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We all hear the horror stories of identity theft. Even when we take extra steps to protect our identities and finances, situations outside our control, such as major retailers being hacked, still happen.
Even identity theft protection companies are no longer able to legally say they can 100% protect you against identity theft. It often seems like there is nothing we’re able to do to protect ourselves today. However, by taking a few simple steps, you’ll greatly reduce your chances of identity theft going unnoticed.
Review Your Credit Report
One of the best ways, even if it’s after the fact, to keep your credit safe is to regularly review your credit report. Your credit report will show you all the financial accounts opened in your name. If you find any errors or have questions on your report, you’ll be able to work with the credit bureaus to correct them.
Get Your FREE Report
Each year, the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) will provide you a copy of your credit report at no cost. This report details all your financial accounts and history; not your credit score. Simply visit: www.AnnualCreditReport.com to request your reports and answer a few identity questions.
Split Up Your Reports
Each of the three major credit bureaus will provide you with a copy of your credit report each year. Instead of requesting all three reports at once, break them up throughout the year to better monitor your identity.
For example, in April request your Experian report, in July request your Equifax report and in October request your TransUnion report.
While your credit report is a great way to monitor your identity and financial accounts, you should still always take extra steps to protect yourself.
- When shopping online, always make sure you are on a secured site (look for the “lock” icon in your browser’s address bar and the URL should be “https” instead of “http”).
- Do not click links on emails when you are unsure who the sender is. Even if you believe you know the sender, check their email address to make sure it is correct.
For example, you may believe you received an email from Netflix, but instead of the email being @netflix.com it is @netfliix.net.
- Never provide personal information via email.
- Don’t write your social security number on checks.
Financial Access Federal Credit Union is Here to Help.
Each individual’s financial situation is unique and readers can talk with a credit union representative at 941-748-7704 ext. 125 when seeking financial advice on the products and services discussed. This article is for educational purposes only; the authors assume no legal responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the contents.
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