After being the victim of identity theft (as I too have also been,) Steve Noviello, award-winning FOX 4 News Journalist, speaks to a former IDENTITY THIEF. Learn how easy you can be targeted.
NOTE: I wanted to post this Wednesday night after I saw the news story however, it was taking too long for the station to upload the footage. Well I’ve got it here so TAKE NOTES!
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REMAIN VIGILANT when it comes to protecting your credit/identity: Here are A FEW ways to protect your information.
- Place a FREEZE on your Social Security number with ALL THREE credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.) Keep in mind however, although identity thieves cannot access your information to apply for credit online for example, NEITHER CAN YOU. PRIOR to applying, you will need to have the freeze lifted (there is a fee involved to do so,) specify the length of time your SS number is to be “unfrozen” and once that time frame has expired, your social security number is “frozen” once again. NOTE: There is a fee involved for EACH freeze lift.
- It’s worth it to use a reputable CREDIT MONITORING service when it comes to protecting your credit. This can be obtained through any of the three credit bureaus. ANY (and I do mean) ANY change on your credit report (credit inquiries, address changes, changes in credit score, information that has negatively impacted your credit score (late pays,) even increases/decreases in credit card usage (just to name a few) will trigger an automatic alert that will be sent to you via email.) It also give you full access to your credit report MONTHLY. Trust me. Being the past victim of identity theft, USING A CREDIT MONITORING SERVICE IS WORTH THE MONEY!
- When using your credit card while shopping in public, keep it in your wallet/pocketbook/purse/pocket until it is time to pay. If someone is standing behind you in the check out line at the store for instance, it’s easy to snap a photo of the front of your credit card, and if the identity thief is lucky, because you’re tussling with it as you wait to complete your transaction, they can get a pic of, or at least see, the three digit code on the back. Credit cards now have microchip technology which is now making it more difficult for identity thieves.
- USE CASH. I’m always leery when it comes to giving my debit card to anyone to swipe, especially at restaurants. I’m always afraid, my info will be compromised. Many banks will place a “security freeze” on your debit card if they notice “suspicious activity” and notify you via text message, email, or you may receive a call from the fraud department. Depending on the severity of the situation, ALL FORMS of communication may be used. Last year, my debit card info was compromised. I’m 99.99999% sure who and how my info was compromised, unfortunately, I’m unable to prove it. The thieves attempted to charge approximately $300 worth of clothing online as well as purchase long distance minutes to make international calls. My bank immediately froze my account, reversed the transactions, and issued another card WHICH WAS MAILED TO MY PO BOX. Problem solved.
- CHECK YOUR MAILBOX DAILY: If your neighborhood does not have community mailboxes, it is imperative you make a daily habit of checking your mail. For some, credit card offers come in the nail on a regular basis. If you’re going to be out of town for a few days, arrange to have your mail held at your local post office or ask a reliable friend or relative to check and pick up any mail left in your box daily.