10 Ways to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

 In Financial Planning

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft is when someone pretends to be you with the intent to access your bank accounts, credit cards, medical care, and other assets. According to the US Federal Trade Commission, more than 2.1 million fraud reports were filed in 20201. Out of these cases, over 34% of victims reported financial loss. At The Resource Center, we want to keep you protected from risks that you may face online or in your everyday life. We partner with Identity IQ, who’s devoted to helping people avoid the dangers of identity theft–including (but not limited to) the activities listed below. 

What Can People do with Your Personal Information?

  •         Open new credit cards in your name
  •         Make fraudulent purchases
  •         Clone your ATM or debit card
  •         Access your email, social media accounts, and banking information
  •         Obtain legal identification associated with your name (example: driver’s license)
  •         Use your identity when questioned by police or law enforcement

10 Ways to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

1. Install Antivirus Software

Antivirus software is designed to detect and block suspicious activity on your computer or devices. When you install antivirus software, it will help minimize exposure to risky websites or emails. Most services also provide a team of experts whom you can contact with questions about unusual activity.

2. Destroy Sensitive Records

Don’t throw away documents with personal information, like bank statements or pre-approved credit card applications. A cross-shredder is a great idea for protecting your information, and is also easy to use. Other ideas could be burning the material or using a marker to black out details that you wouldn’t want someone to find.

3. Review Credit Card Statements

When you receive your credit card statements, review your transactions to ensure all purchases were authorized by the cardholder. Not all theft is large, some transactions are small and infrequent so they won’t draw attention.

4. Freeze Your Credit

If you don’t plan to apply for a loan or a new line of credit, keeping your credit frozen will prevent other people from opening new accounts under your name.

5. Routinely Check Your Credit

Taking action in the early stages can help prevent further loss of information and security. The sooner you notice suspicious activity, the sooner you can take action against it.

6. Collect Mail Daily

One of the easiest ways for people to get your information is by stealing mail. Be sure to collect your mail daily–especially if you receive credit card applications that other people could fill out.

7. Shop Mindfully

Whether you’re shopping online or in an independently-owned store, try to choose stores that you’re familiar with or stores that have a lot of customer reviews. This helps protect you from internet fraud.

8. Pick Strong Passwords

Even if you’re not shopping online, keep all of your digital records secure with a strong password. You can make passwords stronger by using an assortment of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters. Passwords are also stronger when you use a variety of options that don’t include personal information that can be easily guessed.

9. Don’t Leave Credit Cards in Sight

When you’re paying for goods and services, minimize card exposure so bystanders don’t have the opportunity to write down or photograph your card numbers. This is also a proactive measure you can use with your driver’s license or other identification.

10. Invest in Identity Theft Insurance

Even with the most cautious habits, identity theft can be subtle. Sometimes it can take years before you realize that damage has been done. Not only can insurance help prevent identity theft, but it could also alert you to activity that has already been done without detection.

Is Identity Theft Protection Worth the Investment?

Recovering from identity theft is not only a complicated and time-consuming process, but it can also be costly. Expenses can incur stolen wages, unauthorized credit transactions, and legal fees. Finding the right insurance for your needs is a crucial first step in protecting yourself and your family.

Before you get started, we recommend taking a look at our partner Identity IQ. They offer amazing benefits that include everything from preventative action to post-theft recovery. 

Insurance Coverage with Identity IQ

  •         Up to $1 million in stolen wages or funds
  •         Expenses for lawyers and loss experts
  •         Compensation for personal expenses
  •         US-based services (no outsourcing)
  •         Lost wallet assistance

Identity IQ constantly monitors your accounts and will alert you immediately if they detect suspicious activity. To learn more about Identity IQ, take a look at their current plans. They have a variety of protection levels to ensure you get the plan that’s right for you and your family.

10 Ways to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

1 New Data Shows FTC Received 2.2 Million Fraud Reports from Consumers in 2020 (2021, February 4). In Federal Trade Commission. Retrieved February 8, 2022, from

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2021/02/new-data-shows-ftc-received-2-2-million-fraud-reports-consumers

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