Take charge of your future
Monitor your accounts regularly
Monitor your accounts at least once a month. “Reconcile, don’t just scan them,” advises Kerskie. “Why? Federal law mandates that you must notify your bank within 30 to 60 days of fraudulent activity. If you do not, you could be responsible for the loss.” This time period varies from bank to bank, so check with your own bank to be sure.
Set up online accounts
It may seem counterintuitive, but Kerskie recommends setting up online accounts for all life’s businesses — medical, Social Security, banking, investment, credit cards, etc. “If not, you have a greater risk of becoming a victim of identity theft. If you’re not marking your territory, a criminal will do it on your behalf.” Using your name, address, date of birth and Social Security number, a thief could request online access to your account. Once the online access has been set up, thieves can change mailing addresses, initiate wire transfers and more. For those who do not have a computer, Kerskie advocates adding an extra layer of protection (a password or security question) to your account. In the event a criminal calls the general number for your bank, he would be denied access without that extra piece of information.
Kerskie also advises clients not to use real answers to online security questions that ask you to supply information like the name of a childhood pet or grammar school. Instead, use information from someone else, like a son or daughter, or friend.