Nothing can devastate a good credit score like identity theft. It’s a common crime where a criminal will steal personal information through various means and apply for credit in your name. So, are there ways to prevent identity theft?
Yes, there is! Our Binbrook auto loan team shares some actionable advice on how to prevent identity theft.
Shred your paperwork
When you’re having a clear out, shred or burn any official paperwork or anything that has your name, address, social security or birth date on them.
Dumpster diving and checking through trash are two very common ways thieves get the information to steal your identity. Shredding or burning paperwork is a simple but very effective way to avoid that.
Oversharing is not caring
Oversharing is not only a faux pas but can actually be dangerous. People can say they are anyone online and you never truly know who you’re talking to.
Don’t avoid interacting online, just be aware of who you’re talking to and that they ay not actually be who they say they are.
Make friends, be sociable and enjoy the internet. Just keep identifiable information to yourself as much as possible.
Be careful with email
Delete any email if you don’t know the sender and never click on a link within emails.
Even if you know the sender, don’t use links. Perform a web search for the linked page or resource instead.
To illustrate our point, the next time you receive a spam email, hover your cursor over a link within it. You will probably notice that the actual link doesn’t go where the text you read says it does!
Learn to love two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication, 2FA, is when you have to add an SMS code or use an authenticator app as well as your username and password. While they are an extra step to log into an account, they are also a very effective protection.
Even if a scammer steals your username and password, without access to your phone or authenticator, they won’t be able to access your account.
We recommend using 2FA on every account that supports it.
Monitor your credit report
You can check your credit report once per year, per credit bureau for free and we recommend doing it. Get them at TransUnion or Equifax. Some financial products and credit card protection services offer free credit which you can also use.
If you don’t check your report, often the first sign of identity theft will be a demand letter from a creditor. Monitor your report and you could spot it earlier.
If you do see anything suspicious, report it to the credit bureau and ask them to put a freeze on your account while you investigate. This will stop any further credit applications in your name and prevent identity theft from happenening.
Pay attention to all the above and you minimize the risks of identity theft considerably. There’s no such thing as complete protection but this is as good as it gets right now!
For those of you who know that you have a challenging credit situation, please visit Dixie Auto Loans where we have a team of credit specialists ready to help you get approved for a car loan today!
For any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us here!