5 Steps to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
With credit freezes being offered for free in 4 months, I have the 5 steps to protecting yourself from identity theft.
(1) Once a Month Check These Sites and Make Sure Everything Is Ok
Bank Accounts - make sure that someone hasn't stolen a check or duplicated your checks and written checks on your bank account.
Credit card Accounts - check for fraudulent activity.
Health Insurance - Yes, health insurance! Check and make sure no one is using your coverage. That involves a simple check for any activity not belonging to you.
(2) Set-up Credit Freezes
In my opinion this is a "no-brainer" with them being free. This locks up your credit reports while you are not using them. Only you can unlock them.
(3) Protect Your Tax Return
Request an identity protection pin from the IRS. For a thief to steal your tax refund, they would need this code. This gives you a later of protection.
(4) Be aware of Your Surroundings
Practice prevention in all things. Be careful leaving computers unattended, wallets and purses in cars, important papers out on counters, passwords unchanged, etc. It pays to just be aware and smart about what is happening around you. It also pays to practice good common sense.
(5) Practice the Golden Rule of Identity Theft
IF you are ever approached via telephone call, an email, a knock at the door,or in any other way and the person is requesting information or for you to verify information, don't give it to them. Always check and verify the source by a separate phone call to the source. Companies don't approach their customers for information in that manner. The golden rule is never give information to anyone who approaches you in any form.
It is time to be proactive in the fight against identity theft. Remember it is not if but when it happens in some way or form.