Identity Theft climbed to 15.4 million Americans in 2016 and that’s about a 16% increase from 2015. There is now much more financial and personal information exchanged on the internet than ever before and therefore continuous growth of cyber hacks and identity theft. Therefore, protecting yourself (both offline and online) is very important.

There could be serious damage resulting from credit card fraud which may negatively affect your credit, finances, etc. you should always be alert as regards to your personal and financial data to decrease the opportunity of being a victim among the millions who have their information hacked yearly.

Stay alert to prevent identity theft and be extremely cautious with your personal information

  • Avoid offering your personal identity data over phone calls unless you are the one who called, or the caller is from a recognized company that you have you personal account with already and the conversation is obviously related to your account. If you aren’t sure about the caller, end the call and contact the phone number on the company’s website.
  • Avoid sending your credit card, personal information, or account details through your email, text or over any instant messaging service. There’s a huge probability that these channels are unsafe and there are well known methods fraudsters use in identity theft.
  • Avoid walking around with your social security card. Keep it in a secure place at home, or you could store it in a bank.

Always secure your credit card

  • Put your signature on your credit card or input “check ID” to protect it from other people signing on the card. Getting a card with additional security features, such as photo identification will also be helpful.
  • Always carry necessary cards; especially when travelling.
  • Always be alert when you purchase things with your card and make sure you get it back before you leave.

Learn how to manage your accounts properly

  • Always check the statement of your account consistently, review receipts, and contact the bank or issuer if you notice any suspicious or unregulated operation. Checking your credit card alert is one of the best methods of recognizing any unusual debit to your account.
  • Ensure to update your phone number, address and email with the company, so that it will be easy to contact you if necessary.
  • If you normally review your account online, then there is no need for paper documentation. However, if you choose to have paper documents, ensure to store them in a secure place and shred it before disposal.

Keep an eye on your credits

  • Create good alert features; consistent credit score checkup is one go method of monitoring your credit condition.
  • Each of the three main credit agencies offer consumers free credit reports annually. You could also review your report operation every four months.

Develop proper online safety habits

  • Fraudsters are in search of various methods to access your messages. These criminals try corny ways of making you click on a URL that provides your login details to them or other ways of stealing your personal identity. Therefore, crosscheck the sources of mails before opening them, also try not to click on unknown links or download files from sources you do not trust.
  • When shopping online, shop smart and shop at established online businesses and make use of your card only over safe networks when making payments. Ensure your computer has a firewall protection and do not make credit transactions over public Wi-Fi.
  • After any transaction, ensure you log off, close the browser or shut down your computer.
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