Identity Theft Protection Tips

Identity Theft Protection Tips

Identity theft affects more than 11 million victims in the U.S. annually. With $21 billion in financial losses attributed to identity theft in 2013, there are ways to protect yourself from becoming a victim.

One of the first steps to making sure your identity and credit haven’t been compromised is to check your credit report. You can check your score up to three times per year at https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp. If there are any unauthorized or unusual charges on your report, file a dispute with the company in question.

It’s important to frequently check your monthly online or paper bank statements for unusual charges. It’s equally important to check your credit card statement just as much as your bank statement, especially after every purchase.

When you’re using the ATM, be aware of your surroundings making sure no one is able to see you enter your pin. Also keep an eye out for ATM skimmers that have the potential to wipe away all of your card information. Investigate and feel around the slot to make sure the card reader isn’t loose.

If a clerk or a waitress has to swipe your card, make sure they aren’t double swiping it or skimming and storing the information from the magnetic strip.

If you’re still using checks protect both your account and routing numbers. Thieves can obtain this information from the bottom of the checks so safeguard all information.

If you must carry credit cards in your wallet at all times, always keep your purse in your possession. This can be the perfect opportunity to steal wallets with credit cards in it and you may not realize it until days later.

Never leave any valuables in visible view in your car or gym locker. When you’re using your computer, have an antivirus and spyware software installed to protect against hackers who may be phishing for personal information.

Update all digital devices including cell phones, tablets and IPads.

When using the Internet, never wire money to anyone online. Phone calls from strangers or even family members asking for information is most likely a scam.
Always drop your mail off in a traditional blue mailbox instead of your residential box.

In addition to these tips it might be wise to invest in some type of identity theft protection. For a few dollars a month, you can most likely be assured that your identity has a shield protecting it from hackers.

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