We’ve all heard the horror stories about stolen identities, credit cards and Social Security numbers. The hassle, the expense, the wasted time trying to iron out the mess that identity theft creates. In today’s fast-paced society, we are at a constant exposure for ID theft. We use our credit cards to make purchases on the go and, let’s be honest, we more often lose the receipts than keep up with them. It’s hard to know if that Amazon order was correct or if we actually ate at Taco Bell last Wednesday. Fraudulent charges can have a huge, lasting impact. In addition to getting ID theft protection, check out these tips that can help you protect yourself from ID and credit card fraud.
Check your home mailbox daily, and drop your outgoing mail into a secure postal mail box only. Also, pay attention to your billing cycles; identity thieves may change your billing address, so a late bill may indicate a problem.
Carry only what you need in your wallet or purse and keep an itemized list of those items on paper. In the event of a mishap, you’ll know who should be notified and the phone numbers to call to cancel the accounts.
If your wallet is lost or stolen:
- Call your credit card company immediately and have that particular card cancelled.
- File a police report in the jurisdiction in which your property was stolen. This will help provide proof of immediate action to your credit card providers.
- Call the three national credit-reporting organizations as well as the Social Security Administration so that a fraud alert can be placed on your name and Social Security number. By doing so, any company that checks your credit will know to contact you by phone before approving any credit transactions. The numbers to call are:
- Equifax: (888) 766-0008
- Experian: (888) 397-3742
- TransUnion: (800) 680-7289
- Social Security Administration: (800) 772-1213
Give out on a “need to know” basis only, and only to legitimate businesses. Omit your Social Security number and driver’s license number on your bank checks. If required to use your Social Security number as an account number, request an alternate identifier. Finally, invest in a shredder for destroying documents that contain personal information.
Regularly update your virus protection software or use a firewall program. Before you dispose of your old computer, delete personal information by using a “wipe” utility program to “clean” all the information off your hard drive.
Review your credit history annually
It can take months to learn that someone has applied for credit in your name. To stay up-to-date on your credit history, review your credit record at least once a year.
Also, ask The Braun Agency Team about adding an ID Theft policy to your existing home policy. This coverage is very inexpensive and is rolled into your home premium. Call The Braun Agency Team TODAY and ask about adding Identity Theft to your protection plan! The Braun Agency. We’re on YOUR side. 757-INSURANCE.
The Braun Agency’s mission is to help you get from where you are to where you want to be financially by planning, achieving your plan and protecting your plan from unexpected events. In the process, our goal is to deliver insurance services in a manner that exceeds your expectations. See what The Braun Agency can do for you today. Give us a call at 757-452-4563 to speak with one of the licensed, professional members of our team or request a contact here. The Braun Agency. We’re on YOUR side. 757-INSURANCE.