing your bills and changing your billing address.
You also have to wary if you get turned down for a credit card or loan. If you know that you have a solid credit history, but you got rejected, you may be subject to identity theft. Visit this website to empower consumers for identity theft prevention.
Receiving invoices for unknown purchases may also be a sign of identity theft. People are using your identity to purchase items and create credit card accounts. You may also receive financial account charges with unauthorized transactions.
Safeguard Your Personal Information
The first step to identity theft protection is to store your information in secure areas. Whether your documents are online or not, you need to store them well under lock and key. You need to secure documents like registration cards, birth certificates, and many more.
Be careful when sharing essential information, like your birthday or full name. All information that you give to suspicious people can get used against you. It’s best you minimize all information that you carry with you when you head out.
Get rid of blank checks, deposit slips, and other papers from your purse or wallet. When purchasing or withdrawing cash, you need to guard your pins. Be extra wary of online websites or emails asking for your personal information, no matter how convincing it sounds.
Watch Your Credit
To minimize potential damage, you need to review your consumer credit report quickly. Make it a habit to check your reports to ensure that nobody opens a new account under your name. The Fair Credit Reporting Act lets you get one free copy of your credit report every year per credit.
You can monitor your reports with the three major credit bureaus:
Get your credit reports through AnnualCreditReport.com. If possible, try to get a report every four months throughout the year. It’s best you dispute with the bureau and lender if you notice any strange activity
Consider freezing your credit for fraud prevention. A credit freeze stops anyone from viewing your credit report, including your lenders. Anyone who uses your name for financial transactions will get denied.
You should also apply for a fraud alert. Your creditors need to verify contact you before approving your applications. It’s also best to review the credit reports of your children if they have any.
Practice Online Safety
There is a huge rise in users who deal with banking online in the US. About 43% now use mobile banking, while 71% use online banking. With our information now going back and forth on the internet, we have to be extra careful.
The internet is your gate to the global marketplace. It is also a place that may tempt you to share your data and information. You may fall victim to malware, Trojan, spyware, botnets, and viruses.
Be careful of links sent by email since it may be a phishing scam. This a type of scam where thieves replicate reputable sites and trick you into giving your information. Never take action until you confirm with the company itself if you need to change or update your data.
To avoid unsuspecting guests on your devices, you should keep your online data safe. Start by downloading an adequate firewall with updated antivirus.
You should also frequently update your software. Updates are there to fix any remaining or new security holes and computer bugs. Your devices are vulnerable due to the security flaws in your software.
As much as possible, try to avoid public WiFi connections. Public networks are an easy way for hackers to steal your data and check your online movement. Make use of your mobile data or download a trustworthy virtual private network (VPN).
Create Strong, Unique Passwords
Passwords are one of the most important factors that protect your data from threats. If you have a weak password, people will find it easy to log in and steal your confidential information. Many scammers use your public information and social engineering to guess your password.
Lessen the damage by making unique and strong passwords for every account that you have. Add numbers, symbols, and random strings of letters to make it difficult to guess. Avoid using your name, birthday, pet names, or personal information in your passwords.
Take advantage of password managers to store all of them in a place with easy access for you. The password manager mixes your passwords and makes it hard for hackers to decode for a certain account. It’s also a convenient vault for all your devices to access your passwords if you forget them.
Allow Identity Theft Prevention to the Max
Follow these steps to encourage identity theft prevention in your financial life. Be alert in everything that you do, especially if it involves confidential information.
We encourage safety in many ways, including your finances and health! Check out our other guides for more information on increasing your protection.