Identity theft is a fast-growing type of crime. But did you know that it’s also the No. 1 source of consumer complaints made to the Federal Trade Commission last year? It’s actually been the No. 1 complaint for the past 15 consecutive years!
Consumer protection officials say identity thieves look for the easiest targets first. That’s why we wanted to share with you six of the easiest (and best!) ways to avoid becoming a victim:
1. Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet. Store it in a safe place at home instead.
2. Order a free credit report at least once each year. It’s a simple preventive measure that may alert you to suspicious activity on your credit report. It’s estimated that 25% of all credit reports contain some type of error.
3. Check your credit card statements each month. Make it a habit to review your credit card statements each month, comparing all charges made to your card to your actual receipts.
4. Use strong passwords with all online accounts. One of the best ways to prevent identity theft is to use hard-to-crack passwords to protect your personal data and financial accounts.
5. Be reluctant when asked to provide personal information. If you’re asked for personal information, don’t be afraid to question the request. Avoid providing any personal information verbally when other people are within earshot.
6. Take precautions when using public wi-fi. If you connect to a public wi-fi network, information you send could be accessed by others. Here’s what you need to know to keep your information safe.