Nearly two-thirds of Americans are scared more about identity theft or fraud than Halloween monsters. By comparison only 9% are afraid of the holiday’s horror movies, less than 3% are scared of haunted houses and about 1% are bothered by ghost stories. The survey for TransUnion and conducted by Zogby, also found that more than half of respondents either have, or know someone who has, been a victim of identity theft or fraud.
TrueCredit.com offers the following consumer tips:
1. Use a paper shredder to ensure personal information and pre-approved credit offers don’t end up in the wrong hands.
2. Don’t carry extra credit cards, your Social Security card, birth
certificate or passport with you unless needed.
3. When you order new checks, don’t have them sent to your home. Pick them up at the bank instead. Stolen checks can be altered and may be cashed by fraudsters.
4. Check your credit reports frequently to ensure accuracy. Consider a subscription credit monitoring service with a report locking feature to control when, or if, creditors can access your report and to receive email alerts when critical changes occur.
5. Provide personal information over the phone only if you’ve initiated the call. Identity thieves may call you and pose as banks or government agencies to extract this information.
6. Follow your billing cycles closely. A missing credit card or other bill could mean an identity thief has changed your billing address.