Easy Ways to Protect Your Identity

Last month, I got a letter from the U.S. government which said basically, “We’re sorry but there was a data breach. This means someone may have gotten your personal information from our database and may use it to do evil things against you. Whoops. We’re sorry.”

I guess it’s not all bad. They did offer free credit monitoring just in case someone does use my information for evil. Although I had to sign up for it, which was a pain. But the dashboard is good. It’s pretty interesting peeking into my financial history whenever I like.

A breach of a government database was out of my control. But there are a lot of other things we can all do to help stay a few steps ahead of the criminals. I think of identity fraud much like auto theft. You don’t have to make your car bullet proof, you just have to make it harder to get into than the next guy’s car. It sounds bad but that’s how the system works. Can you imagine when the first car company got door locks? Everyone else had to scramble to get locks on their cars.

padlock-597495_640

Enter Your Card Information at as Few Places as Possible

When you pay with a credit card, you are exposing yourself to a terminal which could be compromised. A hacker could have compromised that store’s card reader and be taking your money. By limiting the places you use your credit cards, that’s exposing yourself to less risk. It’s kind of like eating red meat. It won’t kill you if you eat it every few days. But if you eat it at every meal, you’ll probably be visiting the doctor quite a bit in your future.

Get Ready to Cancel Your Cards ASAP if They Are Stolen

Do you think your card is stolen? Cancel it right away! Get on your phone and search for the number of your credit card companies ‘lost or stolen’ department. It should appear right away in Google. If you find your wallet, you can always get your cards back without a problem. Discover card, for instance, allows you to easily ‘freeze’ your credit card. This deems it useless until it is unfrozen. You can do it easily through the Discover card app.

NEVER Give out Your Information to a Friend/Family Member

If a friend or family member abuses your credit card – that’s fraud and can be seem as identity theft. It’s best to never let anyone else use your card. Even if it’s your child, consider getting them their own card to use. It’ll teach them financial responsibility. It also won’t affect your credit score.

Never Leave a Paper Trail

Forget about paper. It is the 21st century after all. Paper is too easy to lose. And it’s a hassle to shred – which is what you should always do with your paper statements. This also makes it easy for a friend or family member to get your information. A computer locks after a certain period of time. Paper can be read by anyone at any time.

Only Do Business on HTTPS Websites

The ‘S’ in ‘HTTPS’ stands for secure. This is what every reputable site will have if they are a seller of anything. Looks for the ‘S’ in your browser.

Monitor Your Credit Reports

Watch to see if there’s any suspicious activity. I also like to do this because it’s fun. It’s like seeing how well you’re doing at something. Is your credit score clean? Yay! Is it messy? Boo! Time to fix it.

Review Your Credit Card Statements Closely

Credit reports don’t show individual transactions. For that, analyze your credit card statements.

Most credit card companies are good at letting you know about any suspicious card activity. My Discover card actually texts me any time I use the card. I love knowing exactly what’s going on!

Join our newsletter

If you like Critical Financial, subscribe and get our latest content via email.

Powered by ConvertKit

Share this post:

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment

*

May the 4th Be with You: Star Wars Swag on Amazon

May the 4th Be With You: Star Wars Day Swag

It began as the punniest holiday ever but quickly grew into an earnest (if somewhat random) celebration of the long-running (and still... more →
People count the money to buy a house in future success.

Avoiding Mortgage Scams: Don’t Fall for Unreasonable Promises

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. That’s sound advice for almost all aspects of life, including the search for... more →
Eat for free for a whole month via the meal kit companies discounts for new customers.

How To Get a Month of Free Food: 9 Meal Kit Companies Offering Discounts to New Customers

Play your cards right and you might be able to line up a month’s worth of free meals if you were to try out all nine of the meal... more →
Generate extra cashflow -- here are 97 ways.

96 Awesome Ways to Generate Extra Cashflow

Who doesn’t want more money nowadays? We’ve got you covered on that front. Here comes a long list of different ideas on... more →
Valentine's Day gifts that won't destroy your budget

Valentine’s Day Crafts Are Romantic Rescue from Crazy Inflation

Fall for the hype this week and you’re out an average of $143.56 for Valentine’s Day. Crafts and other do-it-yourself tactics... more →

Ultimate Guide to Bitcoin — FREE Ebook!

Have we got something for you: a free ebook about bitcoin! more →
Get a flu vaccine.

Why You Need To Get a Flu Vaccine Right Now

Flu vaccines aren’t just for the elderly  anymore. Here are 25 reasons you should go get vaccinated. more →
Financially successful

Acquire the Trait All Financially Successful People Have

Financially successful people tend to all have a lot of self-discipline. Improving your discipline in one area of your life often spills... more →

What’s the Best Free Recipe App?

The Apple Store and Google Play together offer more digital cookbooks than you probably have room for on your mobile device. So which... more →
New tax law might slow down housing market.

What Will the New Tax Law Do to the Housing Market?

The new tax law will have a profound impact on the housing market, although in ways that go beyond the deductibility of mortgage interest... more →

4 in 5 Households Will Get a Tax Cut in 2018

Four out of five U.S. households will get a tax cut as a result of the legislation that President Donald Trump signed into law today. more →
Will bitcoin reach $100,000?

When Will Bitcoin Reach $100,000?

Bitcoin has accelerated its pace of appreciation in recent months, and if the current levels between $15,000 and $19,000 make you itch... more →
The Dow Jones topped 24,000 -- now what?

The Dow Jones Crossed the 24,000 Threshold. Now What?

Stocks appear to be increasing in volatility, yet the markets closed on Monday, December 4 with the Dow Jones Industrial Average is... more →
Peer mortgage

Should You Get a Peer-to-Peer Mortgage?

If you can’t get approved for a home loan from a bank, you might want to look into applying for a peer-to-peer mortgage. more →
Investment gifting is awesome.

4 Things To Know Before You Donate an Investment

While donations of any kind are appreciated, gifting investments benefits both the giver and the receiver. Here are four key things... more →
Are you wondering: What's the Relationship Between the Stock Market and Federal Debt?

What’s the Relationship Between the Stock Market and Federal Debt?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if gains in the stock market could actually reduce U.S. government indebtedness? If that were true,... more →
structured settlement company,high interest debt

How To Use A Structured Settlement Company To Eliminate High Interest Debt

Dealing with large amounts of high interest debt can be a distressing experience, especially if you have limited means for making additional... more →