Help! Someone Stole My Identity!
(FinancialHealth.net) – Identity theft totally sucks, period. If your identity has been stolen, the Federal Trade Commission says you should call them at 1-877-438-4338 or use their website at IdentityTheft.gov to file an official report. Read on for additional steps to limit the damage and recover your losses:
Review ALL Account Statements
Look for any new or unfamiliar charges. If you notice anything suspicious, contact your bank or card issuer and report the fraudulent activity. They will cancel any current credit or debit card numbers and issue you new cards and account numbers.
Pull Your Credit Report
Check for any new or unfamiliar inquiries or accounts on your report. We love Credit Karma for free access to valuable credit tools. If you notice anything suspicious, contact the company listed on the account and confirm or report the fraudulent activity.
Set-Up ID Monitoring
Also available from Credit Karma or your bank, you can enroll in ID monitoring with a few clicks and that will notify you of new credit accounts created under your name and social security number.
Change Your Passwords
Reusing the same password on multiple accounts (AKA “portable passwords”) is incredibly dangerous. It’s essential to set different complex passwords for each account. Our favorite tool for creating and managing complex passwords is 1Password. Alternatively you can easily remember your own non-portable passwords by using this password strategy.
Call the Police
This is especially important if you know who stole your identity or if you believe someone has used your name during the course of any legal interaction. Even if you are not sure who stole your identity, some creditors will require a police report in order to help you resolve charge disputes.
Freeze Your Credit Reports
The three main bureaus Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion offer options to freeze your credit reports, giving you additional control over who and when your credit report is accessed.
It takes time, diligent effort and patience to recover from identity theft, but you can do it. Hopefully you never need this advice, but if you ever do, now you know.
~Here’s to your Financial Health
Copyright 2020, FinancialHealth.net
What’s The Most Common Vulnerability Leading to Identity Theft?
Smart Quiz: What’s the most common vulnerability leading to identity theft?
Answer: Weak Passwords!
If the last 24 months brought nothing else, it offered the stark realization that Americans are quite vulnerable when it comes to their digital security. People who are lazy with their digital security are far more likely to be victims of identity theft, fraud, and financial losses.
The most important step to protecting your digital self is to begin using fresh non-portable passwords immediately.
Here’s how you do it:
- Create a 7-9 character root password with at least (1) capital, (1) number, (1) symbol and no personally identifiable information in it.
- Write down your root password in a safe place.
- When accessing a website, make a simple pattern you can count on that is taken from letters in each website’s URL that you are accessing. By modifying your root password based on the site you are accessing, it can only be used at each specific website. Then, if it’s stolen, it cannot be used to hack your other accounts around the web.
- For example, let’s say your root password is: WeLove2Kidz! and you want to access Yahoo.com more safely. You could use the first and last letters of “yahoo” to make your root passwords usable at Yahoo only.
- On Yahoo, the first and last letters are Y & O, so you just decide where you will insert them in your root password and stick with the same pattern on other sites, to make it easy to remember.
- Here is an example of a URL-modified password for the following 5 sites. In this example pattern, we add the first modifier after the “We” and the next one second to last.
- Yahoo.com – WeYLove2kidzO!
- Gmail.com – WeGLove2kidzL!
- BankofAmerica.com – WeBLove2kidzA!
- Wellsfargo.com – WeWLove2kidzO!
- Chase.com – WeCLove2kidzE!
It sounds complicated at first, but don’t worry, you’ll get much faster at using this method—with a little repetition. Remember, this is just one example pattern, you can change yours up any way you like. The most important thing is that your password is no longer portable.
Before you super geeks rip into me about how easy a simple pattern like this is to hack, you need to consider the best tool for the job. In this case — the best tool is the easiest one people can remember how to use, and one that stops most of the mass market hacks. Hackers and thieves prey on easy targets since there is no shortage of them. Non-portable passwords are usually not worth the trouble to hack.
Copyright 2019 – FinancialHealth.net