Four Simple Ways to Protect Against Identity Theft

36dcd1a3c16047deac38baa05618e9bcWith the rise of cyberhacking, it is good to be on guard against identity theft online and offline. There are four simple tasks you can do to protect yourself from identity fraud.

Read Your Statements

Looking at your bank and credit card statements each month is the best way to stay on guard of any mischarges. Most banks and credit card companies are fast to act on fraud charges that are reported immediately. However, allowing the fraud charges to add up and go on for months may put you at risk of being responsible for some of the charges. Make it a point to check your statements regularly. Honestly, it only takes a few minutes each month, but it can save you a lot of grief and money in the long run.

Complex Usernames and Passwords

When it comes to chat forums or other sites that do not store important information about you, feel free to use a simple username and password. However, for your bank login, shopping logins, and other sites, use a complex username and password. Aim for passwords that are longer, use a mix of lowercase and capital letters, numbers, and symbols. Try not to use a password that is a word found in the dictionary. You can keep track of your passwords with secured password managing apps.
Another tip is to not login into secure accounts when you are on a public computer or using public Wi-Fi. This means, do not check your bank account while you are sipping your latte at Starbucks.

Get Alerted

You can get alerted every time a purchase is made on your debit or credit card. Of course, these alerts can get annoying, but they keep you constantly aware of your accounts. The alerts can help you be proactive in keeping your accounts safe.

Shred Important Papers

This is such a simple piece of advice, but the problem is that many individuals still do not shred financial documents. Even I am guilty of throwing away junk mail, such as credit card offers, instead of shredding them. Dumpster diving may seem like a thing of the past, but it still goes on today. Invest in a good shredder (they usually have sales for Black Friday), and make it a habit to shred anything with your name, account number, social, and other important information on it. Better safe than sorry!

It is easy to think that you will never be a victim of identity theft, especially when you keep all of your cards close by. However, with more and more information online, it can be easier to be a victim of fraud than you think. The four tips are pretty obvious, but are good reminders that we all need to stay proactive in keeping our financial and personal information safe.