Marino on Money: June 11
Identity theft can happen to just about anyone, anywhere. One of the best ways to protect yourself is the old fashioned way of double checking your financial transactions.
This week we have been talking about ways to protect yourself from identity theft. First, check your credit at www.annualcreditreport.com. You may request one report from each of the three credit agencies every 4 months. This will allow you to receive a report three times each year.
Next, watch out for ‘phishing’, where scam artists attempt to steal your personal information. They usually imitate companies you deal with, and tell you there’s a problem with your account. If you receive a request like this, contact the company whose account supposedly has a problem.
You should also watch your transactions regularly. If your identity is stolen, you may be able to spot it quickly. Look at all of the purchases on your credit cards and bank accounts. There may be purchases you don’t recognize. That could indicate someone has stolen your identity. Don’t assume a charge at Wal-mart is yours just because you may shop at Wal-mart.
The longer you wait to check your transactions, the more likely you are to forget how much you spent on a particular visit. Think back three weeks ago. Can you remember where you shopped and how much you spent? Maybe you can. I’m not always sure I remember what I had for lunch yesterday, let alone a purchase I made last month.
Finally, you should shred any documents which have your personal info, and make sure you check your mailbox regularly. The last thing you want is your bank statements sitting in your mailbox for a few days. Thanks for that question.
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