How safe is your personal information after using your credit card for purchases, logging into online banking accounts, or releasing your Social Security number for loan applications? This is a question that leaves many of us wondering, just where does my information go? While the answer is still pretty unclear, you can reduce your risk of information getting into the wrong hands because preventing identity theft starts with you! To keep your hard earned money safe and protected, we recommend 5 simple precautions to avoid identity theft from happening to you.
Shred. After reading important account information, shred any paper trails of personal information, such as bank statements or receipts.
Minimize. Don't carry each of your credit cards on you at all times. More importantly, do not carry your checkbook, Social Security card, or passport in your purse or wallet. You must evaluate and minimize your risks, if possible, and only carry the essentials.
Limit. Avoid unnecessarily giving out your personal information unless you are absolutely 100% sure you can trust the source.
Authenticate. Before ever submitting personal or financial information online, check for the locked padlock symbol in your browser URL. Look for more safety identifiers, such as: “https://”, as opposed to, “http://" displayed at the web address. Paying close attention to these can help you authenticate a trusted site.
Monitor. Carefully monitor your bank and credit card statements each month to make sure all transactions are accounted for.
If you suspect fraudulent activity, contact your credit card company or bank immediately.