The first week of February is Identity Theft Awareness Week. It’s a good time to think about a sobering reality: your personal information has most likely already been stolen. Many entities have our personal information – credit card and bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, and health-related information – and data breaches have exposed it. So, what can we do to protect ourselves after the fact?
Here are three steps to protecting yourself against identity fraud.
1) Place a security freeze on your credit accounts with the three main credit bureaus so no one can open a new credit line in your name;
2) Establish online access to your financial accounts and monitor them regularly (you can typically set up text alerts for activity on these accounts);
3) Use unique passwords for every online account; consider purchasing a password manager that creates complex passwords and stores them securely.
Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.
Visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork or call the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 1-877-908-3360 to report a scam or get help if you’ve fallen victim.
This story is provided by AARP Maryland. Visit the AARP Maryland page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.
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