In 2016, Javelin Strategy and Research found that $15 billion was stolen from 13.1 U.S. consumers in the year prior. $15 billion! Identity theft fraud has become a growing problem. From government documents, to credit cards and bank fraud, the types of theft are boundless and the consequences severe. It can take years upon years to fix the issues that arise from having your identity stolen.
Being aware of the possibility and staying on the offense is the best way to combat identity theft fraud. Please take a look at these important tips from the Federal Trade Commission regarding identity protection!
• Review the charges on your credit cards and bank account statements regularly. Avoid simply glancing over them or passing them along to your bookkeeper to pay off -this is usually the first place unauthorized activity will show up! It may surprise you that many of the more sophisticated scams involve micro-transactions of less than $20! These scams often go unnoticed and will add up very quickly.
• Contact your credit card company or bank if an account statement does not arrive. An overdue or missing bill may indicate that someone called your bank using your name to change the billing address, preventing you from catching their shopping spree on your card.
• Don't give out personal information by phone, mail or online unless you initiate the contact or know the caller personally. Thieves may pose as bank representatives, Internet service providers, or government agents to get you to reveal personal information.
• Destroy or shred all unneeded documents that contain personal & financial information. These include credit card receipts, insurance forms, medical and bank statements, AND credit card offers.
Remember to be careful and protect your identity! I hope you found this information helpful. Please contact me with any questions regarding identity theft, or if you’re interested in finding out how Blackstone Financial can help you with your future investments.