As more and more of our lives move online, our personal information may become vulnerable. Identity theft is America’s fastest growing crime. How can you protect yourself and your financial information?

  1. Safeguard your personal information.
  • Be safe on Social Media.
  • Be careful when shopping online.
  • Use complex passwords.
  • Lock down your home computer.
  • Protect your smartphone.
  1. Look out for suspicious activity.
    • Watch for signs that someone is misusing your accounts. This can include missing bills, credit cards you weren’t expecting, or even calls about purchases you didn’t make.
    • Keep an eye on spending. Look over credit card, bank and billing statements regularly for any suspicious charges.
    • Look at your credit report at least once a year. By law, the three major credit-reporting agencies must provide a free credit report every year. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com to request yours.

If the worst-case scenario happens and your identity is stolen:

  • File a police report.
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
  • Visit IdentityTheft.gov to inform the government.
  • Call one of the major credit agencies and have them freeze your credit report.
  • Close all affected accounts.
  • Contact companies to dispute all fraudulent charges.

Identity theft is a serious problem. But you may be able to prevent it from happening to you. Be aware and proactive when it comes to protecting your finances and your identity.

Source: ethics.net