Identity theft is an unfortunate reality of this digital world. Today, hackers use the latest technology to hack financial information of innocent people and throw them into a pool of debt.
Unfortunately, many people don’t take any step to protect themselves from identity theft. They are more dependent on the financial institutions for thwarting identity theft. Fraudsters are too happy with this attitude of the consumers because it helps to make their task easier.
If you don’t wish to be a victim of identity theft, then use these hacks to protect yourself from the onslaughts of the fraudsters.
Too many consumers have already lost money due to identity theft, and are in massive debt problems. Try not to be one amongst them because bad debts bring misfortune in your life.
4 Hacks to Protect Yourself Identity Theft
1. Set Strong Passwords and Change Them Periodically
With the inception of the digital world, it has become easier for hackers to target you. Set strong and complex passwords so that hackers can’t access your online bank accounts easily. Your password should be a combination of letters, numbers, symbols, special characters, etc.
Change your password every month, and please don’t disclose it to your boyfriend/girlfriend also. Keep your love life and financial life separate. Do online banking transactions only at your home. Check if your email spam filter is working to keep phishers at bay.
Received an email from your bank recently? Have they asked you to disclose your personal information in the email? Contact the bank immediately and ask them if they have sent the email.
2. Be Careful When You’re Choosing a Debt Relief Company
Be careful when you’re in debt. You’re in an extremely vulnerable position. One wrong step can push you toward more debt problems.
Do extensive research before enrolling for a debt consolidation program. Check the website of the debt consolidation company and find out if there are proper contact details. Look at the footer section of the website before enrolling in the program. In most cases, you’ll find all the vital information there.
3. Check your Credit Reports and Score Periodically
Monitor your credit reports periodically. No excuses will be tolerated in this case. View your credit report and see if there is any suspicious activity.
Check if there is an account that you have not opened. Find out if your credit balance has been reported correctly. If you notice something suspicious, then inform the bank immediately. Close a credit card account you haven’t opened.
4. Use your Smartphone to be Alert
Constant vigilance can help you avoid financial fraud. Like most people, if you’re busy with work, then it makes sense to use your smartphone as a weapon to fight with fraudsters.
Download apps linked to your bank so that you can monitor your financial transactions 24*7. Sign-up for text and e-mail alerts so that banks can intimate you whenever they see something fishy.
Recently, my cousin sister got an email alert at midnight. Fortunately, she was reading an ebook on her smartphone, so she saw the email alert immediately.
The e-mail notified her that someone has debited $4000 from her checking account. She called the bank immediately and explained the whole situation. The bank immediately blocked her account to stop further fraudulent activities. They also reimbursed $4000 within a few hours.
The e-mail alert saved her $4000. If you want to protect your financial life, then you should also sign-up for email notifications. Also, keep your bank and credit card companies updated about your latest mailing address and phone numbers.
Hacks to identify the signs of identity theft
You can save thousands by identifying the early signs of financial fraud. It will save a lot of time, money and effort. The sooner you recognize the signs, the better. You can take prompt action against the identity-thieves and save your financial life.
Here are a few hacks that can potentially help you recognize the signs of identity theft.
- You’re not receiving credit card bills: If you aren’t receiving credit card statements in the last few months, then it’s a red alert. Contact credit card companies and inform them that you aren’t receiving statements. Sometimes, fraudsters reroute your mail to another address just by submitting the change of address forms.
- Your loan application is rejected: Fraudulent accounts can stop you from getting qualified for credit cards and loans especially when they have a bad payment history. If your credit card application has been rejected unexpectedly, then It’s a warning sign. In most cases, lenders give the reasons for rejection. Read the reasons for the rejection and check your credit report to find out if you have been a victim of identity theft.
- You receive collection calls for unknown debts: Collection calls for unknown debts are one of the first signs of identity theft. When you receive debt collection calls for unknown debts, it means accounts have been opened in your name long back. Fraudsters have opened accounts in your name, used them as per their wish, didn’t pay a penny for them, and left all the bills in your name.
If you have not opened the account, then inform the collection agency that it’s not yours. Place a fraud alert on your credit report to stop unauthorized accounts in the future.
Like Google, hackers are also watching you. They are watching your every move. So be careful. Take steps to safeguard yourself against identity theft and financial fraud.
Change your passwords and check your credit reports periodically. Shred your old financial documents before throwing them into the trash and don’t reveal important details on Facebook.
A few important details like birth date and email address are enough to open an account in your name. So be careful.
Author Bio: Stacy B Miller is content writer and editor at Oak View Law Group who has written plenty of articles exploring complex financial topics. You can connect with her at Twitter to follow her recent activities in web writing.