Tuesday, June 23, 2015

How to Protect Your Identity

If you are working towards a new home, car, the means to put your kids through college, or any other financial goal, protecting your identity and credit are important.  When someone steals your identity, it can be frustrating to take care of, and can also mean the death of your financial dreams. 
In addition to being careful with your personal info, using only secure wi-fi connections, shredding documents and papers that include personal information, and checking bank statements regularly; there are other things that you can do to protect yourself that you may not be doing already.  These tips can help you learn how to protect your identity.

One is to secure your personal email.  Fraud can begin with personal information collected from an email account.  Some web based email providers now offer the option of adding a one-time use PIN to your account.  The PIN is sent to your mobile phone when you try to login, and you must enter the PIN to complete the login.  Also, make sure that your password is long and strong.  Use letters (capital and lowercase), numbers and symbols.

When choosing questions that can be used for password recovery, make sure the answers aren’t on your social media.  For example, mother’s maiden name could be discovered by looking at who you have listed as family.  A favorite vacation can be obvious by looking through your photo albums.  Chances are you have lots of people listed as friends who are from the same town that you grew up in.  Make up your own questions if that is an option.

You can also sign up for an identity theft monitoring service.  These services work by monitoring your credit files, public records, and websites containing personal data and alerting you to certain activity.  This can be especially useful in helping to protect your credit if you suspect that a third party has your social security number.  Monitoring your own accounts won’t help you if someone opens a new account in your name.  An identity theft monitoring service would alert you to the new account and help you deal with the aftermath.

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