I was one of the unfortunate ones who was notified that my financial information may be compromised, thanks to Target. How can I protect myself from identity theft?
The short answer is that you likely cannot prevent identity theft. If a thief wants to take your personal information, they will. If the National Security Agency can have a security breach, nothing is 100% secure.
With Target’s security breach, we think they mishandled the situation as far as the press was concerned. The banks stepped up and reissued credit cards to protect their customers.
What you can do is be aware of your transactions and review your statements. To go further, you can place a credit freeze on your credit records. A freeze aims to stop fraud before it starts by restricting access to your file and forcing most lenders to deny credit to the criminal applying for it. However if you want to apply for credit, you will need to “thaw” your credit several days beforehand, which may be inconvenient to many consumers.
Some credit cards and banks offer credit monitoring services for a monthly fee. You can get immediate notification on any credit inquiry. You should also check your credit report throughout the year for suspicious activity. Consumers are entitled to one free credit report a year from each of the three major credit bureaus. Additionally, Georgia residents are eligible for an additional credit report. If you stagger your requests among the three major credit bureaus, you can check your credit report every three months.
Another area we believe you should check is your criminal record. A false event on your criminal record can be as damaging as misuse of your credit. Sometimes it is as simple as a mistaken identity with a common name like John T. Smith. However, according to a study by the Identity Theft Resource Center, 32% of identity theft cases are not committed for financial gain.
At Henssler Financial we believe you should Live Ready, and that includes understanding the impact of your credit history on your financial future. If you have questions regarding identity theft, the experts at Henssler Financial will be glad to help. You may call us at 770-429-9166 or email at email@example.com.