Protecting your identity and personal information in this day and age isn’t easy.
Unfortunately, there are many ways for your identity to be stolen. But that doesn’t mean it’s inevitable. Don’t become a victim of fraud! Here are three easy ways to keep your identity and your money safe.
1. Take Advantage of Free Credit Reports
One of the most common mistakes consumers make is never ordering their credit report. Don’t wait until you know there’s a problem to order to get a credit report! Order a report at least once a year, if not more.
Credit reports are free, and you can order them online at annualcreditreport.com. This is an easy way for you to see if anyone has tried to apply for loans or credit cards using your personal information. Make sure that if you see any fraudulent charges you report them.
2. Monitor Your Account Online
Make sure you closely monitor your account activity. The easiest way to do this is by using online banking. Verify that all the transactions listed on your account are actually yours. If you notice any charges that aren’t yours, report them to your bank immediately.
The quicker you report a fraudulent charge, the safer your identity will be. So, make sure you’re in a regular habit of looking at your online bank account and make sure all the charges line up with purchases you’ve actually made.
3. Check Before You Click
Scammers often send links via email, text, or social media message. At first glance, these messages might look like they’re from a legitimate business. But after you click on the link, you’ll often be asked to submit your Social Security number or credit card number. These types of emails are known as phishing scams. Don’t fall for them!
If an email claims to be from a business, it will be from a business account. But if you notice that the email is from a free email service (like Gmail or Hotmail), it’s definitely spam. If there are spelling errors or it just seems unprofessional in any way, send the email to your spam folder!