Are your protecting yourself against credit card fraud?

Due to the recent global economic crisis, credit card fraud has been identified as the #1 fear among Americans above a national health epidemic and terrorism*. Concern of identity fraud supersedes most worries in the country and as a result many people are beginning to take it very seriously.

Poor credit can damage your financial reputation and leave you with high interest rates and lender rejections. Bad credit can even keep you from renting an apartment or landing your dream job. Your credit score is an extremely important part of your life and as a result it needs to be continually monitored and verified for accuracy and safety.

Why is it important to keep tabs on your credit profile?

Identity theft is on the rise and most people simply do not understand how to prevent it. It’s not as simple as guarding your personal belongings from thieves on the street. Most identity theft occurs without any awareness from the victims and often involves someone they already knew. Whether you answer a text that seemingly comes from a trusted source or somehow your credit card information is hacked, it’s hard to escape the chance of identity theft.

How can you protect yourself?

Though you can’t ensure your safety 24/7, monthly credit monitoring is a step in the right direction. Here are some things you can do right now to protect yourself:

  • Monitor your bank and credit statements for unauthorized transactions. Take time every week and reconcile your receipts with the charges on your statements.
  • Monitor your credit report. You are entitled to a free credit report on a yearly basis. Verify the credit card information and scan it for any new credit accounts you did not open.
  • Online Security – Check for security certificates when shopping online. If you click on the security logo, the certificate will give you pertinent information. Check to make sure it is not outdated and that it has at least 128 bit encryption. Also, the url on the page where you enter your personal information should contain an “s”. Example: https://
  • Shred your Documents – Shred any documents which include your personal information, even as seemingly insignificant as your name and address.

If you cannot handle most of these tasks, you can hire a professional agency to monitor your credit reports and any suspicious activity. Regardless, it is important for you to take control of your finances and realize that identity theft is a rising threat that must be taken seriously. The good news is that if you take action and make informed decisions, you can definitely tip the scales in your favor.

*(Source: Unisys Security Index: United States, March 2009)

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