It's a scary to think of someone stealing our money. When we hear about millions of accounts being hacked, we wonder "What can we do to protect our identity and our money?"
1) Look at your financial account statements frequently and report anything that looks odd to your financial institution immediately.
2) Sign up for text alerts for your financial accounts. You can be notified of withdrawals to your account as well as low balances.
3) If you can comfortably pay off your credit card completely at end of month, use credit cards rather than debit cards. Debit cards are not as protected by federal legislation as credit cards. Legislation limits our loss due to credit card fraud to $50, but for debit cards our loss could be everything in our account. For more information about this read "Lost or Stolen Credit, ATM, and Debit Cards" on the FTC website.
4) Link your debit card only to your checking account and do not keep too much money in that account. Keep larger amounts of money in your savings account.
5) Check your credit report and look for any signs of identity fraud. Check all three credit bureaus' reports for free at www.annualcreditreport.com. You can check your reports once a year for free.
For more about this topic read Pam Atkinson's blog posts:
- Goodbye old friend. Why a major retailer may make me change my buying habits.
- Chips A-Hoy. Why I am going back to cash only until my cards are more secure.