It’s Identity Theft Prevention Month, and stopping identity theft is easier than you think! Many people become victims of identity theft when they click a link in a fake email. Never follow an email link requesting personal information or passwords! Instead, go to the company’s website directly from your browser and check your account from there. However, identity theft doesn’t only happen online! Thieves will do things like steal your mail or go through your trash to discover information about you. They will even go as far as filing a change of address form in your name in order to divert your mail to a location they can access!
Securing Your Identity
- Freeze it! A credit freeze stops all access to your credit report until you lift it. However, it won’t work unless you apply the freeze to all three major credit bureaus! The National Consumers Telecommunications & Utilities Exchange and Innovis are both new agencies that also monitor creditworthiness. Freezing is the best defense against new-account fraud, but can be a headache if your report legitimately needs accessed.
- Track it! Set up text alerts on all your cards and bank accounts to notify you when a purchase over a certain amount has been made. Setting an alert for every single purchase may be a lot of alerts, but you can never be too careful with your identity!
- Review it! Did you know that you can get one free copy of your credit report from each agency every year? Make sure to watch for changes in basic information like your address and make sure all listed accounts are legitimate. Also check for “hard inquires”, or information requests, that you did not authorize.
- Destroy it! Never throw bills, bank statements, or other sensitive information in the trash. Always use a shredder, preferably a micro-cut machine that turns paper into a pile of confetti!
- Defend it! Set up online access for all your bank accounts, even if you don’t think you’ll use it. Setting up an online account claims your account’s unique internet link, and stops anyone else from claiming it either!
- Shield it! Did you know that the QR code on your boarding pass has information like your address and flight information? If identity thieves can access your account or travel plans, they know when you’ll be away from home! Reduce your risk by properly disposing of boarding passes and other travel documents, and never post pictures of them!
Lifelock can give you peace of mind for only pennies a day! This policy endorsement provides coverage for losses due to identity theft, credit and public records monitoring, and identity or travel documents replacement.