There is a large part of the population who do not check their finances daily. At any given moment, these people do not know how much is in their checking account, savings account, and the balance on their credit card(s). I used to be the opposite. I used to check my financial records every day like clockwork until one day I didn’t. I began to check my finances less and less often until the day I received a letter telling me that my credit card had been declined for a recent purchase. Insert rapid heartbeat here!!! My mind started racing and I began to think to myself- wait, aren’t you paying for everything in cash now, when was the last time you swiped your card, and the kicker, do you even shop at the store where your card was declined? This is probably the exact moment when panic and logic set in. That’s right; Miss She Makes Cents herself, has become a victim of identity theft. Apparently, someone copied my credit card number onto a fake card and went on a shopping spree. At the moment, no one knows exactly how they got my number, which makes this process even more frustrating. Thank goodness my credit card company eventually declined the card due to suspicious charges, but at that point, the thieves had already done their damage. If I had been in the practice of checking my finances daily, then I would have caught the charges and recognized them as fraudulent before the credit card company. Here are a few tips to make sure that the likelihood of this happening to you is much lower.
- Check your financial holdings DAILY.
- Pay for things in cash. This one is two-fold. It will reduce the chance of someone using your card for one’s own pleasure but it will also cut the chance of you swiping your credit card on impulse.
- Contact your bank and/or credit card company to set up alerts. These alerts can let you know when your card has been swiped over a certain amount that you can decide for each card.
- Destroy all expired or inactive cards. Chop them up because your name and information is still tied to that card. In the wrong hands, thieves immediately know your full name and with whom you bank. Experienced crooks can use this preliminary information to dig deeper until they gather all the information they need to steal your money and information to open a new card.
- Actually open and review your monthly statements.
- Contact your financial provider if you are unsure about anything on your statement. Better safe than sorry.
Have you ever been the victim of identity theft?
Email SMC: firstname.lastname@example.org