Identity theft is on the rise, and it could happen to you.
Cases more than doubled from 2019 to 2020, according to the Federal Trade Commission, as thieves increasingly look for opportunities to steal personal information and use it at the owner’s expense.
Draining bank accounts, running up charges on credit cards and using medical insurance coverage are just some of the possible consequences of an identity being stolen.
Thankfully, there are many ways to protect your information and reduce the risk of experiencing identity theft yourself.
12 ways to prevent identity theft
Keep documents in a safe place
Your personal information is valuable so keep documents such as your Social Security number, financial records and health insurance cards in a safe place.
Shred unwanted documents
When you decide to get rid of such documents, shred them first. Alternatively, use a marker to block out account numbers.
Collect mail every day
Don’t leave mail sitting in the mailbox; collect it each day and put it on hold when you go away.
Ask questions before giving out your Social Security number
Not all requests for your Social Security number are necessary. Some organizations including the IRS, banks and your employer need your number to identify you. Others, such as a medical provider or your child’s school, may not. Ask the following questions before giving out your number:
- Why do you need it?
- How will you protect it?
- Can you use a different identifier?
- Can you use just the last four digits of my Social Security number?
Create a strong password
Simply creating a strong password for an online account is a powerful way to protect your data. Change your password if there’s a data breach at the company that holds your account.
Use multi-factor authentication
Where available, add multi-factor authentication to your account to provide another layer of security. It works by requiring two or more credentials to log into your account, which can be a passcode from a text message or app, or something like a fingerprint scan.
Don’t give out personal information via calls, texts or emails
Through what are known as phishing attacks, scammers may try to trick you into giving them your personal information so they can access your accounts. Thousands of phishing attacks take place every day.
Install firewalls and anti-virus software
Installing firewalls and virus-detecting software on your computer will help prevent malicious programs from being placed on your machine. Update your firewall settings and use a virtual private network (VPN) when on public Wi-Fi networks.
Use the security features on your mobile phone
Make use of any available settings and apps on your device to protect it from threats.
Review bank and credit card statements
Go through your bank account, credit card and medical insurance statements to watch for unauthorized transactions.
Pay attention to billing cycles
Keep track of your billing cycles and if a bill seems to be late, or you stop getting it altogether, contact the sender.
Get your credit reports
Request and review your credit reports to make sure they don’t include accounts that you haven’t opened. You can get a free copy of your reports once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com.
What to do if you’re affected by identity theft
If someone does steal your personal information, help is available. Visit IdentityTheft.gov to report it, explain your situation and get a personal recovery plan.
A partner you can rely on
As your trusted lender, Chrysler Capital makes protecting your information a top priority. We ensure our websites and your data are safe and secure to give you peace of mind.