There is no profile for an identity thief, meaning anyone of any gender, age, ethnicity, or social class can steal your personal information to commit fraud. They can cause severe damage to your credit and finances – leading to years of effort to recover from the damage.
Prevention is the key to protecting your credit and your good name. To reduce your risk of becoming a victim of identity fraud, follow these simple tips:
- Check your credit report at least once a year and monitor for sudden changes or suspicious activity.
- Protect your PIN. Never write your credit or debit card PIN on a slip of paper that can be easily stolen or lost. Instead keep it safe by memorizing it.
- Stay aware of your surroundings. With online banking, bill pay, and credit monitoring it’s easy for strangers to look over your shoulder and steal passwords, usernames, and other account information. Stay aware of your surroundings and shield your screen when using phones or tablets. Better yet, wait until you get home or to a secure area when dealing with personal information.
- Monitor billing cycles. If bills or financial statements are late contact the sender. It may be a sign your bills have been stolen or your account changed.
- Install virus protection. Prevent cyber identity theft by installing firewalls and virus detection software on your computer. Do the same for your smartphone and tablet, especially if you often use public WiFi networks.
Store personal info in a safe place. Keep personal information such as your birth certificate, account statements, bills, and your social security card in a safe and secure place. This is the case both at home and at work.
Visit Maximum Security’s blog for helpful tips to prevent theft in your home or workplace.