4 Steps to Protect You from Identity Theft
You pay your bills on time. You budget. You stay within your means. You plan for the future.
However, while enjoying a cup of coffee on a Saturday morning and checking out your credit card statement, you see a $1,799 charge for a new 8k TV. You just purchased a new TV last year. It’s currently on right now in the background. You show the charge to your wife, and it’s no surprise when she says she doesn’t know anything about it.
So who bought it? Your digital identity did.
Maybe you’ve had your identity stolen before or maybe someone you care about has gone through it already. Identity theft cases hit a new single-year high in 2021, surpassing 5.8 million incidents reported. In total, identity fraud cases accounted for more than $6.1 billion in losses.
But the good news is, there are simple things you can do—right now—to help prevent identity theft from happening to your family.
Monitor Your Account Online
The simplest way to keep an eye on your finances is to set up online banking. And now you can even create a new Community Bank account online for safe, secure banking—without the sensitive paperwork. Plus, with a mobile banking app like ours at Community Bank for iPhone or Android devices, you can manage your money while tracking your account activity, and set up alerts designed to detect any suspicious purchases.
Carry Fewer Cards
Just as you reduce your amount of paper documents, reduce your number of physical cards by using a mobile wallet. Mobile payment solutions add layers of protection to your information, and are much easier to set up than you might think.
Freeze Your Credit
It’s an extra hoop for you but an extra layer of protection against scammers. Simply contact each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) and put a freeze on access to your accounts. It’s free to do and you can unfreeze any time you need to access a credit report. This ensures no one accesses your credit reports but you.
Shred Paper Documents
Documents with your financial information on them can’t be just thrown away. Identify thieves dig for these documents to learn account numbers, addresses, and phone numbers hoping to parlay that info into access. If you’ve gone paperless, this won’t apply as much. But you should still make shredding documents a part of your routine when disposing of any important documents.
These steps amount to mere minutes of work on your end to help prevent identity theft, and they fit with who you are—someone who budgets and plans for the future. Now, back to that morning cup of joe and your regularly scheduled programming on the TV that’s actually yours!