In part one of this two-part blog, we went over some basic areas for avoiding the risks of identity theft. This kind of unsavory behavior continues to rise each year in modern times, and it can present major financial and personal hardship if you don’t protect yourself.
At Utah Money Center, we can provide title loans, signature loans and other forms of temporary financial assistance for those harmed by past identity theft – or those requiring a bit of help for a variety of other reasons. Here are some additional protection areas we can recommend for avoiding identity theft to begin with, however.
Check Credit Report
In previous decades, it would have cost you money and potentially lowered your score to check your credit report. Today, though, more recent laws allow everyone to view their credit report at least once a year for free and with no penalty.
You should be taking advantage of this ability for several reasons, one of which is to help avoid identity theft. Thoroughly go over your yearly credit report to check for accuracy, plus to ensure no charges come up that aren’t connected to you. Look for any suspicious behavior or evidence that your identity may have been compromised.
If you’re still paying bills using direct mail formats rather than using online resources or automated payments, we have one important suggestion for you to avoid identity theft: Don’t mail these kinds of bills directly out of your own mailbox.
Unfortunately, one of the simplest forms of identity theft remains thieves who raid mailboxes and gain personal information this way. If you must mail bills or any sensitive financial information at all, do so at the post office or in a certified drop box that you know is secure.
Another vital element to protecting your identity is your social security number, which you should keep safe at all times. For starters, do not carry this card on you on a daily basis – keep it in a file at home or even in a safety-deposit box at a bank. You should have this number memorized if you ever need to use it.
In addition, never use your SSN or any part of it as a password, username or any other online identifier. Never give it out over the phone or via email.
On top of checking your own credit score, you can utilize one of many services that helps track things here for you year-round. Many banks and other financial institutions include credit and fraud monitoring as parts of certain accounts or programs, and there are many standalone services here as well if yours does not.
For more on protecting yourself from identity theft, or to learn about any of our signature loans, title loans or other assistance services, speak to the staff at Utah Money Center today.