Is Your Identity Protected?

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Neighbors of ours were recently alerted that someone was trying to withdraw $2,500 cash against their credit card, but the individuals did not have proper identification. After a little research, the credit card company told them that there was a call made from our neighbor’s landline requesting a new credit card. My neighbors never made a call. Authorities later told them that it is a scam they have seen, and it assumed that scammers are using some computer device to tap into landlines to request new cards. After the request, the scammers likely secured the card directly from my neighbor’s mailbox.

This is only one example, and it is alarming how many scams exist. Recently, I was told that it is not a matter of if our identity will be compromised, but it is a matter of when. While we cannot foresee all security breaches or all the possible schemes designed to steal our money, there are things we can do to protect it.

Freeze Your Credit: This one thing is helpful to prevent someone from opening new credit under your name. A new law recently made freezing or unfreezing an individual’s credit free to consumers. Credit can be thawed or unfrozen when it is needed with the use of a username and passcode. Some companies may instead try to sell credit monitoring, but freezing credit is the best solution and there is no cost. For us, it has the added benefit preventing us from opening a credit card at every store that tries to lure us in with their rewards programs.

Also added with the new law, children under the age of 18 can have their credit frozen as well. It is common for individuals of 18-20 apply for some sort of credit to find a surprise that their credit has been used for years and has been ruined by someone else.

Check credit reports: Monitoring your own credit is important. There are three credit bureaus and you have one report per year per bureau. As suggested by others, place a reminder on your calendar every three to four months to check a report. Doing this on a cycle helps keep an eye out for anything suspicious.

Monitor accounts/cards: It is important to know what you are spending and where you are spending it. It can seem difficult with how busy life is, but routine monitoring of accounts can stop fraud early and prevent a lot of headache. We have had our credit cards compromised at least three times in the last 10 years. The credit card company either alerted us to suspicious activity or we noticed purchases that we had not made ourselves. Thankfully, the amounts never exceeded $600 and the credit card company took care of it with no loss to us.

 

Writer Bio: Summer Bolte

I spend most of my time and days with my three kids, husband and dog. My kids frequently play near me as I garden, cook, DIY and volunteer. My most unusual paying job has to be feeding fruit flies in a research lab, and my most fulfilling job was being an oncology nurse for seven years.

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