March 4-10 is National Consumer Protection Week
Just because the holidays are over doesn’t mean you don’t have to worry about your personal information being stolen online, in stores or at the ATM. Follow these 10 tips to help protect your credit and identity.
1. Shred financial papers, including credit card offers. Yes, people really do dig through the trash to steal personal information. Nowadays, you can buy a shredder for under $20, making it an incredibly inexpensive investment for something that could protect you from identity theft.
2. Cut up credit cards—through the account number. If you can, toss the halves in two separate trash bags.
3. Be wary of suspicious insertion devices. Thieves now place fake devices over real debit/credit card insertion points on gas pumps, ATM machines and other locations so they can steal your card number. If something looks particularly bulky or odd, don’t trust it.
4. Don’t store your pin number with your debit card. Choose a number you can memorize easily and keep it written down at home.
5. Carry as few debit and credit cards as possible. If your wallet is ever stolen, you’ll have fewer cards to worry about.
6. Be cautious about what you post on social media. Posting too much on Facebook can give crooks better access to your information and schedule. Birthdays, when you’re going on vacation, your maiden name, when you got married, etc. can all be clues to criminals.
7. Never sign a blank charge slip. Anyone can write in any amount. Know how much the charge is and get a copy of the final receipt for your records.
8. Review your bank and credit card statements regularly. Look for discrepancies and report anything unusual.
9. Check your credit report regularly. Ensure no one has tried to use your information to open a new account. You can now get free credit reports through a variety of sources, including www.annualcreditreport.com.
10. See if you are entitled to free credit monitoring. If you’ve been contacted by a financial institution, health care company, military, government or other organization saying that their databank was breached, you may be entitled to free credit monitoring.
For more information contact:
Thornton Economic Development Office
303-538-7605 · [email protected]