How to keep your credit info safe and avoid identity theft

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Identity theft is one of the most common crimes today. Imagine someone stealing your identity by obtaining your personal information and uses it to make transactions and purchases. How cruel is that? The good thing is that identity theft is avoidable. Yes, you can do something about it. You do not have to live in fear of identity thieves. If you are a victim of identity theft, this article will help shed the light on what might have gone wrong and how to prevent it from happening again.

How to keep credit information safe

Beware at all times

When you get a new credit card, sign its back immediately. Accidents happen all the time so you do not know who will get hold of your credit card in the next minute.

When keying in your PIN and passwords in public places, ensure to take a few minutes. Do not key in your information in a rush as one may easily observe the pattern of your hand’s movement. Take your time and use as many hand movements as possible. This will confuse anyone observing you with ill motives.

Another important thing is the kind of password you have. Avoid using common passwords like the name of your loved one or pet.

Sometimes identity thieves are people who know you, so they may figure out your password easily. Use unique strong passwords for your different finance accounts. If the accounts offer multifactor authentication, take advantage of them because they will alert you when there is suspicious activity on any of your credit accounts.

Observe privacy with your account number

When out in public, do not allow any stranger to have a look at your account number. Sometimes banks or your business partners may need you to provide your account number. Be very selective on who has access to the number. Give it to organizations you know well and conduct business together. If you receive any call from people claiming to be financial institutions that you are not familiar with, do not give out your financial or personal information.

Identity thieves also use other means like suspicious emails and texts asking you to click funny links or give out your information.

Always opt for paperless statements when dealing with your financial information. If you have to throw away any documents containing your private information, ensure to shred them first before you throw them in the trash.

Update your financial information

Not updating your information is one of the things that make identity thieves get away with their crime. If you move to another town, notify your bank so that it can update your details. If the bank detects suspicious activity in a different location, it will notify you.

Provide your financial institutions with your details such as current phone number, and email so that they can reach out to you incase anything goes wrong. You can select whether you prefer the bank to contact you via email, text, or phone call immediately they notice anything suspicious.

Watch out for your receipts

Your financial receipts contain important personal details about your account. Always check your receipts against your account to see if there are suspicious errors that may suggest any potential fraudulent transactions.

When done with your receipts, do not throw them away in the trash. Shred them first so that no one can go back into the trash to retrieve your details.

How secure are your devices?

Cyber criminals can steal your credit card information by hacking into your devices. Ensure the devices you use to transact with are safe.

Your phone and laptop are among the main targets of cyber criminals. Beware of apps that you install in your phone. Some apps have weak links that hackers can use as a path to gain access to your phone.

Clicking on suspicious links can also grant criminals access to your phone. Such links silently download data into your phone that grants criminals access to your mobile system. With this, they can get your personal information easily.

Digital wallets can also be very helpful in avoiding unauthorized access to your personal details. Digital wallets use a payment system in built in your mobile device, which makes it possible for you to conduct electronic transactions using your credit cards. Digital wallets are safer than carrying around credit cards because they use tokenization, encryption, and authentication.

Lock your phone with a unique pass code or finger print to make access to your digital wallet harder.

Protect your online presence

Always ensure that your online activities are secure from cyber criminals. When purchasing items online, look for websites with “https.” The “s” stands for secure. Websites that do not have the “s” are vulnerable to hackers.

Open websites with the green lock icon. An unsecure website will have a red opened lock icon. Do not make transactions on such a website.

When transacting on a website, do not allow it to save and store your credit card number for future use. Consider using online payment systems when transacting online, instead of using your account directly. Payment methods like PayPal, Samsung Pay, Android Pay, or Apple Pay are safer because they always hide your credit card number from merchants during transactions. In case hackers access your merchant’s account, your information will still be safe.

Be careful of public Wi-Fi’s too. When connected to one, do not conduct any transactions or check your accounts because your information is not safe.

Do not fall victim to identity theft anymore. Use these tips and outsmart the identity criminals.

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