The world we live in has changed vastly over the past 20 years or so since we were introduced to the Internet. Many if not most of the changes were for the better, but as with anything there are also downsides. Unfortunately, the criminals of the world (or as my 5 year old calls them “bad men” of the world) have access to it as well and they have come up with many new ways to steal your hard earned money.
With this blog, I want to share 10 tips to help you protect your identity as follows:
- Immediately report lost or stolen debit/credit cards to your bank, credit union, or credit card company.
- When using an ATM, make sure you cover the PIN pad when entering your number.
- When choosing a credit and/or debit card PIN number make sure that it is difficult to guess, but also easy for you to remember.
- Do not reply to any e-mail, text, or phone requests for your social security number, credit or debit account number or any other personal information unless you trust the source.
- Monitor your credit report, credit and debit card accounts, and statements for any unauthorized transactions.
- Make sure you shred all your credit and debit card statements or financial documents before you throw them away.
- Before making purchases online with your credit or debit card, make sure the website is secure and the company is reputable.
- Update your computer anti-virus and spyware software regularly.
- Please do not wire money at any time in response to on-line employment advertisements such as “secret shopper” or other “work at home” opportunities.
- If you receive a check in the mail in response to an internet sale or other internet transaction, do not deposit the check into your account. The check generally proves to be fraudulent and may take days or weeks to discover. But once discovered, your bank will want the full amount reimbursed that that you spent. There are many variations of this scam, but we wary of any funds that come in the mail from unexplained source.
At Bond & Botes, our affiliated offices offer free initial consultations. Please feel free to call one of our conveniently located offices to set up a private consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. If your identity has been stolen or your credit has been ruined, we will analyze your situation and help you to make the best decision possible to correct the problem.
Grant McNutt is a Managing Attorney at the Bond & Botes Law Offices in Florence and Haleyville, Alabama. He holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Alabama, and a Juris Doctorate from the Birmingham School of Law. He has been practicing Consumer Bankruptcy Law since 1999. Read his full bio here.