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January 22, 2020

5 Ways to Spot Identity Theft and 5 Tips to Prevent It

Learn how to identify identity theft and not become a victim.

The winter shopping season makes for the perfect opportunity for thieves to take action. According to a study by Grange Insurance, every two seconds, someone becomes a victim of identity theft. With the business of the holidays, you may not realize you might be a victim until the new year is well underway. Look for these warning signs and follow these tips to protect yourself and avoid becoming a victim.

5 Warning Signs to Spot Identity Theft

  1. Transactions that you didn’t make show up on your bank account or credit card statement. Even small charges can be a sign of identity theft.
  2. You receive credit card statements or see accounts on your credit report for accounts you never opened.
  3. Routine bills don’t show up as expected.
  4. You receive a two-factor authentication notice for an online account that you didn’t trigger.
  5. You’re unexpectedly denied for a loan, credit card, or healthcare coverage.

5 Ways to Prevent Identity Theft

  1. Keep your phone, computer, and wallet safe—a large percentage of identity theft is tied to losing important objects with personal information.
  2. Use credit cards rather than debit cards for holiday shopping—they typically offer more fraud protection.
  3. Only give personal information to trusted sources and ask why it is necessary.
  4. Update the anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-malware software on your devices.
  5. Surf the web safely. Avoid public Wi-Fi networks, only open emails from senders you recognize, and don’t click links or download attachments from senders you don’t recognize.

With so much of our shopping and bill paying done online, managing and protecting your identity is more important than ever. Follow these tips to identify possible identity theft and to help guard yourself from thieves and keep your information safe. If you see something that doesn’t look right on an account, credit report, bill, IRS notice, etc., we can help.