How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theftpar Andrew Rickard | October 16 2015 11:38AM
A survey conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) has found that two out of three Americans don't know how to deal with the threat of identity theft. The organisation has three pieces of advice on the subject.
The NFCC asked 563 people in the United States about identity theft, and 66% of the respondents said they would like to feel more protected but do not know what steps to take. The foundation notes that, according to the US Department of Justice, almost 17 million people were victims of identity theft last year. "With those numbers, consumers have plenty to be concerned about," says the NFCC, which offers the following suggestions:
- Consumers should monitor their credit cards, regularly reviewing payment activity and checking their credit reports at least once a year. This will not only help with budgeting, but it will also make it easier to spot and report unauthorized transactions.
- Chequing and savings account balances should be reviewed daily. The NFCC notes that the amount of consumer liability depends on how quickly the theft is reported.
- People should know what steps to take in case of credit fraud or ID theft, and make use of the various educational resources that are available. In Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have published an Identity Theft and Identity Fraud Victim Assistance Guide.
“Every minute of every day credit criminals are working to stay ahead of technology and law enforcement when it comes to stealing personal information,” says Bruce McClary, vice president of public relations and external affairs for the NFCC. “While there are laws and tools available to help safeguard personal financial information, the responsibility for identity protection ultimately rests on each consumer.”