Once you have established a quality credit score, you need to do your best to protect it by taking extra steps to prevent identity theft and other types of fraud. The following tips will help you do so:
Respond to to voicemail intelligently: If you receive a voicemail from someone claiming to be from your credit card company or bank, only respond by calling back the number that is printed on your card. This is the only number you can guarantee won’t lead to a fraud scenario. The same goes for emails, even if they appear to be legitimate, you should only ever contact your bank or credit card company through obviously official channels that you instigate to ensure they are legitimate.
Take extra care with signatures: Not many people are aware, but you can actually sign your credit and debit cards with the phrase “see identification”. While this will force you to show your ID much more frequently, it will also prevent anyone who is attempting to use it illegally from being able to do so. Unless they have a fake ID with your name and accurate signature they will be out of luck.
Be frugal with your credit card number: Ninety percent of the time any website that asks for your credit or debit card number “for identification purposes” has only dubious intentions in mind. Unless you are planning on buying something from the site you are going to want to avoid providing this information. The fever places that your personal details are available online the less risk you run of falling victim to fraud.
Be diligent about your privacy: Even if you have already set them to the max settings, it is important to check both your browser and social media settings on a regular basis to ensure they are as you left them. You never know when an update could have come along and reset them or changed something else that affected them in some way. It only takes one slip to allow someone with intent through, which is why it pays to stay vigilant. Likewise, every time you visit a secure website, take an extra moment to clear your browser’s cache and history to prevent anyone from tracking down personal information that way.
Unsubscribe sparingly: If you receive an email newsletter and you aren’t sure where it came from, never click the unsubscribe button. This will let the spammer know that they have a live email address and they will redouble their efforts, at best, or initiate additional tactics to procure your private data now that they have your email address, at worst. Even if the spammer has no ulterior
motives than to get you to read their newsletter you are always better off just hitting the spam button and forgetting about it.
Be aware of online store security: When you are shopping online be sure to make a point of never entering sensitive information if the website isn’t secure. You can determine if a site is using a secure connection if the web address starts with https or if it features a padlock icon in the top right corner. Either of these are an indicator that the website is encrypted which will make it much more difficult for fraud to occur based on the transaction. Entering your details via a standard http connection is
little more than asking for trouble.
Have varying passwords: In addition to the obvious, such as not using birthdays or loved ones’ names as passwords, it is important to have varying levels of password security for the most secure results. You are going to want to have at least one password for low-security sites that you aren’t terribly worried about being hacked, a more secure password for online stores and the like and a separate password entirely when it comes to banks or credit card websites that are more complicated
still. You should never store your passwords anywhere on your computer or anywhere in real life where other people, with potentially malicious intent, are likely to have access to and, if you must write them down, don’t keep them near your computer.