This week is National Protect Your Identity Week, and while I’m sure every week is a national week of one kind or another, this is a good reminder to take steps to protect your identity.
They’ve got a great quiz on their website that can help you more easily understand the warning signs and risk factors for identity theft. I enjoyed the quiz and took away a few important points as a new parent.
- Children are at risk for Identity Theft. They’ve got a new Social Security Number, a clean slate from a credit standpoint, and are good targets for identity theft.
- Identity Theft could happen, even before birth. The Social Security Administration simply issues new Social Security Numbers, they don’t check to find out if they’ve been used fraudulently by someone. (There’s a great free tool to run a quick scan for your child – https://www.allclearid.com/child).
- Keep your usernames and passwords secure, and use different passwords as much as possible. I know this is a huge hassle, but if a website gets breached and it’s the same username and password that you use for multiple sites, you’ll need to change your password for multiple sites. It helps if you use a tool like 1Password or LastPass to generate complex passwords, and store them on your computer with an encrypted keychain. That all sounds a lot more complex than it is, I promise.
- Check your credit reports regularly. You can get free credit reports every year from each of the major credit reporting bureaus at AnnualCreditReport.com. Put a reminder in your calendar to pull one every 4 months and it will help you stay aware of what’s happening with your credit life.