The Ultimate Guide To Avoiding Identity Theft And Fraud
(ReliableNews.org) – The majority of the world has a strong online presence, and while it might make life more convenient, it increases the chance for fraud and identity theft. That’s why it’s important to be cautious when sharing information on the internet; beware of unsolicited links in emails, and keep an eye on unusual credit activity reported by major credit bureaus.
It’s hard to think of a month gone by without hearing news about phishing schemes or data breaches by hackers who steal peoples’ private data. Identity theft rates doubled from 2019 to 2020, and scammers were center stage during 2021. Luckily, there are ways people can protect themselves against fraud and identity theft and steps to take if you suspect foul play.
Avoiding Identity Theft and Fraud
The first thing to remember is a social security number can open many doors, so its protection is vital. Before giving out the number, be sure exactly who is making the request, find out why they need it, where they will store it, and how it will be protected. There’s never a time when a legitimate business will call or email and ask for your social security number. If you receive such a request, contact the company directly and let them know.
Another way to safeguard your identity is a place you might not think about – the mail. Before tossing credit card offers, sensitive or official documents, or bills, be sure to shred them. You may also want to consider using a safety deposit box for incoming mail to protect it from mailbox thieves. Better yet, go paperless.
Check the privacy settings on all social media platforms so you can control the information you share and with whom. In addition, be sure to have antivirus software installed on all computers, tablets, and phones. Use complicated passwords online and change them on a regular basis, taking care not to use the same one across all online sites.
A couple of other things to remember are to never use public Wi-Fi or click on links that look suspicious.
How to Combat Theft and Fraud
Every 12 months, you can check your full credit report for free, so take advantage of the opportunity and scan the reports for anything abnormal. If you find anything suspicious, freeze your credit with Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Check your bank statements and other accounts for unusual activity regularly and contact the bank to dispute any charges that are not yours.
The best way to fight against identity theft and fraud is to prevent it in the first place. So, protect your information, keep an eye on your credit, and report any issues right away.
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