Are you concerned your identity could get stolen? If not, perhaps you should pay more attention. According to a Bankrate survey, about 41 million people in the US have had their identity stolen and another 49 million know someone who has. Gasp!
My wife and I are paying for a monthly identity theft protection service that provides monitoring and help if the unthinkable were to occur. We decided to pay for the service after taking Financial Peace University and hearing Dave recommend it.
The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Imagine what would happen if your identity gets stolen. Think about the work involved in closing accounts and dealing with the credit bureaus. A monthly service provides you personal assistance should this ever happen. These services have the expertise and know exactly what steps to take.
But let’s not let that happen. Bankrate shares ways to avoid identify theft. Here’s a quick summary:
- Shred sensitive documents such as bank statements and pre-approved credit card applications. Don’t just throw them out in the mail as people have been known to look through garbage. Yes, they do.
- Don’t store sensitive information in your email accounts. If your email account gets hacked, the thief basically has an information archive to search. I would add that you should change your password on a regular basis too.
- Freeze your credit from major credit bureaus if you suspect your identify has been stolen.
- Don’t access financial or other sensitive accounts on unsecured public networks. I’m talking to you over there sitting in Starbucks checking your bank account. Use your home WIFI or cell provider!
I hope this never happens to us but I feel comfortable that we have the help we need should it occur.
What do you think about these tips and the growing concern of identity theft?