Is Your Identity Safe?: 5 Ways to Prevent Identity Theft

14 million people were victims of identity theft last year. Identity theft is a serious crime and one not to take lightly. Identity theft leaves you scrambling and scared because someone has your personal information and access to your finances.

Thankfully, there are ways to prevent identity theft and keep your personal information, personal.

Here are some tips to help you avoid identity theft.

1. Watch Your Accounts

One out of every eight Americans is unaware of their credit score and do not look at their credit reports.

Watching your finance accounts, everything from credit reports to bank accounts can stop a fraudulent charge before it becomes any worse. While you don’t need to hover over your accounts constantly, it’s a good idea to check in with them on occasion to make sure everything is normal.

2. Credit Monitoring

If you don’t have the time to be able to check your accounts on a regular basis, or you’ve already been a victim of identity theft, it might be a good idea to look into credit monitoring.

Credit monitoring is when you pay a company to monitor your credit for you. They watch your report for any suspicious activity and alert you if there are any changes.

There is a fee associated with credit monitoring, so visiting the FAQ page will help you better understand how it works.

3. Protect Your Information

One way that hackers get your information is when you’re not careful about keeping it secretive, whether online or physically by taking social security numbers, credit cards or bank account information. They can also look at papers that you throw away that may contain personal information.

Always keep your cards or anything with persona information on it with you. If you no longer need paperwork like bank or loan statements or expired credit cards, shred them. Always log out of your accounts when you’re making purchases online or viewing your accounts online.

4. Freeze Your Accounts

When your credit reports are active this is a prime opportunity for hackers to gather your information and open accounts. Freezing your credit discourages people from looking at your account and getting your information so they can open an account in your name. You can always unfreeze if you need to.

To freeze your account, you’ll need to contact all three credit bureaus and they’ll walk you through the process.

5. Passwords

While paying your accounts online is generally safe, if your password is too easy, hackers can enter your account with no problems. With all the personal information that’s posted online and on social media, it won’t take much for someone to hack your account.

Use passwords that are challenging and unique void of any personal information. Never reuse a password and change it frequently to avoid identity theft.

Prevent Identity Theft

Identity theft is a huge problem and it can take many years to clean up the mess. Take these steps to prevent identity theft and protect all your information.

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