It is not fun to become prey to an identity thief. Instead, take charge of your year by ensuring you completed the following five tasks.
Do Not Provide Personal Information
There are plenty of ways to fool consumers. Caller IDs, email addresses, and even phone numbers can now be hijacked to seem legitimate. Therefore, ensure to never give personal information over the phone, text, or email unless you have already confirmed the method of contact is accurate.
Signing Up For Opt Out Lists
To avoid frustratingly hanging up on telemarketers, might be best for your blood pressure to sign up for the Federal Do Not Call list at donotcall.gov. Also, since pre-approved credit card offers are sent via mail, identity thieves can steal these mailers easily and then apply credit in your name. Ensure to opt out of these credit card offers via mail at optoutprescreen.com.
Use Merchants that Accept EMV Cards
It is not widely known that there is plenty of theft happening at gas stations when it comes to magnetic stripe transactions. However, because of the EMV chip cards, theft has significantly decreased already. As described in our last article, “EMV Chip Credit Cards Increases Risk For Non-Chip Card Merchants”, any merchants (not just gas stations) that have not upgraded to the new EMV chip credit card systems, are more likely to see more counterfeit fraud than those that do accept the chip credit cards. By choosing to use your chip card at an EMV reader, you are avoiding the chance of becoming a victim to identity theft.
Review Your Credit Report
Since you have a Federal right to get a free copy of your credit report from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, you should ask to see your report every four months at different times. This will help in identifying identity theft early should it happen.
Another tactic you could do is to place a credit freeze on your credit report to prevent someone from accessing your credit report even if they have your social security number. This will provide much more protection than just waiting on a fraud alert on your credit report.
Use Your Credit Card
The law offers protection to credit cards when illegally used than your debit card. Therefore, put away those debit cards! On top of which, when you use your debit card and it falls victim to fraudulent charges, the bank can freeze your bank account for investigations which is terribly inconvenient.
To learn more about EMV chip cards, watch these videos now!