(MoneyHippo.com) – Over 1.4 million people in the United States reported they were victims of identity theft in 2021. Thieves can use the stolen information to steal targets’ money, use their health insurance, or procure a loan. Untangling the mess can be a costly headache. Here are four ways to protect yourself from this crime.
- Halt access: Contact Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, the primary reporting companies, and ask them to freeze your account. The process stops you or anyone else from opening new lines of credit and limits access to your report. That way, if someone steals your identity, they’ll have a harder time doing anything with it. If you wish to open another account, you’ll have a passcode to bypass the restriction.
- Vary sign-ins: Using the same password across multiple accounts could tempt you, but doing so allows thieves to access all of those places by simply cracking one code. Instead, vary passwords and change them regularly.
- Check and re-check: Keep an eye on checking, savings, and credit card accounts to look for unusual activity. If you find anything suspicious, alert the bank or card company immediately to stop any additional financial damage.
- Stay up to date: Electronic devices regularly update to increase safeguards for user information. Be sure to allow the systems to update and use reliable antivirus software to search for viruses and malware.
Staying on top of finances and protecting your presence online could mean all the difference in stopping identity thieves in their tracks.
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