More than 40 percent of Americans have experienced fraudulent credit card charges. With the increase of online shopping and banking, fraudulent card use shifted in 2016 from stolen or counterfeit cards being used in-person to the account numbers being used remotely. This means it is more important than ever to regularly check statements. While your card may be in your wallet, that doesn’t mean it isn’t being used by a criminal somewhere. But it’s not just your financial accounts that are targeted by identity thieves. Health insurance statement of benefits may alert someone that their identity was used to obtain medical services or prescriptions, known as medical identity theft.
Believe it or not, dumpster diving is still a method identity thieves use to get personal information.
- Shred documents with personal information at least once a week; pay special attention to credit card offers
- Ensure proper storage of sensitive documents
- Make sure that electronic copies are completely destroyed when no longer needed. Regularly empty your computer’s recycle bin
- Go through email once a month to ensure that no sensitive information or documents are there—find and delete
- Go through purses or wallets once a month to make sure that they don’t contain any sensitive personal information that is not needed.
Tools & Resources
- Wallet List: keep track of all of the cards and documents in your wallet and the phone numbers to call if they are lost or stolen.
- Free Shredding: Often there are community events were you may shred documents, do the shredding yourself or monitor the attendant as they do it.
Stay tuned for Part 5: Social Media Safety coming in April