Nearly one in every 20 Americans became a victim of identity fraud in 2011. That’s more than 11.6 million US adults.1 A computer and less than one hour of your time can help you protect your assets and credit.
LOCK DOWN YOUR CREDIT
Each of the three national credit reporting bureaus have links that instruct you on security freezes and requests to place or lift a security freeze on credit use. You can do so for each family member so that no one has the authority to use your identity to access credit without your knowledge. Visit:
OPT OUT OF CREDIT OFFERS
You may request to opt-out of pre-approved credit offers for up to five years or permanently. Thieves with access to your personal information may fill out these forms and change addresses and telephone numbers, hiding the paper trail as your credit is damaged. Visit the official website: www.OptOutPrescreen.com.
REVIEW FREE CREDIT REPORTS
One free credit report can be obtained each year per individual from each of the national credit-reporting bureaus. Make it a habit to review your credit history every three months with a report from a different agency. Check their links to obtain a report or request it from the following site approved by all three bureaus: www.AnnualCreditReport.com.
Social media and mobile phone users have higher incidence rates of fraud than other consumers.1
Here are some digital safeguards:
- Look for the secure “lock” symbol when performing a transaction online. Verify that the website address is certified and encrypted. You may set your browser settings to automatically retrieve the secure version of sites you visit (“http” to “https”). You may also set up security alerts in your web browser to let you know if the personal or financial information you share could be viewed by unauthorized users.
- Check your privacy settings on your social media profiles. Do not share unnecessary identifying information such as a full date of birth, phone number, or family and pet names.
- Update to the latest operating system on both your computer and mobile phones. Use passwords on home screens. Do not save login information for identifying sites. Change passwords from time-to-time.
- Use online bill payment on secure internet access (not public Wi-fi). Set up email or text fraud alerts with your credit card provider, bank or financial institution.
For more information on identity theft and how to review your personal credit, refer to these websites: