It’s been in the news again,… the discovery of skimming devices at ATM machines. Between this and continual reports of security breaches at major retailers, it is becoming clear that we live in a world where identity left is a constant and real concern. How can you protect yourself? Here are a few tips on avoiding identity theft in Massachusetts.
When using ATM’s and other machines, if something doesn’t look quite right, then follow your instincts. First, it may be best to not use that particular machine. Secondly, report your concerns. Machines that are left out in the open at all hours may be more prone to tampering.
Monitor Your Accounts
We all make the mistake of merely glancing at our credit card and bank statements. You can easily miss fraudulent charges this way. Be sure to check each line item and do so frequently (online) if possible. The earlier you catch a problem, the better. Immediately notify your bank so that they can cancel that existing card and issue you a new one.
Guard Your PIN
When using your card at local retailers and given the option of debit versus credit, opt for credit. This prevents you from needing to enter your PIN number. Only use your PIN when absolutely necessary and hide your entry as much as possible. There have been cases of people using security cameras to identify card and PIN numbers, so be aware of the eye in the sky.
Shred Old Cards and Paperwork
Don’t make it easy for people to find out your credit card number. Credit card companies are getting better about not printing your entire account number on statements. If you do have statements with full numbers, be sure to shred them. Better yet, get electronic statements instead of paper ones.
Another source of card numbers are old cards. Recently, banks have been issuing new cards more frequently. Be sure to shred the old cards. Simply cutting them in half is not enough. Cut them into smaller pieces and maybe even throw away those pieces in separate trash bags. The harder you make it to re-compile those numbers, the more difficult it will be for someone to steal the information.
More Ways of Avoiding Identity Theft in MA
The best advice is to simply be smart about your identity. Don’t throw away items that contain personal information without first shredding it. Avoiding giving out information unless absolutely necessary. Review statements and receipts regularly to catch errors early. Most importantly, use your instincts. If something doesn’t seem or feel right, be overly cautious. The above ways to avoid identity theft in MA are just a few basic tips to get your thinking about your identity.