Identity Theft Protection: Two Tips for the Holidays
Posted on Dec 16, 2007 by Tom Fragala
There are a lot of lists about identity theft flying around this time of year. 12 tips of Christmas, top 10 ways to protect yourself from identity theft...that kind of thing.
Well, to save you time and keep things simple (less is better), I am going to boil it all down to two tips, that most of you probably already do. But please, make sure you are diligent in keeping up on these.
- Check your credit card and bank account statements regularly. It's so obvious, you are probably rolling your eyes right now and clicking "Back" on your browser. But reporting fraud or suspicious activity in a timely manner is so important. Not just because the laws are stacked to favor you, but because banks more likely to push back on you if you don't report quickly (I found this out a few months ago personally). What is "quickly" or "timely"? Within 30 days if possible. But if it is a debit card or electronic funds transfer, reporting in more than 2 days could hurt (your liability is capped at $500), and more than 60 days could be disastrous (no cap on your liability). So check your statements (including checking and savings accounts) at least once a month, the day immediately after it arrives. And if you have online account access, try to check it more often.
- Check your credit report at all three credit reporting companies at least annually. This is another obvious one. Tip #1 above covers you for "existing" or account "takeover" fraud, while this tip covers you for "new account" fraud. Our award-winning MyTruston service can help you with this. It comes with a 45-day free trial, no strings attached, no credit card required. Sign up today here. It comes with several neat services to protect your privacy too, like opting out from pre-approved credit offers.
Happy holidays and Merry Christmas everyone. The above photo is that of my two dogs.