If you follow this blog, you know we find Consumer Reports to be a valuable resource for reliable information. While you are budgeting for your holiday gifts, we hope you are relieved to hear you can bypass the ID theft protection products on the market. According to Consumer Reports, Americans spent $3.5 billion in 2010 to buy products that are claimed to protect their identity.
Time has shown that do-it-yourself safeguards are just as effective as paid services. Many of the purported ID Theft products have been fined extensively by the government for deceptive marketing practices–Capital One, Discover Financial Services, Lifelock and others. Remember, you are eligible for a free credit report from each of the three reporting agencies every year. If you spread it out, that’s one every 4 months. You can also sign up for free online banking and mobile apps to monitor your checking and credit accounts daily.
The most important tool you have is vigilance. Keep an eye on your accounts.
When it’s time to discard personally identifying paperwork, the most secure method is to shred and recycle the paperwork. That one-two punch ensures your confidential data will not get into the wrong hands. For more information on shredding and recycling services, visit www.hvshred.com