In the US, fraud is a huge industry. According to the Federal Trade Commission, consumers reported losing more than $5.8 billion to fraud in 2021, a rise of more than 70% from the year before.
When it comes to money, the one thing you can be sure of is that someone out there wants to steal it. Theft of victims’ identities and financial information is one of the most common ways thieves accomplish this. As hackers continue to find new ways to access online financial accounts, this threat has grown significantly.
To protect your identity and credit, you must be vigilant and understand how fraudsters operate. You should first be aware of the distinction between identity protection and credit protection. Here is an overview:
You are notified any time activity affects your credit report if you have credit monitoring. Lender enquiries and newly established accounts utilising your name and Social Security number are often included in this. You will receive text or email alerts when there is action on your credit report.
Chase Credit Journey from Chase Bank is one noteworthy credit monitoring programme. You don’t have to be a Chase customer to utilise it, and it is totally free. Simply sign up online, and this service will monitor your identity and credit in a variety of ways, providing you with comprehensive protection beyond the standard credit activity notifications. It checks the dark web to make sure your information is not accessible on shady websites and notifies you if your data has been compromised. By monitoring activities associated with your Social Security number, Chase Credit Journey also safeguards your identity.
Alerts for Identity Theft
Credit monitoring packages frequently include coverage for identity theft warnings. They take it a step further by searching for indications that hackers, data pirates, or cybercriminals have gained access to your sensitive data, such as bank account passwords. Targeting credit cards is particularly common. You should cancel your credit cards right away and cease using them if you believe that your credit card information has been lost or compromised.
The Top 6 Ways to Protect Your Identity and Credit
The ounce of prevention needed to avoid a pound of cure is taking proactive measures to protect your credit and identity. Here are some pointers on the best techniques you can employ to safeguard your information.
1. Develop a Password Change Habit
Although it ought to be obvious, many people don’t do it frequently enough. Your password serves as the entrance to your financial and personal data, and the longer it remains unaltered, the more likely it is that hackers will eventually gain access. By regularly changing your passwords, you can reduce the likelihood that your identity and credit will be stolen.
2. Sign up for alerts for credit monitoring
Setting up credit monitoring alerts is one of the most crucial measures you can take to safeguard your credit. This notifies you each time shady activity is detected on your account. While many financial institutions and credit card firms provide credit monitoring services to their clients, a select handful also provide these services to non-clients.
For instance, Chase Bank offers a free credit monitoring service called Chase Credit Journey that is open to anyone who wishes to sign up. Every time it detects new activity, such as charges, credit queries, or new accounts, this comprehensive service notifies you. Additionally, Chase will let you know if there are any changes to your credit utilisation, credit limits, or debt. Other options include monitoring your Social Security number and receiving alerts when a lender confirms your identity.
You can also check your credit score online whenever you want with Chase Credit Journey, giving you even more control over your credit.
3. Put your credit on hold
A security freeze, also referred to as a credit freeze, prevents creditors from checking your credit history when you apply for a new account. This can assist in preventing the opening of accounts in your name by identity thieves.
4. Purchase ID theft insurance
Programs for preventing identity theft continuously monitor your credit accounts and alert you to any changes in your credit score, new credit inquiries, or indications of possible fraud. Many of these programmes also offer insurance that pays for the financial costs associated with repairing fraud-related harm. Programs for preventing ID theft are available from credit bureaus, insurance companies, and other suppliers.
5. Ensure the Security of Your Personal Data
You should obviously take precautions to prevent your financial and personal information from getting into the wrong hands. Share it only with organisations and persons you know and trust. Be on the lookout for con artists demanding your personal and financial information over the phone, on social media, by email or text message while impersonating as bank or credit card company workers. Nobody who is authentic will phone you and ask for information like your Social Security number or PIN for your credit card.
Identity thieves will browse through your mail or even sift through your trash to find out as much as they can about your personal and financial information. Avoid leaving sensitive paperwork and credit card or ATM receipts in plain sight.
6. Consistently check your credit reports
A wealth of data on the types of credit accounts you’ve had, your payment history, your credit score, and the total amount of credit you have is contained in your credit report. You should routinely verify the report to make sure all the information is true and up to date because it contains so much crucial information and is crucial to your ability to obtain a loan or credit card.
Look out for items that don’t belong, such as a credit card or loan you don’t recognise, or a sudden decline in your credit score despite no change in your credit activity when examining your credit report. It’s likely that someone has accessed your accounts if you discover a new account you didn’t start or charges for purchases you didn’t make.