How do you protect yourself from identity theft? These tips can help.
Storing important financial documents should never be overlooked.
Remember that documents like your social security card, financial documents, and tax returns, as well as credit cards can tempt a burglar. Your will, passport and birth certificate also contain information that can be very useful to identity thieves.
When protecting yourself from identity fraud, there are two basic questions you need to ask yourself: How can I easily access my information?” and “how can I keep the information safe from natural and man-made emergencies?”
While burglars may deliberately barge into your home or office to steal your information, you may unintentionally lose important documents during natural calamities and other circumstances. Here are ways to store and keep your financial documents from falling in the hands of the wrong people:
- Home safe. Buy a fireproof home safe with a secure locking mechanism to keep your documents from being accessed by the wrong people.
- Plastic and binder. Protect your documents from wear and tear or accidents by putting each document in its own plastic page. It is important to have copies orf important documents in a moment’s notice especially if you have to prove that you are a victim of identity thief.
- Safe deposit box. You can store important documents such as power of attorney, wills, annual tax returns, birth certificate and social security information in a bank’s or credit union’s safe deposit box.
- Never throw your utility payments, receipts, credit card or bank statements, especially if it came from a transaction you used your active credit card with; shred them instead. These papers contain your name and credit card number and criminals may use it at your expense.
Beware of robocalls and live telemarketers soliciting for your credit card information or identity
These scams are prevalent; but you can easily distinguish them because of the following traditional scam warning signs:
- The caller pressures you to act immediately, to keep the call or transaction a secret and the caller claims to have a legitimate contact, like a government official or law enforcement agency
- Calls to fix a problem with your government benefits, raffle winnings, or your credit card account.
Don’t rely on caller ID because technology makes it possible for identity thieves to fake it. As long as the person pressures you to act immediately and demands for personal information, or money, using non-traceable cash transfer; reject the call because it is a scam.
Protect your online information
If you are shopping and banking online, there is a chance for someone to rob your information and use it to splurge your money. So, here are tips to ensure the safety of your information online:
- Always clear your logins and passwords especially when using a public computer. It is also advisable to change your passwords every month.
- When shopping online with your credit card, make sure that you don’t fall for phishing scams, or popups that mimic legitimate online shops and banks. Be careful when entering personal data. Verify that you are on the official website with security controls.
- Monitor your financial statements. Make it a habit to check your bank and credit card accounts to spot clues of identity theft. It would reveal purchases you didn’t make.
Request a credit report
Check your credit report for abnormal transactions such as shopping sprees and opening new credit cards or debit cards, and other financial activities you can’t remember doing.
Do you want to clean up your credit report? Contact us today and we will help you the best way we can.