With the New Year, you might be taking stock and making some resolutions that will keep you healthy in 2018. Don’t forget to resolve to keep your identity healthy. In this blog post, we will share some simple steps you can take to help keep your identity safe in 2018.
Resolve to: Monitor your credit and consider freezing it
Monitor your credit report in order to receive alerts when something changes. Here are three places to score it for free. Also, set up calendar reminders to get free copies of your credit report every four months so you’re looking at it throughout the year. Beyond just monitoring your credit, you should consider freezing your credit (we explain how to do it here). And be sure you freeze your credit instead of locking it. For the lowdown on the difference between the two, check this post out.
It’s important to emphasize that while credit monitoring and credit freezes might be a common line of defense, there are serious limitations. While it does help prevent some new accounts requiring a credit check from being opened (not all new accounts require a credit check), it doesn’t safeguard the accounts you already have open. Plus, it won’t prevent all types of identity theft. There are many serious forms of identity theft that won’t show up on your credit report at all, including criminal identity theft, Social Security identity theft, employment identity theft, tax identity theft, and medical identity theft. Medical and tax identity theft are the fastest growing forms of identity theft. We’ll talk about the most important defense — having an identity restoration membership — next.
Resolve to: Sign up for an identity restoration membership
Identity theft happens all the time, but what if it happens to you?
The average identity theft victim spends 200+ hours trying to repair the damage. If you have an identity restoration membership, that time is significantly reduced because experts perform the work for you. LibertyID is an identity restoration company and there’s no limit to the time or money we will spend restoring your identity to pre-event status. If you’re a LibertyID member and your identity is stolen, we will fix it. Here’s how it works. The minute you suspect your identity has been compromised, you call us. Immediately, we’ll open a case and from then on, a certified restoration specialist will take the necessary steps to restore your identity. That same point of contact will handle all of the legwork — things like submitting disputes to lending institutions, utility companies, cell phone carriers, etc. and researching and documenting erroneous info on your credit file and having it removed. We will keep you informed with regular status updates.
The bottom line is there’s really no better time than the present to become a LibertyID member. We’re the AAA of identity theft protection, offering the most effective identity theft restoration service. But just like with AAA, you have to get covered before there’s an incident.
Resolve to: Clean out your wallet
Chances are most of us have at least one or two things in our wallets that really shouldn’t be there, like a credit card we don’t use very often or perhaps a blank check. At the start of this new year, take the time to really clean out your wallet. You should not be carrying your Social Security card, medical card, or extra credit cards around all the time. Here’s a primer on what not to carry in your wallet or purse. One additional tip: Take a minute and photocopy everything you regularly carry around — front and back — and put it in a safe place, like a safe or lockbox. Can’t imagine the work to replace all of those cards? Sign up for an identity theft restoration service that helps you get your cards replaced–get covered.
Resolve to: Use unique, strong passwords
If you can remember your password, chances are it sucks when it comes to security. The best passwords are long and random; a passphrase is even better. For the latest recs on how to create the strongest passwords possible, visit our blog post. Whatever you do, don’t reuse passwords across sites. If you do, and one site is breached, hackers would then be able to access more of your accounts.
Resolve to: Take steps to prevent mail theft
Trust us, it’s worth buying a lockable mailbox or using a Post Office box to receive your mail. Why? “Anyone with an unsecured mailbox might as well leave their purse on the curb,” says Suzanne Ford, LibertyID’s lead restoration specialist. She’s helped enough clients who had mail theft play a part in their identity theft case that she recommends clients purchase a lockable mailbox. For more tips on preventing mail theft, visit our blog post.