The beginning of a new year is a great time to begin making some positive changes to your routines. You may want to kick a bad habit, shed a few pounds or maybe even learn to better protect yourself from identity theft. Criminals are always coming up with new ways to steal your identity, so you’ve really got to keep watch over your information. Add some New Years safety resolutions to your list and stay ahead of identity thieves.
Safeguard Your Social Media
We live in the age of information and social media is a big part of our lives. Many people use social media to post some of the most important events in their lives. It may surprise you just how much personal information you post online. Even something as simple as your child’s full name or your full address can be enough to get a criminal started on stealing your identity. Take time this new year to update your social media’s security settings to be as strict as possible. Also, use this time to thin out your friends list. Everyone you currently have friended may not be someone you want to see your personal information.
Monitor Your Financial Statements
Keeping an eye on your checking, savings and credit card statements is imperative. It is very easy to set up a daily (or at minimum, weekly) reminder to check your account activity. The faster you can report a fraudulent charge, the less damage will be done and the easier it is to correct.
Take Advantage Of Free Credit Reports
Did you know that all Americans are entitled to three free credit reports each year? There are three major credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. You can request a free credit report from each bureau, every year. It is advised that you spread these reports out over the course of the year. This will allow you to have a clear picture of where your credit stands throughout the entire year. The only time you may want to request more than one report at a time is when you’re making a very large purchase, such as a home. As you did for monitoring your financial accounts, you can set up a calendar alert to remind you to request each of the three reports at different points this year. This is one of the most important New Years safety resolutions.
Freeze Your Children’s Credit
As of September 2018, a parent can now place a credit freeze on their child’s file for FREE, anywhere in the USA. Previously, states had differentiating policies on requesting credit freezes for minors. It wasn’t allowed in some states and some even charged a fee. Now, up until age 16, a parent can request a credit freeze for their child at no charge. Over one million children were victims of identity theft in 2017. You can place a credit freeze on your child’s file so that their future isn’t in jeopardy before they are even of age to apply for credit.
We hope this year is a happy and safe one for you and your family. Sticking to these New Years safety resolutions will help ensure that is the case.