You hear about it all the time or you know someone who has been impacted by it. That’s identity thief, which is when someone uses your personal identifying information such as credit card number, bank account number, or Social Security number, without your permission. It is estimated that as many as 9 million people per year have their identities stolen. One way to reduce the chance of your personal financial information from being stolen and used by others is to simplifying your personal finances.
Here are this week’s tips to help you simplify your personal finances as well as help you reduce the chance of identity thief:
Stop writing checks – You never know who will see your check. Your checks have all of your personal information printed on for anyone to see. It contains the name of your bank, your bank account number, your bank’s routing number, your name, address, and some even put their driver’s license number on their check. Please I hope no one puts their social security number on their check. If you do please order new checks or stop using them immediately.
Monitor your accounts – if you sign up for online banking you can monitor your account on a daily basis if necessary. You should check your account balance at least weekly. You want to monitor your account to make sure all the transaction that have occurred in your account are accurate and no usual transactions have occurred. If you wait until the end of the month to check your account when you receive your statement it may be to late the damage can be severe.
Online statements – instead of receiving month statements in the mail have your statements sent to you by email. This eliminates the opportunity of someone taking your bank statements from the mail and obtaining your account information.
Set up alerts – so you are notified if a specific amount over your usual activity is taken from your bank account. Set alerts to email all of your daily activity so you can see what transactions took place.
Check you credit report – do this not only to know what your credit score is but also to know what credit cards are open in your name. If you see an account that you were not aware of, report it and take action.
Take action now to help prevent identity thief which will not only save you time and money but also prevent you from pulling your hair out trying to get your identity cleaned up. So implementing these tips will help you simplify your personal finances and reduce identity thief.
Til next week take one step at a time to simplify your personal financial life.