6 Things You Can Do to Ward Off ID Theft

magnifier_finger1. Be vigilant with your online information.

Only log into your online banking and financial institution sites from home or a secured location. This may seem simple, but it can be easy to forget.

2. Don’t use a debit card for online purchases.

A debit card is directly connected to your checking or savings account, so if there is fraud, your account can be drained — ouch!

A credit card is just that, credit. If there are purchases you don’t recognize, you can dispute them without your funds having already been withdrawn from your account. Consider having one credit card specifically for that purpose.

3. Monitor your accounts monthly.

When you go “paperless,” it can be easier to neglect checking your statements.  Be sure to review your bank accounts and credit card statements regularly to make sure they are correct and to watch for unauthorized purchases.

4. Simplify your financial information.

When you have multiple accounts and can fan out your credit cards like a deck of playing cards, it’s a challenge to stay on top of things. Consider paring down your accounts in order to better stay on top of them.

Also consider using an aggregation service, such as Mint.com, so all of your accounts and daily transactions are viewable with one single sign-in. This can help you easily stay on top of your account activity.

5. Check your credit information regularly and take advantage of free (or low-cost) credit monitoring services.

One problem with identity theft is that you may not know what you don’t know. If someone opens an account in your name and changes your address, you are left in the dark.

Subscribe to a credit monitoring service, like ID Theft Protection from First Financial. Don’t wait until it’s too late! To learn more about our ID Theft Protection products, click here and enroll today.

6. If you see something, report it right away.

If you suspect that your identity has been compromised, you can place a fraud alert on your credit file by calling any one of the three major credit reporting agencies shown below. A fraud alert is a notation on your credit file to warn credit issuers that there may be a problem. The credit issuer is asked to contact you at the telephone number that you supply to validate that you are the person applying for the credit.

TransUnion: 1.800.916.8800

Experian: 1.888.397.3742

Equifax: 1.800.685.1111

In accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, it is permissible for consumers to request a free copy of their credit report once every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax).

To order a free credit report: www.annualcreditreport.com 

Article Source: Nancy Anderson for Forbes.com, http://www.forbes.com/sites/nancyanderson/2015/06/13/7-things-you-can-do-to-ward-off-identity-theft/

 

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