Did you know that identity theft victims spend 600 hours cleaning up their identity and credit history? You don’t want to waste that kind of time, instead of spending it with your friends and family!
Unfortunately, there’s no 100% guarantee against identity theft. One piece of good news is that you can reduce your risk of identity theft the moment your personal information has ended up in the wrong hands. But you can run an identity theft check in Canada to make sure you’re not in danger.
Some of those options include freezing your credit report, requesting additional copies of your credit report, and investing in identity theft protection services. Read on to learn more about each of these options.
Report a Fraud Alert
The moment you become a victim of identity theft, you should report a fraud alert on your credit report. You can do this by calling one of the major credit bureaus. Once you place a fraud alert, it could range from three months to 10 years.
You’ll find out the next steps to confirm your identity when a fraud alert is placed on your credit report. Reporting a fraud alert as soon as possible can prevent further action from taking place.
Freeze Your Credit Report
A freeze on your credit report involves the use of a password or a PIN before a third-party can access your credit report. This prevents unauthorized access to your credit report and score.
A freeze is different from a fraud alert in which it costs extra to place a security freeze on your credit report. If you’re already a victim of identity theft, then it’s provided to you at no additional charge.
Request a Free Credit Report
Each consumer is granted access to one free credit report from a major credit bureau every year. By requesting one every four months, you can monitor your credit history.
The only disadvantage to this step is that you can only request one free credit report at a time from each credit bureau. So if you can’t detect any identity theft on any of your reports, then you may not see it until the following year.
Purchase Additional Credit Reports
If you already requested a free credit report, you can purchase an additional one for $10 or all three for $15. You might be able to score a free credit report if you choose to sign up for credit monitoring.
Credit monitoring is often known as identity theft protection. This might benefit if you’ve become a victim of identity theft check Canada. Identity theft protection can help since they track every aspect of your credit history and financial life and notify you of instances of identity fraud.
These types of services come with a monthly or annual fee. However, some of the major credit bureaus may offer a free trial for identity theft protection. Just make sure to cancel the free trial before it ends to avoid getting charged. On the other hand, you may find that it’s helpful with monitoring and preventing identity theft.
Monitor Your Online Accounts
The next thing you should do is keep an eye on your online account. If your bank has online banking, make sure to sign up. Create a strong password with a combination of unique characters, lowercase and uppercase letters, and numbers.
Keep your username and password safe by not writing them down or leaving them out in the open. Make it a weekly ritual to monitor your online account to ensure no unauthorized charges are being made.
Invest in Credit Monitoring
The next thing you can do to protect yourself is to enroll in credit monitoring. While credit monitoring is expensive, it can help detect identity theft quickly and easily.
Compare the various credit monitoring services to the cost of ordering a credit report. Sometimes purchasing additional credit reports is cheaper than investing in credit monitoring services. If you want to sign up for credit monitoring, then get recommendations and read online reviews.
Pick Up New Check Orders
Identity thieves can also take your identity by stealing your check orders. Since it contains your checking account and routing order, a thief can use these checks to make purchases.
Whenever you order new checks from your bank or another provider, pick them up rather than having them mailed directly to your home. This can prevent them from getting lost in the mail and ending up in the wrong hands.
Protect Your Social Security Number
You want to make sure that your Social Security number doesn’t end up in someone else’s hands. You should keep it safe and secure at all times. Avoid bringing your Social Security card with you everywhere you go.
Never carry it around in your pocket or wallet. Don’t record your number. Don’t disclose your personal information in a public place when speaking to customer service representatives.
Refuse Pre-Approved Credit Card Offers
Ever get a stack of pre-approved credit card offers in the mail? Don’t just throw them out in the trash. These offers contain your personal information. Identity thieves use them to apply for credit cards under your name.
Shred all of your mail, including pre-approved credit card offers instead of dumping them in the trash. Or, you can contact the company and put a stop to them by opting-out.
Securely Pay Your Bills Online
Identity thieves can use your personal information to steal your identity. It doesn’t matter if it’s your date of birth or Social Security number. They can also use your personal checks when you mail bills to utility companies.
To avoid becoming a victim of identity theft check Canada, pay all of your bills online. If you can’t use a post office box, then paying your bills online is the next best option.