Identity Theft is an area which most of us don’t think about… until we are victims of it ourselves. That said, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to protect yourself. Check out our 5 step checklist below:
1. Review financial statements & discard them properly
Shred or tear up the following documents before you throw them away: debit/credit card statements, old ATM cards, bank deposit slips and other documents which contain details about your finances. Furthermore, look at your statements to see if there are any financial irregularities (ie: excessive spending, transferring of money to other accounts etc). If you spot any, notify your bank immediately.
Note: If these are documents which you need to keep, ensure that you store them in a safe place.
2. Be smart with your behaviour online
- Watch for SPAM. Here’s a good rule of thumb to observe if something is SPAM or not: if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Sent it straight to your junk folder.
- Where possible, visit secure websites: (look for an “https” in the address bar or search for a padlock. This indicates that the website you are on is secure. Banking websites and online shopping sites like amazon & ebay have this level of security in order to protect your information.
- Never send credit card information over email-especially the 3 or 4 digit security code at the back of your card.
- If you can afford it, keep your computer protected with good anti-virus/anti-spyware protection.
3. Get a Credit report
This is a summary of your credit score and impacts your ability to purchase a loan for a vehicle, house etc. Make it a point to get a credit report annually. Dont know how to get one? try this link from the Credit Information Bureau (CRIB). This lets you keep track of your credit reports and you can monitor any activity which seems out of the ordinary
4. Watch out for Fraudulent calls/scams
If you ever receive an email or phone call from an institution you do business with (university, charity, bank, insurance company etc), DO NOT give out personal information to the caller as the request may not be legitimate. Ask for the person’s name and branch. Even If you believe that the call is genuine, call the company back on their hotline and double check if they did send a call/email. Its much better to be safe than sorry.
5. Create Strong Passwords
Make it a point to create strong passwords; using a mix of letters and numbers will ensure that hackers find it harder to break into your accounts. thereby improving your chances of preventing identity theft. Not sure how to do so? Check out the image below:
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Disclaimer: The views shared in this blog are based on the macro economic conditions & industry status quo as per the time of publishing.