How to Stay Protected from Identity Theft
Identity theft claims a new victim every two seconds, Javelin Strategy & Research reports. Credit monitoring used to be enough to keep you safe, but as criminals get more ruthless and more desperate, it’s just not enough anymore. To protect every aspect of your life from predators, be active on a variety of safety fronts. These basics will help you stay protected.
Protecting Your Credit Cards from Identity Theft
New RFID technology makes it easier than ever to steal your credit card number and wreck your credit. To protect your credit card numbers from RFID scanning tools that allow thieves access to your credit card number in seconds, carry an RFID wallet blocking card. This can block as many as six credit cards from illicit RFID scanners, USA Today writer Matt Granite notes.
Even with these measures in place, it’s also critical that you check your credit card statements regularly for fraudulent charges. For example, a waitress at a local restaurant could inflate her tip when running your credit card. You gave her the card to pay your bill, but you didn’t authorize that whole amount. It’s easier to fight fraudulent charges when they happen rather than report a claim months after the fact.
Protecting Your Financial Information from Identity Theft
Poor passwords are a gateway to your financial accounts, as hackers can gain access to your account by guessing your password. To safeguard your bank accounts, credit card accounts, and other financial information, choose a strong password for your online accounts.
Technology expert, Microsoft, recommends that your password be at least eight characters and combine uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. The password should also be notably different from past passwords, and not contain your name (or your business name) or any other complete word.
Once you’ve changed all of your passwords, take an extra step to protect your financial information by signing up for an identity theft monitoring system, such as LifeLock. This service performs 24/7 identity monitoring and alerts customers with a phone call, email, or text message if there is any suspicious activity on the account. Continuous scanning and monitoring ensure that any threats to customers’ identity come to light immediately.
Protecting Your Home
If your home is your castle, then it deserves the very best protection against burglary. The San Jose Police Department recommends a variety of safety measures that can help you protect your home from burglary:
- Trimming trees and shrubs, ensuring that property fences are intact, and adding motion detector lights and a surveillance camera will protect your home’s exterior and deter would-be thieves.
- Next-level security steps include using window locks to prevent a thief from opening the windows, adding a home alarm system to increase awareness, and upgrading home locks for maximum security.
- To protect your possessions, ensure that you have secure locks on your garage, your basement, and all home doorways and that all family members put away personal possessions instead of leaving them out in the yard.
Be mindful of your assets – those within the home, and those within your business and financial institutions. Planning ahead and safeguarding is key to making sure you don’t become a victim.