Nearly 15 million US residents are victims of identity theft fraud annually, resulting in approximately $50 billion in lost assets each year. As the business of identity theft grows so too does the types of information desired by these thieves. No longer are criminals solely interested in documents like bank statements, other information such as passports, utility bills, and social security cards are all being bought and sold in online markets. While there is no way to ensure 100% that you are protected from these crimes, there are several steps you can take to increase your identity fraud protection.
Check your credit report
Services such as Identity Guard can provide you with regular credit reports from the major bureaus. And while you may already be looking at these reports to determine your credit score, there’s more information they can provide. By monitoring your credit report for changes you can detect identity theft shortly after it occurs, allowing you to respond quickly and minimize potential damanges to your bank accounts or financial reputation.
You may have already considered opting out of receiving unsolicited mail and emails such as credit card offers just to cut back on junk mail. Doing so can help reduce your risk of identity theft as well, because what is junk mail to you can be treasure to crooks. These offers could be completed by someone claiming to be you in order to obtain a new line of credit for themself.
Secure your mail
It’s not just these credit card offers that put you at risk, its much of the mail that you receive each day. We hear so many news stories about hackers and phishing on the internet, that we can forget our paper mail is just as dangerous. Bills, financial statements, and even family letters can contain personal information that a criminal could use to assume your identity on a new credit application.
These three steps can help reduce your risk of becoming a victim of identity theft, though nothing can fully protect you from these risks. To better monitor your personal and financial information, you should consider an identity and credit monitoring service like Identity Guard.