5 WAYS TO DEFEND AGAINST IDENTITY THEFT
You've probably heard about identity theft, but you may not know what it is or how to protect against it.
First, let's talk about what identity theft is. Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information and then uses this information for their gain.
Once someone has your information, they can use it how they want. They can open credit cards, access your financial information, cash checks and other illegal activities that put your financial future at risk.
Identity theft is impossible to prevent completely. But there are a few strategies you can use to help prevent it.
1. Freeze Your Credit
Freezing your credit is a strategy to stop potential creditors from accessing your credit report. Anyone who tries to run your credit can't see any of your information.
But remember, you'll need to release the freeze on your credit when you're having someone run a credit check when applying for a mortgage or opening a credit card.
2. Keep Your Social Security Number Safe
Think twice before you give out your Social Security number. It may be necessary to put this information down when opening a bank account or filling out paperwork at a doctor's office, but keep your information private whenever possible.
Keeping your Social Security number secure can include ensuring your Social Security card is in a safe place, in your home.
3. Be Aware of Phishing Scams
Phishing scams are when people send you an email or call you, pretending to be someone else, to get your personal information.
Don't give out any personal information over the phone or click on any links in an email from an account you don't recognize.
4. Shred Documents Before Throwing Them Away
Keep your documents as long as you need them, but after they're no longer useful, shred these documents before you throw them away. This includes utility bills, bank statements and credit card offers.
Identity thieves go through the trash, looking for documents people have thrown away, not realizing they include personal information. Shredding these documents keeps your information safe from anyone looking for it.
5. Create Strong Passwords
Use different passwords across all devices and applications connected to your personal information. This includes email, social media profiles, online banking login information and insurance company accounts.
A strong password contains a combination of capital and lower case letters, numbers and special characters like punctuation. It's also a good idea to stay away from using commonly known pieces of information when creating your password. Refrain from using your address, your name or children's names.
Use these tactics to help reduce your risk of having your identity stolen. And if you're interested in learning more about how you can keep your information and finances safe, contact the office.