Tips on Preventing Identity Theft
Start by protecting your bank account and credit card information
• When you can choose, use credit, not debit. If you pay for your purchases with your credit card, you have a better chance of disputing fraudulent charges. With a debit card, your purchase liability usually depends on how long it takes you to report the fraud.
• Monitor your accounts and transactions. Oftentimes we get so busy and are less likely to notice fraudulent purchases, especially if they are smaller amounts. I always recommend my customers go through their account balances and new transactions weekly and mentally check off each purchase you made so you quickly catch any fraudulent charges. It is also a good idea to check your credit report at least annually and close any accounts you do not use. You can also work with your credit card company and bank to set up fraud alerts. • Shred your bills and receipts. Many people are shopping and banking online nowadays, but if you have any physical bills, ATM receipts, or any documents with your signature, account number or Social Security number – shred it! • Make sure your web browser is up to date. Those software updates are often improvements to the security of the internet browser. Most programs will automatically prompt you when an update is available, and it is important to follow through with these and NEVER disable the prompts.
• Create passwords that include numbers and special characters, such as #, & and *, to make your email account more secure. • Avoid making online purchases in public places like coffee shops. Not only can people read over your shoulder, but public networks are typically less secure and provide more opportunities for hackers. • Protect your devices. Don’t let criminals use your smart phones, tablets, and laptops against you! Set each device to auto-lock and make sure your devices don’t automatically log you in to important websites. • Remember that you can always call an Allstate agent any time for more tips and advice for staying protected. That’s truly why we are here – to listen to the questions and needs of you and your family, and offer genuine, personalized advice. We want you to stay safe and protected, and Allstate agents like me are equipped to help you do that.
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