The holidays mark the end of Identity Theft Prevention and Awareness Month. A lot of folks have offered tips on prevention and may have even scared you with high statistics about the problem. As identity theft is closely related to shopping — especially in the cyber world — we know that you’re concern now is how to confirm whether or not you have a problem on your hands.
Here are our tips on ensuring your identity is safe in the post-holiday season cool down.
- Review all of your credit card statements. Yes, it can be hard to recall every single purchase you made, but even without receipts in hand, you will recognize completely incorrect charges. Double-check that the purchases were local to you. Look at the names of stores and ask yourself if that would have been a likely place for a gift purchase. If you traveled, make sure you are seeing purchases that were in that area. If you made online purchases, check the company names and the amounts associated with each purchase. Remember, catching a wrong record early (before paying the bill) can save you a lot of time and hassle in the long-run.
- Check your bank account(s) before and after you pay your holiday bills. Do the numbers match up? Is there a discrepancy? If someone has access to your bank data, they will likely try to drain the accounts or even simply pay off some of their larger outstanding bills.
- Respond to bank, credit card, and other alerts regarding potential improper charges and fraud alert. Many companies have built-in systems to confirm that you are out of town and making purchases outside of your home state. Others track your purchase patterns and will notify you when a unique (usually large) purchase is made. While they can be erroneous, they can also be the first sign that someone has your data and is committing identity theft. Be sure to respond to emails, texts and calls after confirming whether you made a purchase. Even informing the company that you made the purchase increases their abilities to fight identity theft and protects you for the future.
If you’re still having concerns about your data, you can use various online sites like hasmyidentitybeenstolen.com to see if anything pops up. In serious cases, you may want to consider hiring someone to track your records for you.
AEGIS Security & Investigations is a Los Angeles region company that is licensed and insured in the State of California to provide high-end armed and unarmed regular and temporary off-duty police officers, bodyguards, security officers, loss prevention agents, and event staff. Additionally, we offer services for private investigation, consultation, people tracing, and background investigation. Our trainings and workshops in the field of security licensure and counter-terrorism have been featured in news media and are renowned for their efficacy. For more information or to contact us, visit www.aegis.com.
Author: Chelsea Turner & Jeff Zisner