I recently had a conversation with someone about identity theft. I have experienced it myself, but thankfully it cost me only a lot of time and stress.
This person was not so lucky.
Someone had been monitoring their email for about a year. They slowly got enough information to be able to hack his investment account and clean it out. As emails came back the thief was deleting them so that he would not be aware of the activities.
Unfortunately, in our digital age, this is becoming more common and it takes some planning to minimize our risk. Here are a few things you can do to make it more difficult:
- Enable the text notifications on financial accounts that alert of changes or require passwords texted to make changes. It is a pain, but less so than getting your identity and money back
- Consider using a forwarded email address instead of your real one for all financial email. They can’t log into a forwarded address.
- Change your passwords often (monthly) and significantly
- Activate your online portals. Most institutions will only allow one portal per SSN. If yours is not activated someone can activate one in your name and you will be unaware.
- Bury your valuables in mason jars.
- Look at your statement’s activity regularly. Many thieves slowly bleed an account rather than take it all at once.
There are of course many other ways to minimize the risks, but these are few that will at least make a thief move on to an easier target.