Whether it’s massive data breaches (like the one that MGM recently suffered) or a friend who has had their credit card stolen, it’s likely you’re familiar with identity theft. Every day we hear more and more stories of people who have fallen victim to identity thieves in some form or another. Below are just a few simple tips to help protect yourself against identity theft.
IDENTITY THEFT PROTECTION TIPS
Enroll in ProtectMyID® from AAA, fueled by Experian®
AAA Members receive free identity protection including Experian credit monitoring, lost wallet protection, and U.S. based fraud resolution support. All you have to do is enroll in the Essential plan, which is included with your AAA membership.
Secure your Social Security Number (SSN)
Don’t carry your social security card in your wallet, keep it at home unless you absolutely need to bring it with you. Never give out your social security number unless necessary.
Don’t give out your personal information
Don’t share important personal information like your birth date, bank account numbers or social security numbers, just because someone asks for it. Be skeptical of all e-mails that direct to a website in which credit card or personal information is entered. One of the largest forms of fraud is “phishing,” in which victims receive an e-mail that directs to a phony web site and requests users enter in personal information or an email that includes a link with malware on it. Err on the side of caution, if the email sounds “phishy” it probably is.
Fraud via phone calls is on the rise as well. If someone calls you and requests important information, verify that they are truly who they say they are. Again, if it sounds weird, hang up.
Collect your mail
Make sure you collect your mail everyday and that you shred any pre-approved card offers that come your way. If you’re planning on going out of town, call your local post office and have them put a temporary stop on your mail or arrange for a friend or family member to retrieve it daily.
Safeguard your credit by treating your cards like cash. Keep them securely in your wallet or at home when not needed.
Review your credit card statements
Review your monthly statements in a timely manner to ensure all charges are accurate, and check your account online frequently. This will also help victims of skimming detect fraud immediately. Skimming often occurs in restaurants and bars where credit cards are out of sight of the cardholder. Secret copies of the magnetic strip are made in order to make a counterfeit card. Make sure you report any billing errors and lost or stolen cards immediately to resolve problems in a timely manner and reduce possible fraudulent activity.
Use complex passwords
Gone are the days where password123 is a secure way to safeguard from identity thieves. Your account passwords should include both lowercase and upper case letters as well as numbers and symbols. You’ll need to have different passwords for each of your accounts as well. Make sure you pay attention to date breaches in the news and change your passwords if a company you do business with has had a breach.
Freeze Your Credit Files
Freeze your credit files if you are not planning on applying for a credit card or utility service anytime soon. This can help prevent someone from applying for and getting approved for a credit account in your name. You can freeze your credit through Experian, Innovis, TransUnion, the National Consumer Telecommunications and Utilities Exchange, and Equifax.
Enroll in Identity Theft Protection Today!