No one likes to find out that their credit information has been stolen or that there has been money taken from their account. The sad truth is that there are many people out there who steal others credit information every day in an attempt to use your hard earned money illegally. If this is such a wide spread problem then why aren’t there more companies striving to protect this fraud from happening? Well, there are plenty of them actually, but the real way to protect your financial information starts with YOU! While banks and protection services do their best to protect your account information, criminals are always finding new ways to steal what is yours! When it comes to protecting your credit there are several important steps to take every day. One starting point is to make sure your devices and online accounts are secure. Mobile devices have really changed the way we live and the way businesses work in this world, but it does come with some drawbacks to safety. Password protecting your devices and utilizing “auto-lock” functions are essential to keep others out of your personal information. Installment of anti-virus software as well will help better protect your assets. And when it comes to choosing a password, something as simple as 12345 will surely lead to easy access for criminals. Choose a password that uses upper and lower case letters with various symbols and numbers. For example, if my password were to be WiseLoan, a stronger password using the same idea could be w1$El0aN. Going the extra step to protect your information is always worth it in the long run.
Remember yesterday when you threw your new credit card information in the trash and didn’t think twice about it? And no, don’t worry I don’t have a hidden camera anywhere, but little things like that open yourself to more chances of fraud. Always make sure to shred documents that contain personal information! If criminals wanted to sort through your trash and find pieces of information from different forms, bank statement, bills, or receipts, they could easily piece together enough information to create a fraudulent account in your name. If you don’t own a shredder or can’t necessarily afford one, just cut up or tear all important documents multiple times before disposing of them.
“Hello loyal customer! It has been a pleasure serving you, and in order to better serve you in the future we would like to update your current information in our system! Please provide below with your current address, phone number, account number, and social security number so our new systems can process your information faster than ever before!” “Uh oh,” you say. “I better respond so they can update my information….” NO! More than likely emails that come through directly asking for secure information such as this are phishing emails! Which mean they are fake and run by fraudulent groups trying to steal your identity. Never provide vital information, especially your social security number, through email or to unknown requests. Make sure you are 100% aware that the company or person you are giving your information to is legitimate and will take care of your information as if it were their child.
In the end, taking all the steps necessary while checking your credit and financial accounts regularly will help limit the chances of fraud against you. You should be checking your accounts every day to see if there are any suspicious charges or transactions that you are unaware of. Banks have been doing a good job at catching suspicious activity on an account, but they can’t catch everything. The bottom line is that your credit score is very important when it comes to being approved for loans and determining how much you will pay to borrow. So remember, it starts with YOU! Don’t be careless with your credit information and always Stay Wise!