How to Check Your Financial Accounts For Identity Theft

Most people have a wide variety of financial accounts that they use each and every week. They write checks, use credit cards, ATMs and online banking. Every transaction involves some degree of identity theft risk. The store clerk might spy on your visa information while she processes a purchase. A hacker might monitor your online activity using a Trojan. Or someone might create counterfeit checks that they pass around a town that you have never even been to.

Monitor Financial Information It is important to monitor your financial information on at least a monthly basis. You must report any problems to your financial institution within 60 days. Here are some quick tips about how to monitor your financial information efficiently.

1. First of all, you need to make sure that all of your financial statements have arrived in the mail. It is quite common for identity thieves to steal your bank or credit card statement from the mailbox. For maximum protection, you should look into using a private locked mailbox and use that address to receive your bills.

2. You should mark down on the calendar when your bill is set to arrive. For example, my bills arrive in and around the 15th of each month. If your bill does not arrive, it is important that you contact the financial institution because the statement might have been stolen.

3. If there is a charge that you think is suspicious on one of your financial statements it is important that you report this charge immediately. Usually you have 60 days of coverage. The longer that you wait the more difficult it is to prove your innocence.

4. After you have read your bank or credit card statements you should shred all information. You can purchase a shredder for home office use for less than $100 from Staples.

5. Financial records should be kept in a safe place in the house. Some people keep their financial records in a small household safe. I know of one example where an individual had their tax return on their desk and the cleaning lady saw the Social Security number and passed it along to an identity thief.