Financial fraud and identity fraud are one of fasted growing forms of fraud. The first line of defense to protecting yourself begins with you. Here are some steps you can take to help you protect and fight against financial and identity fraud.
1. Review and Protect Your Information - The first line of defense in financial fraud is to periodically check your credit report to ensure all your information is accurate. Remember there are three credit agencies (Equifax, TransUnion, Experian) which all operate independently. Make sure you check your credit report from all three because they may each have different information.
2. Social Security Number Ė Keep your social security number in a safe place with other financial documents. DO NOT carry your social security card in your wallet and remember to shred your old social security statements. It is also recommended to not store your social security number on your computer as hackers may have access to it. Never print your social security number on your checks, credit card or drivers licenses.
3. Destroy Credit Card Mail Offers and Old Financial Documents -If you receive direct or pre-approved solicitations in mail for new credit cards and do not use them make sure you shred or tear them up before throwing them away. In addition, shred all financial papers including cancelled checks, old bank account statements, or any document with your identity.
4. Watch Out For E-mail or Telephone Fraudsters - Never give your personal or financial information out on internet or phone unless you initiated contact. This is especially true with giving out your social security or credit card number. Watch out for e-mails from fraudsters that state they need your account information or credit card number to update your account with your bank or an online company like e-bay. Never give out personal information over e-mail! Many times these e-mails will have links for you to click on that take you to a website that looks authentic. However more times than not, it is a scam to get your personal and financial information.