Credit refers to your “creditworthiness”, or how reliable and responsible you look in the eyes of lenders. It determines your ability to borrow money or access certain goods and services before payment.

Credit is also defined as an agreement between a lender and a borrower. Credit is an umbrella term which covers things like credit cards, credit reports, credit scores, credit history and having credit in your accounts.

It is critical that you monitor your credit, and ensure that your credit lines and credit report is protected from identity thieves. You don’t want negative items on your credit report, and you don’t want your identity, and finances to be stolen. If you are a victim, contact Fair Credit immediately to help you clear your name and credit report the right way today!

How You Can Protect Your Credit From Negative Impact Related To Identity Theft

1. Reviewing

Monitor your credit reports! Look closely for any suspicious signs. Items on your report that you are not familiar with, or have never heard of, should be investigated. These include random purchases, purchases made in unfamiliar places, unauthorized accounts making credit inquiries to open new lines of credit, a very low credit score resulting from a huge credit utilization increase, increased debt, or too many hard inquiries.

Use the free credit report pull provided by each of the 3 main bureaus every year to check for any suspicious activity. For the remainder of 2022, the credit bureaus will allow all Americans weekly access to their credit reports for free, to mark the end of the ruling that was made at the beginning of the pandemic to help consumers manage their finances during a period of gross inflation, job loss, and health challenges.

Following the end of this ruling, consumers will have to revert to paying a fee to receive credit reports at other points during the year.

What To Do?

You can dispute the inaccuracies, or unfamiliar information by contacting the bureaus directly, or contacting the respective lender. Remember to report fraud, or identity theft if you have proof that you are a victim.

2. Freezing

When applying for a new line of credit, lenders will look at your credit report before deciding if you are a suitable borrower. Identity thieves will often attempt to open new lines of credit in your name to keep themselves undercover and safe from authorities. They do this because it is less suspicious to lenders when you apply for a new line of credit, then it is to have random unauthorized charges made on your existing credit accounts.

What To Do?

If you want to protect your credit against such criminals, request a security freeze. A security freeze prevents unauthorized persons, or parties to make a credit inquiry to open a new line of credit.

3. Identity Protection

As a result of technological developments, there are a few ways in which you can protect your personal information.

Two Factor Authentication – when using smartphone apps, or online banking there is usually an option to turn on two-factor authentication. This authentication makes the login process for financial websites and apps much more secure.

You can set up a numerical password, as well as a biometric passcode, or similar security locks. In addition to this, you can set up your accounts to send you a new pin code each time you enter the site/app, which makes it harder for thieves to access your accounts quickly.

A message is usually sent to your chosen backup email or phone number to alert you, and ask you to verify whether you are trying to access your account from another device, or location.

Password Manager: Do not save your passwords when you receive prompts via the internet. Do not use the same password for multiple accounts. Try to vary your passwords by using numbers, letters, and symbols. Try to avoid using birth dates, names, or any personal information that someone can access as your password.

You can generate random passwords on most websites, or apps. These passwords are basically impossible to guess because they are robotically processed.

Make sure to change your passwords occasionally, so that people who may have seen you entering your password cannot access your accounts in the future.

General Tips: Don’t stand at an ATM for too long, and make sure that nobody is nearby and able to see your PIN. Make sure you do not give any personal information out to strangers. Don’t give your credit card information to anybody. If you receive a message, or a call from your bank, or someone who works for your bank (e.g., In the Fraud division) make sure to contact your bank directly and query the communication before doing anything else. Most of the time these are scams. If something is wrong with your account, the bank can contact you to set up an appointment at your nearby branch.

Bottom Line

As technology advances, criminals learn to adapt their methods to new security measures. You must be extremely cautious with your banking details, and banking app passwords. Do not give anyone personal information, or details relating to your credit. You never know who could be trying to commit theft.