7 Ways You Can Protect Yourself Offline
Your security depends on how aware you are of the risks you’re exposing yourself daily. The two major risks you should prepare for are identity theft and fraud. Considering the devastating consequences these crimes can have, it’s better to take all the necessary precautions to avoid becoming a victim of identity thieves.
If you want to learn how to protect yourself, follow these tips:
Keep your personal information safe
Your personal information is found on your driver’s license, credit cards, insurance cards, and even various membership cards. Keep them safe at all time and don’t carry them with you daily if you don’t need them.
Make sure you have copies of all the documents you carry with you in your wallet or purse and leave your Social Security card at home, in a locked place. Don’t share your Social Security number or your family’s Social Security numbers with persons who aren’t authorized to collect them. Don’t write it on your checks and always keep these documents secure.
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Protect your credit and debit cards
If you want to protect your credit and debit cards, you need to keep your PIN safe and never share it with anyone – even if it’s a family member, bank employee or police officer. Don’t write down your PIN and keep your cards in a safe place. If they get lost or stolen, contact the issuing bank immediately.
When using the ATM, cover the keypad when entering the PIN and make sure no one else can see it. If you choose to print a receipt, don’t throw it in the bin. Take it with you and keep it safe or shred it.
Benefit from direct deposits
The direct deposit feature allows you to have paychecks and recurring deposits transferred directly into your account without having to use your account number repeatedly and exposing yourself to identity theft.
Also, if you enable monthly payments from your checking or saving accounts, you can eliminate another paper source that contains your account info and combat fraud.
Opt for online account statements
Choose to receive your account statements online. Not only you’ll reduce to a minimum the chances to become a victim of identity theft, but you’ll also contribute to protecting the environment. If you can’t receive the documents online, always shred them before throwing them in the trash.
Protect your checks
Want to reduce check fraud? Use online bill payment or electronic fund transfers. Do you need to use checks? Make sure you store them securely. If you lose your checkbook or it gets stolen, report this immediately. Ask your bank to cancel all your checks past the one you last wrote.
Shred before throwing away!
Always shred the documents that contain personal information before throwing them away. Don’t just throw them in your trash bin or recycling bin. Criminals will happily search in your trash and use these documents for their schemes. They can use the information to access your accounts or even open new ones.
Be aware of suspicious phone calls
Don’t divulge personal information or payment details to strangers. You may receive calls from various people asking for information for certain services they offer or under the name of a company you professionally know. No company will ask for your payment details over the phone, especially not banks since they already have your credit card number, account number, and routing number. And never share your PIN!