Nobody wants to have criminals steal money from their bank accounts or take out credit cards in their name to use for fraudulent purchases. That being said, many people don't take even basic steps to make sure that doesn't happen.
It might be because you're so busy with a million other things you don't even think about it. If that sounds like you, you need to start thinking about it before the worst happens. Trust us, it's much better to spend an extra minute on prevention than months or years of headaches trying to unravel the damage done by an identity thief.
That's why we're going to share with you five things you're doing right now that are putting your information at risk, and the simple ways you can change what you're doing to improve your security. And, because we talk about it a lot elsewhere, not a single one of these has to do with your online account password. Instead, we're going to start with another kind of password.
1. Writing your PIN on your debit cards
We understand that with everything there is to remember in daily life, everyone needs a little memory jog sometimes. However, writing your PIN on your debit cards isn't the way to do it.
If a thief, or anyone really, gets a hold of your card, there's nothing to stop them from making a cash withdrawal from your account at the next available ATM. They have all the information they need.
The same goes for writing your PIN on a piece of paper and sticking it in your wallet. Anyone who steals your wallet has everything they need.
As a rule, you never want your PIN and your card in the same place at the same time, unless the PIN is in your head. Even then, you have to watch your hands because a thief could still steal the PIN with a skimmer. Learn how to spot and avoid this huge danger.
If you really do have trouble remembering your PIN, try a service like Apple Pay or Android Pay that lets you authorize payment on your phone with a thumbprint. In a pinch, you could store the PIN in your phone behind a lock screen. At least the odds of a thief getting both at once, and being able to unlock your phone, aren't good.