How to Prevent Identity Theft

Today’s post comes from our friend Michael, a business owner who does catering in Champaign, Illinois (quite a fancy place, I hear). But like the rest of us, he’s a part-time cybercrime enthusiast. He’s kindly provided five tips for how to prevent identity theft, just as a reminder for all of us.

Simple Tasks Can Lead to Complicated Problems

Tasks as simple as buying gas or using an ATM can put you at risk for identity theft. Criminals are smarter than ever, staying current with new technologies and continuously finding new ways to commit crimes. So, here are five tips to help you prevent identity theft and avoid becoming a victim.

5. Look out for skimmers. These virtually undetectable devices are commonly placed on credit card machines, at gas pumps and on ATMs. They’re disguised as part of the machine and are positioned right over the slot where you insert our credit or debit card. If you’re using ATMs, check to see if the card slot looks in any way suspicious. Alternatively, go into stores and get cash back at the register.

4. Change usernames and passwords often. Frequently change your usernames and passwords to websites that contain your personal information such as online banking sites.

3. Don’t respond to emails, text or phone calls with personal information. This is called “phishing” as we’ve posted previously about. Not even your credit card company will ask for your full social security number.

2: Check your online account balance and transactions often. Making this a habit will help you catch theft before it gets really ugly.

1. Obtain identity theft protection. Without insurance coverage, recovery is a long tedious process and it can take years to clear your name.

Although these tips will better protect you, insurance companies identity theft coverage includes protection for your family. But review coverage carefully -different companies have different levels of coverage. Most insurance companies identity theft protection is around $25-30 per year and include monitoring services. Many of their systems work 24/7 to let you know of any unusual activity, stopping criminals in their tracks.

To learn more, visit https://www.identitytheft.gov/.

– M

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