Today, identity theft is a common occurrence that can devastate your family’s finances. Nearly 18 million individuals in the United States have their identity stolen each year after someone is able to access a social security number or other identifying information. To prevent identity theft, experts recommend following a variety of guidelines.

Prevent Identity Theft 1: Have a Security Freeze On Your Credit Card Accounts

Contact your credit card companies to alert you about any problems on your credit card accounts. You can also request a freeze on your accounts to prevent a criminal from using your credit card number to make purchases. If you decide to use a credit card, then you will need to contact your credit card company by using your special identifying information.

Prevent Identity Theft 2: Opt-out From Postal Mail

Criminals can steal mail from your home to find applications for insurance or credit cards, and this can lead to identity theft. Someone might apply for a credit card without your knowledge, and he will return to your home to steal the credit card from your mailbox. The criminal will begin to use the credit card right away to buy expensive items. Look for the government’s opt-out form to avoid receiving applications from credit card or insurance companies.

Prevent Identity Theft 3: Check Your Bank Accounts Frequently

Check your bank’s checking and saving’s accounts frequently to notice any charges that aren’t yours. If you notice a problem, then contact your bank’s manager immediately. In addition, keep track of your debit cards and paper checks to prevent someone from using the items to steal money from your accounts.

Prevent Identity Theft 4: Understand When Your Bills Should Arrive

Have an understanding of when your bills should arrive for utility and credit card payments. If a bill doesn’t arrive in the mail, then contact your local post office to determine if someone is diverting your mail. Call your credit card and utility companies to determine if the due dates on your bills have changed.

Prevent Identity Theft 5: Don’t Respond To Strange Telephone Calls

Many thieves will pretend to be a bank or credit card manager so that they can request your information, including your social security number and passwords. If an individual contacts you about debts, credit card accounts or banking information, then hang up immediately.

Prevent Identity Theft 6: Request Your Credit Reports Several Times a Year

Make sure to request your personal credit reports several times a year to determine if there are errors such as alternate names or addresses. Check the credit reports carefully to understand if there are any charge cards listed that you have never applied for online or with a paper application.

Prevent Identity Theft 7: Keep Your Electronic Devices Secure

Keep your electronic devices such as a smartphone or computer secure with high-quality virus and hacker protection. Don’t share your electronic devices with anyone, and also, use caution when you have a phone or computer repaired.

Prevent Identity Theft 8: Don’t Respond To Strange Emails

If you have an email account, then don’t respond to any strange emails from unknown individuals who are requesting your personal information or money for charitable causes. Use online filtering devices to avoid receiving these types of emails.

Prevent Identity Theft 9: Secure Your Online Data

Another way to prevent identity theft is by having data fraud detection with Confluent. If you have a lot of personal information online, then you must protect the data from any type of theft.

What Can You Do When Your Vital Information Is Stolen?

If you suspect that your information has been compromised, then collect any paper documents to alert your financial institutions such as credit unions, banks and credit card companies. In addition, visit your local police department to file a report concerning the identity theft so that they can conduct an investigation.

 

by: Dennis Hung