June 18th, 2014
Between hacked email accounts, security breaches, stolen credit cards and more, it seems like ID theft is becoming a bigger threat each day. The last thing anyone wants to hassle with is reclaiming a stolen identity, which can be a long and frustrating process.
To help ensure your ID remains secure, follow these steps:
- Check. Check your credit reports annually – you might be surprised at what appears. Frequently check bank and credit card statements online to see if there’s been any suspicious activity.
- Shred. If you don’t own a shredder, buy one. The best kind is a cross-cut shredder. It turns documents into confetti instead of long strips that can be reconstructed. Use the shredder to shred all personal printed information (paper and plastic) before putting it in the trash.
- Strengthen. The recent Heartbleed bug underscores the importance of ensuring you have strong passwords that aren’t easily hacked. Make sure you create different passwords for each account as well. Do not use the same one across the board.
- Protect. Be on guard. Do not open emails from anyone you don’t know. Don’t volunteer personal information, either online or on the phone, without verifying the source. Don’t click on unknown links in emails. And don’t send money to someone’s relative stranded in Nigeria.
If you do suspect your identity has been compromised, the Federal Trade Commission can help walk you through the steps to reclaim it. For more information, visit https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/repairing-identity-theft.