With numerous recent data breaches compromising personal and financial information, INPIRG offers the following tips for consumers:
- Check your bank and credit card statements regularly for fraudulent transactions, and report them immediately.
- Beware of phishing. Never click on any links in emails from people you don't know or give any information to anyone who calls you, even if they say they're from your bank. Instead, call the number on the back of your card and ask for the fraud department.
- Don't pay for expensive credit monitoring services. You have the right under federal law to look at each of your three credit reports once a year for free at annualcreditreport.com. You can stagger these requests — one every four months — to do your own credit monitoring at no cost.
Find more tips on identity theft at http://uspirgedfund.org/issues/usf/protecting-yourself-identity-theft
- Alec Sprague, Bloomington, Ind.