4 Ways to Reduce Your Vulnerability to Identity Theft

iStock_000012554417XSmallThe holiday season is upon us, and with the holidays comes a spike in identity theft. Are you taking the necessary precautions to minimize your risk? Here are some questions and tips to make sure you protect yourself.

Q1. Do you check your credit report every four months? If not, there could be fraudulent accounts on your report that you’re unaware of.

T1. Get your free credit report every four months and dispute any suspicious activity! Use the guideline below:

  • October – Equifax
  • February – TransUnion
  • June – Experian

Q2. Do you shred all incoming junk mail and outgoing garbage that includes your name, address and any other identifying information about you? If not, identity thieves could be collecting your mail and gathering information on you.

T2. Consider getting a Cross Cut shredder and a secured mailbox that only opens with a key. You can purchase one at your local home improvement store.

Q3. Do you reconcile your bank and credit accounts monthly? If not, you aren’t going to catch identity theft as quickly as you could!

T3. Reconcile your account statements every month. This will ensure you’re the only one spending your money. Catching fraud early can help you catch the perpetrator and stop the theft before you’re put in a really tight spot. Not sure how to do so? Click here to learn how to reconcile your bank statement.

Q4. Do you carry your Social Security card in your wallet? If so, you’re certainly at risk! Identity thieves only need three or four pieces of information to get going. A social security number with your name and date of birth or address can go a long way for a thief.

T4. Keep your Social Security card somewhere safe and locked rather than in your wallet. This way you’re not handing someone who steals your wallet everything he or she might need to steal your identity.

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