Most of us realize the importance of preventing identity fraud. If your identity is stolen, despite the fact there are consumer protections in place, many victims due suffer some financial loss and it can take years of frustration to clean up credit that is damaged in the process.
There have unfortunately been a large number of consumers who have been ripped off by companies who appear to be legitimate or seem to be looking after their best interests. They might receive an email that looks like it’s coming from a trusted source such as a bank or utility company tricking consumers into giving out their personal information. Everyone should become familiar with the most important steps in preventing identity fraud.
Important steps in preventing identity fraud
Just a few of the crucial steps all consumers should take in preventing identity fraud include:
- Never divulging your personal or financial information to anyone who requests it via email. If you believe it is coming from a trusted source, call the company and do not respond directly to the email.
- Protect your social security number, credit card and debit numbers, your PIN numbers, passwords and all other personal information.
- Be sure and create strong passwords, and change them frequently. The best passwords contain capital and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.
- Protect all of your incoming and outgoing mail, and shred any of your financial trash.
- Always keep a close eye on your bank account statements, credit card bills and your credit record to spot fraudulent activity quickly.
Credit Card Protection
While it’s crucial to be prudent about protecting your identification and financial information, unfortunately there are also companies who will take advantage of consumers who are worried about having their identity stolen, and potentially thousands of dollars in the process.
While one would think that a company offering credit card protection would be concerned about a consumer’s privacy and financial well-being, there are more than a few who are scam artists out to take advantage of those who are wary.
Recently, Capital One Financial Corporation was forced to pay $210 million to settle allegations that they used call-center contractors who pressured consumers into buying credit protection products, and both the Better Business Bureau and Federal Trade Commission has advised that some credit protection offers are not worth the money.
Consumers who prepare themselves by doing their due diligence before accepting such offers can avoid being ripped off. Arm yourself with knowledge and know your rights as a consumer, and you can greatly lessen your chances of identity fraud as well as being ripped off by unnecessary services.
Guest post by Lisa Mason