Protect Your Identity with 3 Simple Steps
In last week’s blog, our identity theft expert, John Sileo, spelled out three simple ways to protect yourself from potential identity theft. Details for implementing John’s three easy steps are outlined below:
Step 1: Shred everything! Paper shredders can be found in a variety of retail stores, and will range from smaller device that will simply sit atop your trash can to a larger machine that will have a trash can attached. You can also search around in your local community for companies that offer shredding services. As an alternate to shredding, you can use a permanent dark marker to cover your information on items like junk mail or envelopes, or you can invest in the Guard Your ID Stamper (results pictured right.) We love this item! Here’s a video to show just how easy it is to use!
Step 2: Freeze your credit. This step is critical! In simplistic terms, freezing your credit is like adding a password to your net worth to prevent anyone else from establishing credit in your name, thus reducing your risk of identity theft. When you need to apply for credit, simply call each of the bureaus first. They will “thaw” your credit for a period of time that you dictate, be it one day or one week.
To freeze your credit, simply visit each of the three credit bureau websites and follow the prompts: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. While some of the sites will assign a password to you, others will allow you to choose your own, in which case, make it a strong, alpha-numeric-symbol based password. Last, we recommend writing your passwords down right away and storing the information in a secure and convenient location, such as a personal safe.
Step 3: Invest in a Fraud Monitoring Service. Fraud monitoring services provide peace of mind for a fee that is a fraction of the cost incurred in the event that your identity is compromised. Check fraud alone is an average loss per incident of $2,412! Depending on the coverage you elect, these services will monitor your credit, report any unusual actions and work with you to restore your identity to pre-fraud status.
As your trusted check company, we want to ensure that the services we recommend are the best in class. For this reason, we partner with EZShield Fraud Protection. Not only did Javelin recognize EZShield as the “Best Overall Identity Protection Services Leader” for the second year in a row, it also ranked EZShield highest in identity prevention, detection and resolution. Click here to learn more about the EZShield Fraud Protection services.