May 3, 2016
It is a sobering statistic that last year over 13 million Americans were victims of identity fraud. There are a few things you can do to shift odds in your favor that you will not inevitably become a victim.
1. Simply contact the 3 major credit bureasu (via the authorized website, www.annualcreditreport.com) and tell them that yo want to institue a credit freeze. There will be a small cost, unless you have already been a victim. You can "unfreeze" at any time. Of course you can only do this if your life is settled, and you don't plan to buy a home, change insurance policies, apply for a job or more credit.
2. Monitor your bank and credit card accounts regularly. Small odd charges can be the tip-off to future larger, unauthorized purchases.
3. Check your credit report throughout the year at AnnualCreditReport.com. you are entitled to one free credit report from each of the 3 major credit bureaus each year. Space your credit report inquires throughout the year. Look carefully for any credit accounts listed on your report that do not belong to you.
4. Ask your Bank or card issuer what services they provide free of charge. They may offer transaction monitoring, account alerts, 2-way authentication and holds until purchases above a certain amount or geographical area outside your home base can be authenticated.
5. Secure your social security number. Don’t carry your social security card in your wallet or write your number on your checks. Only give out your social security number (SSN) when absolutely necessary.
6. Don’t respond to unsolicited requests for personal information (your name, birthdate, social security number, or bank account number) by phone, mail, or online.
7. Watch out for “shoulder surfers.” Shield the keypad when typing your passwords on computers and at ATMs.
8. Collect mail promptly. Ask the post office to put your mail on hold when you are away from home.
9. Pay attention to your billing cycles. If bills or financial statements are late, contact the sender.
10. Shred receipts, credit offers, account statements, and expired cards, to prevent “dumpster divers” from getting your personal information.
11. Hopefully, you won't have to use this site which may help you report and recover from identity theft
https://www.usa.gov/identity-theft There are many helpful links, should this become necessary.
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