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Protecting Your Identity and Financial Well-Being from Theft

May 14, 2015

Keeping thieves out of your finances and preventing them from stealing your identity is something you have to worry about these days no matter who you are or what level of income you have. Identity theft continues to soar in spite of the measures that legislation, banks and credit card companies take to prevent such thefts from occurring. To protect our identities and financial interests, we must take precautions to safeguard them. Use the following tips to keep your identity and finances safe from identity thieves.

Tend Your Mailbox and Mail

One way that thieves steal identities is by hijacking your email. Thieves look for credit card offers to steal and use for themselves--but in your name. How many such offers do you receive in your mailbox each month? Instead of throwing these directly in your trash, take time to shred them so that thieves can't comb through your garbage and access sensitive information. In fact, you should shred all documents that contain any personal information like your banking information or social security number.

Use Credit and Bank Cards with Caution

While our credit and debit cards are extremely convenient, they can also be easily copied by identity thieves. You may want to avoid using cards that have radio frequency identification, which are easy for thieves to steal using scanners of their own to obtain the card's information. In addition, monitor your bank and credit card statements regularly. This is one of the best ways to spot unauthorized use of your cards.

Be Careful Shopping Online

Many people enjoy the convenience of shopping online, but it's important to shop at venues that secure your credit card information. You'll want to make sure that you patronize online stores that have "https" in their address bar, which provides greater security regarding your transaction than the typical "http." Stick to trusted venues when shopping online. You might also want to go through a reputable third-party vendor like Paypal to make your transaction payments.

Fraud Alerts

Many people are using credit cards and debit cards that are outfitted with advanced fraud alerts. This is a safeguard that many banks are using to protect their clients. Often, the bank's fraud system will spot a potentially fraudulent transaction long before you might even suspect there's a problem. The bank can immediately deny the transaction and freeze the card before issuing you a new one. Talk to your bank or credit card company about its built-in fraud protections and how they can keep your financial identity safe.

Monitor Credit Report

Finally, take time to periodically monitor your credit report to make sure nothing is amiss. If you find that there is a problem, you can put a security freeze on your credit to make sure no one can use your identity to secure a credit card in your name to use for fraudulent purposes.

Keep these important tips in mind to protect your identity and financial well-being. A little bit of extra caution goes a long way to keeping thieves out of your personal business.