While there are plenty of benefits to living in a technologically advanced world, there are also some things to be wary of, namely the increased risk of identity theft. Identity theft occurs when thieves attempt to use your personal information, often getting credit issued in your name so that they can use it for themselves. It’s important to take some steps to protect yourself:
Use a virtual credit card number. If you shop online, your bank or credit card company can provide you with a temporary credit card number that is only good for a short period of time. This will prevent identity thieves from stealing your actual card number.
Use secure online sites. Make sure that any sites asking you for personal information start with “https” rather than “http.” The “s” stands for “secure” and provides you more defense against potential thieves.
Check your credit report. Keeping a close eye on your credit report allows you to see if any credit cards or loans were opened in your name other than ones you’ve approved. Try to pull this at least twice a year.
If you do have the misfortune of having your identity stolen, the first step you should take is to contact your financial institution immediately. They should be able to freeze your account to prevent any further fraud from occurring in the meantime.