Published by Jason Comes
Identity theft and credit fraud are all over the news these days. So what can you do to combat potential credit fraud? Follow these simple steps to help protect your credit.
1. NEVER give out your personal information over the phone.
Don’t fall for scams with a nice lady claiming to be with your bank and needs to verify your social security number! Banks or our government will never call and ask you for this information over the phone so NEVER EVER give out your social security number or even your birth date to anyone on a call. And never send money from your bank to another bank, especially in a foreign country.
2. Secure your computer and smartphones.
Thieves have very sophisticated software to steal any information you have on your desktop, laptop and even smartphone. Use the auto-lock function on all of your devices no matter how much of an inconvenience it is to put in your password each time. Keep your malware protection updated and run tests periodically to make sure your computer is virus-free. Change your password on each account (especially bank accounts) at least once every three months and build complex passwords using a combination of letters (upper and lower case), numbers and symbols. Finally, log-out every time after visiting your bank or retail site.
3. Shop at legitimate places online.
Don’t go to online retail sites you’re not familiar with; instead, visit those websites of larger retailers, even if it costs a few extra dollars. Use sites that are trustworthy such as those that encrypt your personal information. This means the website’s URL begins with “https” and/or has a padlock icon next to it, indicating that the website has security measures in place to prevent others from accessing your personal information.
4. Shred documents and check your credit regularly.
Shred anything with your personal information on it. Most importantly, go to www.annualcreditreport.com to get your free credit report to make sure it is perfect. There are 3 major credit agencies and you can get one free every year from each of agency, so you can check your credit at least three times per year. Make it a habit, otherwise, you will end up paying a company like Lifelock $20 – 30 per month to monitor your credit.
By following these simple steps, you’ll be on your way to ensuring your credit is protected.