Have you had your credit card compromised with fraudulent charges?
If you are like most Americans, the answer is yes and probably more than once.
Just last week someone tried to charge an Airbnb (vacation house) to a credit card we had not used in years. Luckily the card had never been activated, but they tried to put the charge through 3 times!
In the future, you will likely answer yes to questions about other types of fraud related experiences. One being criminals opening liability accounts in your name.
This happened to me in 2015 and it was a nightmare to fix. Since that day, I have been strongly advising you to freeze your credit at all FOUR credit bureaus. This action stops criminals from opening liability accounts in your name, leaving you with a mess to straighten out.
My prediction is we will see a wave of this type of fraud in the coming years, as criminals have been waiting for the expiration of the 1 year “Free Credit Monitoring” Equifax offered after their September 2017 breach. If you value your time and mental health you must take the time to Freeze all FOUR Credit Bureaus (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion and Innovis).
Do you want to know the type of fraud that is NOW keeping me up at night? It is not a criminal charging something to your credit card or opening a loan or utility in your name. The only thing stolen in those scenarios is your time, not your money.
My biggest fear is the theft of your real money from your bank accounts, investment accounts, and retirement accounts or stealing your income by redirecting your paycheck or social security check. Recovering the loss of YOUR MONEY is more difficult and may sometimes be impossible.
Just like placing a credit freeze at the credit bureaus, there is a way for you to fight back by placing a Freeze at ChexSystems. Although I have been advising this action along with the credit freeze over the last 3 years, I am now STRONGLY recommending you take this very important step.
This quick and easy measure prevents criminals from opening bank accounts in your name. It lessens the probability of a criminal transferring your hard-earned money out of your bank and investment accounts or redirecting your paycheck or social security payments. There are measures in place at financial institutions to only accept an electronic transfer of like registrations, meaning the bank account where the money is sent must match your name. Thus, if a criminal opens a fraudulent bank account in your name, the transaction may go through. If a criminal cannot open a fraudulent bank account in your name it is less likely they can take your money. Click here to take this quick action now!
While fraud will happen to anyone, I am more concerned for my retired clients, friends and family. If you are retired, you are under attack at a higher rate. When fraud happens to you, it is more stressful, confusing and takes longer to go through the process of phone calls and paperwork.
With each breach, criminals on the dark web are compiling and sorting more and more information about you. This allows crooks to make more targeted fraudulent attacks, yielding greater levels of success.
The second “P” in The EPPIC Method™ stands for PROTECT. You must protect your financial house in many ways. Protecting your identity and protecting your money is imperative.
The “C” stands for COACH. We are here to coach you through the steps you must take. Just like a coach cannot play the game for his players, I cannot freeze your credit (although many clients, friends and family have asked!). What I can do as your coach, is design the game plan, share knowledge and experience while training you.
I have created several resources for you to feel confident on game day.
First listen to our “Protect Your Identity in a Virtual World” Podcast. Next watch our On-Demand Video where we will walk you through each action to “Take your Identity Off the Grid”.
After listening to our Podcast you will:
1. Know the names of all 4 credit bureaus and the role they play in your financial life.
2. Understand how to use a credit freeze as a tool to proactively protect yourself.
3. Know what Synthetic Identity theft is and how to protect your family.
4. Understand Identity Verification Software.
5. Learn how to protect yourself from Bank Account Opening Fraud using a ChexSystems Freeze.
Click here to listen and learn.
By taking our On-Demand Financial Bootcamp, we will hold your hand and guide you through the completion of each of the tasks below to “Take your Identity Off the Grid”
1. Take our recommended steps prior to freezing your credit.
2. Place a Credit Freeze at all 4 Bureaus.
3. How to Unfreeze your Credit Report when you need to use it.
4. Freeze the credit reports of the children, elderly and vulnerable adults in your family.
5. Place a freeze at ChexSystems.
6. If you have been the victim of identity theft, we will show you how to Put a Fraud Alert on your Federal Tax Return.
7. Download a tool to be able to analyze your debts and credit score and also receive free credit monitoring and ID Monitoring.
8. Request your free annual credit report.
9. Give your mailbox a makeover by Opting Out of all that junk mail.
Click here to take our guided Financial Bootcamp.
If you have questions, as always, we are here to help you Be More Healthy, Wealthy and Wise™!