Identity thieves are nothing if not resourceful. With Halloween fast approaching, many of us have trick-or-treating with kids in mind. However, given the choice between “trick” or “treat,” identity thieves will always trick, deceive and manipulate you out of financial security. On the night of Halloween itself, some common-sense household protections can keep your home physically safe from intruders who might break in to compromise your financial information.
“If you are away from home or on vacation, remember that Halloween is also an evening when people will be taking stock of who is home and who is not, either to knock on the door for treats or to play a trick on you,” explains the Bank Advisor blog for American Heritage Bank. “Do not leave a note on the door and a bowl of candy, which is a dead giveaway your home is unoccupied.”
When you’re handing out candy, it’s also a good idea to keep an eye on the perimeter of your house. Halloween is a holiday that invites people to crisscross their neighborhoods while virtually unrecognizable, so make sure that the exterior of your home is well-lit and watched.
You shouldn’t forget that Halloween is a holiday that encourages us to dress up as someone (or something) we’re not. This deception is the kind of behavior identity thieves exhibit every single day across America. One night a year, that trickery is fun and games but when your identity falls into the wrong hands, you may be looking at a lifetime of consequences.
“Amid the fun of [Halloween], it may be a good time for you to start thinking about ID theft. What if someone were to put on the costume of you - at least in a digital way - to use your identity to buy things, steal money from your bank accounts and deploy your ID numbers into tax fraud or a credit card ring?”
These questions can best be addressed with regular, thorough credit monitoring . The best way to see whether suspicious or unlawful activity has occurred using your financial information is to review your credit report and flag anything that looks out of place. Making smart choices on Oct. 31 and every day of the year can also keep fraudsters from stumbling upon vulnerabilities that can be exploited, like intact paper documents and unsecured financial information.
Don’t let criminals’ tricks compromise your financial wellbeing. The better informed consumers are about the threat of ID theft , the more capable they are to make protective decisions. There’s no way to tell how or when identity thieves will target you, so keeping a watchful eye for things that go “bump” in the night is the best strategy. Failure to be vigilant about these issues can leave your finances in serious trouble that will haunt you.