Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information to commit fraud. The identity thief may use your information to buy services or merchandise, apply for credit, file taxes, or get medical services. These acts can damage your credit and cost you time, money, and emotional anguish to restore your identity. Use these tips to protect yourself.
- Don’t share personal information like your birthdate, Social Security number, or bank account number just because someone asks for it. Remember, your account representatives will not ask you to send them your username or password.
- If you leave town, place a hold on your mail until you return. You don’t want the personal information in your mail piling up in your mailbox.
- Pay attention to your billing cycles. If bills or financial statements are late, contact the sender.
- Use the security features on your mobile phone. Keep your passcode private. If possible, set up facial recognition to unlock your phone.
- Review your credit card and bank account statements. Compare receipts with account statements. Watch for unauthorized transactions.
- Shred receipts, credit offers, account statements, and expired credit cards. This can prevent thieves from getting your personal information.
- Install firewalls and virus-detection software on your home computer.
- Create complex passwords that identity thieves cannot guess. Change your passwords if a company that you do business with has a data breach. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a handy password checklist to help.
- Review your credit reports once a year. Be certain that they don’t include accounts that you have not opened. You can order it for free from annualcreditreport.com.
- Finally, report any instances of identity theft to the FTC at identitytheft.gov, or by phone at
1 877 438 4338. The FTC will collect the details of your situation.
As a benefits-eligible employee, you have access to MetLife Legal Plans for identity theft protection. MetLife provides tools and resources to help you protect your personal information and minimize your risk of identity theft. It offers proactive and resolution services if you suspect your information has been compromised.
You can elect MetLife Legal Plans during Annual Enrollment next month. If you enroll, you also get access to a network of over 15,000 experienced attorneys who can help you with a variety of other legal matters such as wills and trusts, real estate transactions, adoption processes, traffic ticket defense, and more. Learn more about this voluntary benefit on raquickfind.com.