4 Easy Ways to Help Protect Yourself From Fraud and Identity Theft
In recent years, computer security has gone from being an obscure technical subject to an issue that’s regularly on the minds of average Americans. In fact, in 2016, there were over two million more victims of ID fraud, compared to the previous year. Sometimes, the problem seems so daunting that it feels like there’s nothing that you can do to stop it.
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Thankfully, there are steps you can take to make your personal information more secure, and the Discover card offers tools that can help you.
Here are four easy ways to help protect yourself from fraud and identity theft:
1. Know your credit score.
Many people only find out that they’ve become a victim of identity theft after they have had a loan application rejected. But instead of waiting until it’s too late, you can check your credit score regularly.
The Discover Credit Scorecard offers a free monthly credit score to everyone, not just to Discover cardmembers. This service also allows you to see your recent credit inquiries, payment history and credit utilization.
2. Strengthen your passwords.
It can be very difficult to manage the login information for all of your online accounts, but you still shouldn’t have simple passwords or reuse the same ones for multiple websites. Instead, try using a password manager to ensure your credentials aren’t easily stolen.
Also, consider enabling two-factor authentication that will keep your accounts safe even if your password is compromised. Two-factor authentication requires a one-time use code that’s sent to your smartphone before anyone can log in to your account from a new device.
3. Take advantage of free identity fraud monitoring.
Discover recently announced a free service that will monitor risky websites and alert cardmembers if their Social Security number is found*. This service also lets the customer know if any new credit cards, mortgages, car loans or other accounts appear on their Experian® credit report, by monitoring it on a daily basis.
According to Laks Vasudevan, Discover’s VP of Global Products & Solutions, “Consumers continue to worry about fraud and the sensitivity of their information online. At Discover, we’re looking for features that keep consumers ahead” of potential fraudulent activity.
To learn more about this feature and to enable it, customers simply log in to their Discover card account.
4. Scrutinize your statements.
There’s no way to completely protect yourself against identity theft , but you never have to be responsible for paying a fraudulent charge to your credit card.
The Fair Credit Billing Act states that credit card users have a maximum of $50 of liability in the case of fraud, but some card issuers like Discover have a $0 Fraud Liability Guarantee that ensures you will never pay for an unauthorized charge. To use this protection, you have to check your statements each month and report any suspicious activities.
Cyber criminals change their tactics all the time, but by taking these four proactive steps, you can help protect yourself from fraud, and help keep your information — and your financial life — as secure as possible.
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*Discover® Identity Alerts are offered by Discover Bank at no cost, only available online, and currently include the following services: (a) daily monitoring of your Experian® credit report and an alert when a new account is listed on your report; (b) daily monitoring of thousands of risky websites known for revealing personal information and an alert if your Social Security Number on is found on such a website. This information is intended for, and only provided to, Primary credit cardmembers whose accounts are open, in good standing and have an email address on file. The Primary cardmember must agree online to receive identity alerts. Identity alert services are based on Experian information and data which may differ from information and data at other credit bureaus. Monitoring your credit report does not impact your credit score. This benefit may change or end in the future. Discover Bank is not a credit repair organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. To see a list of Frequently Asked Questions, visit discover.com/freealerts.