One of the most effective ways to prevent identity theft is to be careful with your credit cards. If you have a history of missed payments or have recently applied for a loan, a hard inquiry will be recorded on your credit report. Late payments can hurt your score, so avoid opening new accounts unless you’re sure that you can pay them back in full. While it’s tempting to use your card to make big purchases, it’s best to use the card responsibly.
Fraudsters sometimes pose as reputable financial institutions and send fraudulent emails or callers. They might even use spoofing to make it appear like they are a trusted government agency or company. Don’t give out personal information to strangers, and always check contact information before proceeding. Skimming, which takes place when you use your card at a brick-and-mortar location, is another way to steal your credit card information.
Credit cards responsibly
While it’s tempting to use your credit cards responsibly, it’s important to remember that the more debt you have, the more risky it is. If you have a credit card with a $500 balance, it will look more responsible than one with a balance of $8,000 or more. You should also avoid opening a new account to cover an existing debt. A new line of unsecured credit will only lead to further exposure.