I’ve been a victim of identity theft. It can happen to you.
In my case, over $12,000 was charged to my account in just over six hours. I found out in the most inconvenient fashion; while exiting a parking garage after a rare romantic dinner with my husband, both our credit cards were declined at the checkpoint. Confused and frustrated – though lucky to have carried some cash that day – we arrived home to find two voice messages from VISA, asking us to call their fraud centre immediately.
So, how can you protect yourself? From the Fellowes ID Theft Prevention Kit:
Shred, Shred, Shred! Invest in a good cross-cut shredder. Companies such as Fellowes make various models available at all price points. Shred all old bills, bank statements, credit card bills, receipts, personal documents and anything with your name or address on it.
Go paperless. Most companies (phone, cable, banks) offer customers the option to not have bills sent to their homes. This eliminates excess paper as well as lessens the chance someone else will pick up or intercept your mail.
Know your billing cycle. Make sure you are aware of when you are scheduled to get your mail. If you notice that you have stopped receiving a particular magazine you usually get, someone may have changed the address for it.
Protect your PIN. When using your debit, or credit card, ensure you are keeping your PIN a secret. Be aware of your surroundings and make sure no one is sneaking a peak at your digits.
Ask for ID. Instead of signing the back of your credit cards, simply write ‘See photo ID’.
Always check your statements. Since so many banks are now using electronic bills, it’s easy to forget to check your statements online. Ensure you are always keeping track of your accounts – this way you will not be left with unwanted charges.
Don’t use an easy password. Although it may be convenient to use a password that is easy to remember, it may not be the most secure one. Choose a password that no one would be able to guess.
Since March is Fraud Prevention Month, I’m eager to once again partner with @FellowesCanada on the #FellowesProtects Twitter Party.
Join us on Monday, March 23rd at 8pm EDT as we tweet up a storm with important, relevant information perfectly timed for Fraud Prevention Month, and in advance of tax season. Of course, we’ll have amazing prizes up for grabs, consisting of Fellowes’ most trusted shredders and Staples Gift Cards.
RSVP below for a chance to win, and see you on Monday night!
*Please be sure to enter your Twitter Handle “@yourTwitterhandle” in the Link/Blog Title field, and your Twitter URL “www.twitter.com/yourtwitterhandle” in the Link Field*