We all know that most things have an upside and a downside. When it comes to the automation of our money system the upside would definitely have to be the added convenience. The downside, of course, would be the very real threat of identity theft.
In order to prevent consumer credit card fraud there are simple steps you can take. Remember, it may seem harmless since you probably won’t have to pay for any fraudulent use of your personal information, but don’t believe for a minute that the banks are going to absorb that loss, they will simply pass it on to you in the form of higher fees.
1. There are three major credit bureaus and it’s important to check all three.
Government regulations now make it possible for you to check your credit reports for free. By law each of the three credit reporting agencies need to allow you one free report every 12 months. If you want you can request one report from one agency every three months. It’s important to check all three because the information may not be the same on each one. If you find an error contact the credit agency immediately as this could be a sign of identity theft. It’s very important you pay especially close attention the the inquiries section. If some unknown organization is looking at your credit report it could be a sign that someone is using your identity to try and get a loan or a credit card. Also check all the addresses listed on your credit report. If there are addresses listed that aren’t yours it could mean someone is pretending to be you and is getting information sent to their house.
2. Don’t carry your social security card with you.
If your card is lost or stolen, a thief could have a field day with just this one piece of personal information. Instead get a lock box at home, or better yet, get a safety deposit box at your local bank and keep it locked up.
3. Shred all your documents.
Unfortunately thieves aren’t dumb, you would be surprised what they can do with even the most innocent of information. Don’t take a chance, shred everything. Also, try not to take your trash out until right before the trash men come to pick it up. It’s gross, but the truth is that many thieves will swoop in and grab trash bags right from your trash can. They will then go to some private location and sort through your trash trying to find some type of personal information.
4. Stop getting all those credit card offers in the mail.
Each time you get one it’s an open invitation for a thief to come by and grab it right from your mailbox, send it in, and get a credit card in your name that they will use. You can contact the credit card companies and tell them to stop sending you offers in the mail. If you do get an offer in the mail, make sure you shred everything that came with the offer so that thieves can’t get the information.
5. Don’t sign the back of your credit card
Instead of signing the back of your card, which only allows a thief to learn how to copy your signature, you can write ‘request ID’ , or something similar. That way the clerk should always ask to see some sort of identification whenever that card is used. These are just a few of the simple daily changes you can make to help prevent consumer credit card fraud.
By following these guidelines and using common sense, you can help keep the costs low for all of us and protect your good name at the same time.
Richard Moyer is the Owner of LifeBalanceb2b.com
Check us out anytime for Identity Theft Awareness and Prevention tips and resources, and a free subscription to our Home Business Tips newsletter.