Keep An Eye Out – ID Theft Is Serious Business

Did you know that crime rates rise during difficult economic periods? Unfortunately, we are learning this may be true for identity related offences, as well. As the effects of an ID theft can be drastic and reek havoc on your credit rating as well as other aspects of your financial situation, it’s important to stay vigilant. Here are some ways to keep protected:

1. Keep Safe Online.

“Spoof” or “Phishing” emails are common and can be very convincing. Ensure that you don’t inadvertently provide your financial details to those pretending to be from a bank or other financial institution, by accessing your banks website directly and never through an email link. Also, if you receive an email asking (or demanding) for you to update your information, call the financial institution to ensure the request is legitimate.

2. Practice Vigilance When Using An ATM.

Use your body and hands to cover the keypad as you input your pin number. Also, be sure to handle your ATM card in a manner that prevents others from trying to read its numbers. It’s more common than you might think to have this information subtly stolen while visiting an ATM machine.

3. Take advantage of free credit reports.

We’ve all seen the commercials plugging free credit reports, and while I’m not endorsing any particular company, you should regularly monitor your credit. This is important in order to ensure that your identity has not been compromised, as well as it will give you the chance to be aware of, and correct, any errors present on your credit profile.

4. Don’t leave financial statements lying around!

All documents containing financial information should be kept under lock and key. If your house is broken into thieves may enjoy not only the items they are able to handle, but your financial wealth, as well.

Also, consider turning off the paper portion of your bills, and take advantage of online services offered. Almost all companies now allow this, and this step will ensure that your documents are not stolen from your home or mailbox.