Don’t let this happen to you.
Suddenly you notice a strange charge on your credit card statement, some important mail you were expecting never came, or you find errors on your credit report. These are just three ways you might learn you’re the victim of fraud or identity theft. Don’t panic. You’re not alone.
Identity theft is big business. It’s estimated that nearly one billion records have been compromised in the last ten years. The costs to businesses and the stresses placed on people like you are enormous. Here are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself today:
Get a copy of your credit report and keep an eye on it
Make sure the information on it is accurate and remains that way
Monitor the balances of your financial accounts
Look for inexplicable charges or withdrawals on your accounts
This is how they do it.
Identity thieves and fraudsters use some basic tactics. Arm yourself with knowledge to keep your accounts secure:
- Don’t be fooled by people posing as officials or business personnel; ask questions when you’re suspicious and never give information over the phone.
- Don’t answer questions over the phone from people you don’t know or trust.
- Some scammers will attempt to get a copy of your credit report. If you suspect this has happened to you, alert your credit agency.
- Some thieves are tech savvy and will try to hack your computer records while others might rummage through your trash. Always shred documents with personal information before disposing of them.
- Some people may try to steal your mail or divert it by completing a change of address with the post office.
- During break-ins some thieves may steal personal info, debit and credit card numbers.
This is how to stop them.
Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to arming yourself against fraud and identity theft.
- Always check your receipts against your monthly statements to look for unusual charges or suspicious activity.
- Don’t carry your social security card.
- Do not lend out ATM, debit, or credit cards. And never share your personal identification numbers (PINs).
- Make a list of all your cards with complete account numbers and store this in a safe place.
- Invest in a paper shredder and use it to discard any mail or paperwork that bears your confidential information. (If a shredder isn’t in the budget–tear it up by hand making sure the vital information isn’t visible).
- Perform all financial transactions on a secured internet connection. This will help prevent hackers from intercepting confidential information.
- Don’t share personal information with people you don’t know. Scammers will pretend to be from a place you generally conduct business or another reputable organization. Don’t believe them just because they claim to know you.
Information provided on the Financial Education section of this website is believed to beaccurate and reliable when placed on this site. Money Mart Financial Services cannot guarantee it is accurate,complete or current at all times. Information on this site is for informational purposes only andis not intended to provide financial, legal, accounting or tax advice and should not be reliedupon in that regard. You should seek guidance from a certified financial advisor or creditcounselor for specific advice that is applicable to your individual situation.