Hey everyone, thanks for coming back for a new Monday Money! If you’re new to this whole thing, I’m Joshua Rodriguez. I write every Monday about ways to save or make money. Today, I’m going to talk about one of the scariest financial crimes out there…identity theft! But, enough about me, let’s get right to it…
Ever since there has been currency, there has been theft, fraud and more! Even in Ancient Egyptian times when beer counted as currency, there were people passing counterfeit beers and stealing jugs of beer from others. Unfortunately, for every 100 good apples, there’s 1 or 2 bad apples, that’s just the way it is.
As new, great ways to pay, borrow and invest become available, there is always a new con-artist or two trying to take a crack at the best new way to game consumers out of hard earned dollars. So, are you scared? Well, you should be but, I didn’t decide to write about this topic to scare you. As a matter of fact, I wrote it to empower you! So, on to the empowering…
Protect Your Identity For Free, Step By Step
Step #1: Keep An Eye On Your Credit Report – Your credit report is a surefire way to tell if someone has your information or not. The truth is, most identity protection services keep an eye on your credit report and throw up red flags when something just doesn’t look right. You can do that entirely on your own. There are tons of free credit monitoring services out there like Credit Sesame that you can utilize for tasks like this. Just make sure to use the tools available to you and check your report once a month to make sure that no fishy loans have popped up! If you find one, start by reporting it to the credit reporting agencies and research identity theft recovery.
Step #2: Safe Web Surfing – The internet has done amazing things for humanity! It has lead to a level of learning light years beyond what we could have imagined 100 years ago. It’s provided simple ways to save money, work from home opportunities and more. However, there are those pesky internet scams and con-artists! The truth is, not everything online is safe and, because of the nature of the internet, it’s impossible to ensure safety while searching. But, there are tools we can use to be 99.99% that our personal information isn’t stolen.
It’s all in the structure of URLs also known as web addresses. If you pay close attention to the URL you will notice that they all either start with http: or https:. These simple prefix’s tell us if the page within a website is secure. So, if you are purchasing a product, applying for a credit card or doing anything else that would require personal information it’s important to make sure that the URL for the site you’re entering information into starts with https:, meaning it has a security certificate.
Most browsers have tools for this as well. For instance, with IE, there is a small padlock graphic in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. If the padlock is open, the website is not secure, if it’s closed, it’s secure. Google Chrome uses the same padlock functionality however, their padlock is right in the address bar where you enter the URL.
Step #3: Keep An Eye On Your Financial Accounts – When many people get their checking account or credit card statements, they discard them, not thinking to read them. By reading through your financial statements, you can easily catch and report fraud. By catching fraudulent activity, you could save yourself tens of thousands of dollars in cases of identity theft.
Always remember, for every beautiful flower, there is dark, ugly dirt that’s full of worms helping it to grow. We have built the most civil civilization in humanity. Is it perfect…far from it but, at least we aren’t chasing members of the community down with torches and weapons at the slightest infraction of neighborhood rules anymore. However, no matter how much we grow as a civilization, there is always going to be the chance of theft, fraud and more. The key is protecting yourself. I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s Monday Money and I look forward to your comments!