10 Ways To Ensure You’re Never A Victim Of Identity Theft
I’ve been the victim of identity theft in the past, and also I’ve had my credit card literally “skimmed” while visiting Chili’s. Within literally an hour of paying for my meal at Chili’s my debit card was getting “charged” at grocery stores and different CVC Pharmacies. It was a huge reality check to the dangers of identity theft.
Let’s take a look at 6 of the most shocking ways people steal your credit and also how YOU can stop it!
1. Protect Your Social Security Number
Be extremely guarded regarding who you provide your social security number to. Only provide it if it’s absolutely necessary.
2. Be Creative With Pin Numbers
First of all, never write down your pin number or save it on your phone. Also, you should never use the last four digits of your social security number as your PIN. Be creative and use 4 digit combo that only you would know. Never use birthdays or anything else that could easily be guessed.
3. Shred Your Documents
Whenever you receive statements in the mail that contain personal information, be sure to shred. Do not keep copies of credit reports, offers or any document that contains sensitive information. If you MUST keep it, lock it in a safe.
4. Bare Necessities
Limit the number of credit cards, debit cards and personal information when moving around. Never keep your birth certificate, passport or any sensitive information in your purse or bag unless it’s absolutely necessary.
5. Monitor Your Accounts
Always be sure you’re monitoring your accounts. In fact, most banks and credit card companies have alert notifications that can be sent to your phone and email. Sign up for these alerts so that you’ll always know when a debit or charge is made to your accounts.
6. Clear Mailbox Promptly
Whenever possible be sure to clear your mailbox as soon as the mail is delivered. If that’s not feasible, be sure it’s the first thing you do as soon as you get home. Do not leave your mail in the mailbox overnight. If you’re going to be away from home for an extended period of time, be sure to have the Post Office hold your mail.
7. Avoid Giving Personal Information Over The Phone
This should go without saying, but do no provide your credit card number or other personal information over the phone. I know in the past ordering products/services via the phone was popular, but it’s best to never do this unless absolutely necessary.
8. Virus/Firewall Protection
Be sure your computer is well protected with a firewall and that you have the latest virus protection updates. Be sure to turn on automatic updates to ensure you are always fully protected from viruses, malware and phishing.
9. Credit Monitoring
Get your free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com. This is only given once a year for free, so it’s also best that you enroll in a credit monitoring program. There are many you can use for free such as CreditKarma. You’ll get alerts whenever something new appears on your credit report.
10. Consult Attorney/CPA
If you believe you’ve been the victim of Identity Theft then be sure to contact an attorney, CPA, and of course law enforcement to ensure you are protected from any malice.