Today we’re releasing an Identity Theft Protection Guide which shares steps to help you protect your personal information. The guide explores several options to help you decide what’s right for your situation.
Protecting your sensitive personal information from misuse is a way to safeguard your credit. Unfortunately, hacking and data breaches have exposed the personal information of a majority of Americans. These events are difficult to predict, but there are steps you can take to protect your information both before and after a breach. So how do you decide what options are best for you?
Five ways to guard against identity theft
- A security freeze prevents new creditors from accessing your credit file and others from opening accounts in your name until you lift the freeze. This makes it harder for identity thieves to open new financial accounts in your name.
- A regular review of your bank and credit card statements catches transactions that don’t look right and allows you to alert your bank promptly.
- A review of your credit reports will help you find possible mistakes. You can either check once a year or, since there are 3 major credit reporting agencies, check one report every 4 months. You can then dispute the incorrect information with the credit reporting agency.
- A fraud alert adds an extra layer of protection to your credit report. Placing a fraud alert is highly recommended if you have been a victim of identity theft.
- Identity and credit monitoring services scan your credit reports for you and alert you when a change occurs.
Help spread the word with our identity theft placemat
Another way to help guard against identity theft is to discuss the topic with friends, family, and neighbors. We’re also releasing a new educational placemat on identity theft for meal sites, senior centers, and other places older adults gather for meals. The placemat is part of a series of fraud and scam prevention placemats and includes a crossword game to encourage conversation. These free placemats are a great way to share information at mealtime in groups of all sizes. Our Identity Theft Protection Guide can be used with the placemat if anyone gets stumped on a word.