‘Tis the season to safeguard your online credit

Technology can be a wonderful thing, but it can also leave all of us quite vulnerable. With all the
spending people did during the holiday season, each time you used a credit or debit card make you
vulnerable to having that information taken. Although its painstaking here is what Chuck Munson
Assistant Attorney General in the Montana Office of Consumer Protection would recommend.

“I know a lot of people consider it being very healthy for them to balance their checkbook,” Munson
said. “You need to go further and check your on-line bank statements weekly, but not just your
spending accounts. Check your savings account, if you have investment accounts check them as well.”

Munson says there is a cost effective secret to checking your credit reports.

“Go to annualcreditreport.com once a year at least and check it, that’s the way to have it be done free.

That if you just check with one of the credit bureaus at a time, you can actually get four a year. If you start at the beginning of the year, wait three months, go with the other, wait three months, go with the other, you can actually be checking your credit report free four times.”

There can still be some gaps that occur by doing this method and if you fall victim to someone who
obtains your credit.

“Include putting fraud alerts put on your credit report,” Munson said. “That’s not something that
freezes them all up, but it’s almost like a red flag that creditors see when they’re checking your credit report that lets them know this person suspects fraudulent activity on their account.”

And a final step is putting a credit freeze on which needs a PIN number to access.

“One key step is that you’re going to have that credit extended to you, somebody’s going to check your credit report,” Munson said. “What the credit freeze does is block anybody from checking it. That means if a would be criminal is trying to use your stolen information, because you are an id theft victim and that id theft is trying to get a loan in your name, they’re stop from doing it at the gate.”

It’s most important to safeguard your PIN and you can take this step for only a few dollars. Even
children are susceptible to this crime and parents are even getting credit freezes for their kids.

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