6 Important Ways to Protect Your Financial ID
Posted by Jack Wilkinson on Wed, Jul 19, 2017 @ 08:30 AM
By Sally Perkins, Freelance Writer
In 2016, $16 billion was stolen from Americans through financial identity fraud. Even after the money is recovered, it can take countless hours of work over the course of years to get your credit score back to where it should be. Avoid the headache of rebounding from identity theft by adhering to these simple financial ID security tips:
Enroll in a Reputable Financial Identity Protection Service
You can make protecting your financial info much easier by enlisting the help of a company that offers credit score alerts, tracking, and other services. Shop around for a program that fits your needs. Most of these services charge a small monthly fee to protect your finances. Think of it as an insurance policy against financial fraud.
Do Not Give out Your Social Security Number
For most of us, this is obvious. You should only use or share your social security number when you are certain that it will remain safe. Do not share this number over email or with strangers unless you are absolutely sure they are legitimate. When you visit a website that you trust and are asked for your social security number, make sure the web address begins with “https://”. This lets you know the page is secure.
Regularly Check Your Credit Report
Do you check your credit report often? You can prevent financial fraud from ruining your credit score by staying up to date on your credit report and looking for unfamiliar financial activities. You can check your credit report for free once per year at each of the three major credit bureaus. Visit the Federal Trade Commission website for more info.
Be Careful when Surfing the Web
It is your duty to protect your financial identity by using internet security best practices. This includes using antimalware software to regularly check your computer for malware. Also, if you use public internet connections, be careful about what information you access.
Avoid Phishing Scams
Phishing scams have become incredibly sophisticated. Even if you think you are a seasoned pro, it is easy to fall prey to a phishing email. For instance, an identity thief could use seemingly innocuous information about you to trick you into sharing personal information. To protect yourself, closely examine email addresses to make sure they are coming from a trustworthy source.
Be Wary of Downloading Files
Unless a file is from a person or business you are familiar with and you are certain the file is safe, you should not download it. Files may contain malware that runs in the background of your computer and records everything you do, including your logins and passwords. Antimalware software can also help protect against malware.