Here is a bit of information to begin with:
• According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, USA, an estimated 17.6 million people have been the victim of at least one incident of identity theft in the year 2014.
• Identity theft encompasses misuse of credit and debit cards and personal information as well.
• Identity theft is often discovered by the victims only after a financial institution contacts them to report suspicious activity or when they notice fraudulent charges on an account.
Ways To Prevent Identity Theft
There is no denying the fact that there is a huge amount of risk and financial losses that occurs when an individual’s identity gets stolen. It therefore makes a lot of sense to look at five smart ways to prevent identity theft.
Digital security – one of the biggest areas
All of us use the online medium to do our banking, shopping and even social interactions. It is therefore important for you to pay attention to the activities you conduct while you are online. Digital security therefore should encompass:
• Using smart passwords for all your bank accounts and other accounts as well. Try not to make it one, common password for everything.
• Use the latest Security Software to protect your computer and mobile device itself.
• Be aware of scams, phishing emails, spam messages that could be filled with viruses and so on.
Subscribing to theft protection services
There are quite a few professional identity theft protection services out there and they deliver a wide range of measures that will help you keep track of your online and offline accounts. Identity theft products can deliver:
• Fraud alerts.
• Free credit reports.
• Protection against lost wallet and so on.
It would be a good idea for you to look through professional reviews of such service providers before choosing the right one for your needs.
Getting into the details
It is very vital for you to go into details as far as your bank account statements or credit charges are concerned. Look for any possible discrepancy and immediately contact your financial institution of choice to find out what is going on.
The hardcopy side of things
More often than not, we do not pay attention to small things such as the slips of paper that ATM Machines generate. But even these slips of paper can be used to steal your identity. Therefore, once you are done with your transaction and you do not need a particular piece of paper, do ensure that you shred it completely before throwing it away.
Checking credit reports
Credit reports are the foundation for your financial health. It is to ask for your credit score every now and then and look at any downward shifts in the same. There are three major credit agencies in the USA and you can easily contact them when you want to place a fraud alert on your credit record.
Finally, it is good to remember that prevention is definitely better than cure in this case. Therefore, pay attention to the simple things in order to avert identity theft. 🙂