At Utah Money Center, we’re proud to assist people who are in brief financial binds and need some quick cash. Through our programs like title loans, signature loans and others, we’re able to get you the funds you need quickly and with limited hassle so you can stay on track with your overall finances.
We’re also here, however, to help clients with general financial literacy and improving their savviness here. One common reason why folks are sometimes looking to our programs for quick cash is due to a recent identity theft issue that hurt their finances – this two-part blog will go over several tips we can offer on avoiding identity theft before you’re ever at risk.
“Check ID” on Cards
When you get a new credit card, you’ll have the option to place your signature on the back side of it in a little box area. This is ostensibly to prove your identity.
However, we recommend avoiding this box – it’s not really as secure as you might think. Instead of using your signature here, we advise writing the words “Check ID” in this space, which will prompt clerks and other people who might be taking your card to verify your signature or card use with a photo ID like a driver’s license. This means that in any case where your card happens to be stolen, the person trying to use it will not be able to.
You should receive monthly statements from your bank, whether these come in the mail or you’ve switched to electronic statements. Many people simply discard these each month unless they have something specific to check, but we recommend you pay a bit closer attention – just check the report against your basic records for the month and ensure everything matches. One quick way to spot identity theft is by noting purchases you did not make.
Avoiding Paper Trail
If you do receive paper statements, or any other form of paper documentation of your finances, be sure to shred or burn these when discarding them. This will stop identity thieves who go diving in dumpsters to find old receipts and card information, which can be the beginning of your identity being compromised.
Keep Your PIN Private
No matter where you are, whether it’s your local ATM or giving bank information over the phone, be careful with your bank PIN and other password information. Cover keypads when out in public, and if needed while on the phone, move to a private location where no one around you can hear your information while you talk.
Limit Info on Checks
Similar to our note above about signatures on cards, we recommend limiting the personal information on your checks as well. Your name is fine, but we recommend avoiding address, driver’s license information or other information. Many people even choose to abbreviate their first name, and we encourage this as well if you’re considering it. This is all to protect you in a case where a check or group of checks is stolen.