Uncategorized

How to Help Protect Your Credit from Identity Theft

Identity theft comes in multiple forms, but they all mean the same for you: someone is taking advantage of your identity and putting your financial security at risk. But you can help protect yourself from becoming the next fraud victim with several preventive measures. Start with these basics to identity theft:

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft takes place when someone else uses your personal information for his/her personal gain, and it can occur right under your nose without your knowledge.

Identity theft takes place when someone else uses your personal information for his/her personal gain, and it can occur right under your nose without your knowledge.

You may only notice identity theft after you apply for your next credit card, refinance a home, or apply for a car loan, and by then the damage could already be done. Thieves may have used your identity to apply for their own loan or credit card, ruining your credit score in the process. Then you’ll need to repair your credit to undo the damage.

Common identity theft tactics include:

  • Rummaging through discarded paperwork or mail to find personal data
  • Using computer viruses or malware to capture personal data remotely
  • Acquiring personal data from recycled computer equipment
  • Hacking networks to access troves of vulnerable personal data
  • Monitoring your computer activity when you’re on public Wi-Fi
  • Contacting unsuspecting consumers via phone or email, pretending to be someone else, and requesting personal information

Because there are so many methods, it’s integral to monitor your credit score. Check your reports and all 3 scores from the major credit bureaus to have peace of mind that your identity is safe.

If You Think You Might Be a Victim of Identity Theft

Say you check your credit report and notice a load of red flags. What can you do about it? There’s no way to stop, drop, and roll on your credit report until the red flags disappear. If you see indications of credit fraud or identity theft, the first step is to freeze your credit.

If you see indications of credit fraud or identity theft, the first step is to freeze your credit. Click To Tweet

Freezing your credit first involves you making a phone call to each of the major 3 credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Ask them to put a stop to any inquiries to loans, cards, or credit reports. If you wish to use these services in the future, you must unfreeze your credit.

A similar measure may be asking each company to place a fraud alert on your credit and to investigate the fraud charges.

Other safeguards to help protect your identity include:

  • Shredding sensitive documents that contain personal information
  • Don’t leave your mail in the mailbox any longer than you need to
  • Setting up 2-step verification for your most commonly-used online accounts: create a unique and complicated password for each account and send 1 code to your device to verify your identity.
  • Checking your credit reports regularly for inconsistencies or unusual activity. If you catch fraud, seek these solutions to repair your credit.
  • Keeping track of which credit cards you apply for
  • Don’t give your personal information, including mother’s maiden name or other common answers to security questions, to anyone you don’t know
  • If you’re submitting sensitive information online, always make sure the website address matches the company’s real website address. The most important part is the word right before the .com or .gov.
  • Don’t give sensitive information to people who call you. Call them instead.
  • Create passwords with capital letters, lower-case letters, numbers and symbols, and don’t use real words.

Ultimately, knowledge is key to preventing identity theft or putting a halt to it quickly. The next time you’re applying for your new credit card, be sure to keep track of your application status. If you get unusual mail from a credit card company, unexpected bills, or statements you shouldn’t be receiving, you may have been a victim of identity theft.

Take care of your credit and your personal data with these precautions. Subscribe to our blog for more information to help manage your finances securely.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button
Close