A recent survey from FICO revealed that a lot of consumers worry about bank fraud and identity theft. In fact, it appears that more consumers fear these threats more than terrorist attacks or losing a loved one. It makes sense that both bank fraud and identity theft are huge concerns in Georgia. Unfortunately, these types of crimes are on the rise in the Peach State. Even though banks, credit card issuers, and law enforcement officers are using more aggressive tactics to catch identity thieves, fraudsters and hackers are still at large. Luckily, Georgia residents can do a lot on their own to prevent bank fraud and identity theft. Victims of these crimes can also act quickly and take the right steps in order to minimize financial harm and credit score damage.
What the FICO Survey Reveals about Concerns in Georgia over Bank Fraud and Identity Theft
A portion of FICO’s 2017 North America Banking Survey dealt with top consumer concerns, and 1,000 individuals over the age of 17 were polled. When asked about what they are most worried about, 18% of consumers responded with “terrorist attacks.” The 2nd most popular response was “death or death of a loved one.” Surprisingly, though, the number one consumer concern, according to the FICO survey respondents, was “bank fraud and identity theft.”
It’s easy to guess that Georgia consumers and individuals throughout the country fear bank fraud and identity theft so much because it can happen at any time. No matter how careful you are with your personal information, it seems like one big data breach might thwart all of your efforts. It happened to Target, Chipotle, and Kmart, after all. Apparently, there’s nowhere to use a payment card that is 100% safe from fraudsters and identity thieves.
Another take away from the FICO study is that 86% of consumers are worried about the safety of their Social Security numbers. Of course, there are good reasons for these concerns. Many unlucky Georgians who’ve experienced identity theft know that identity thieves can wreak havoc with a stolen Social Security number. 76% of survey participants were most concerned about bank information theft. This is probably because fraudsters who steal bank information can take all of your available funds within minutes. The taking of credit card information poses less of an immediate threat to Georgia consumers, but it can lead to credit report issues and a great deal of frustration. This is probably why 58% of respondents named “credit card information” as the type of data they are most concerned about losing.
How Georgians can Prevent Bank Fraud and Identity Theft
Georgia consumers can protect their identities and personal information by exercising caution in several areas. If anyone asks you for your Social Security number over the phone or online, you should only give it to them if it is clearly necessary to do so. Also, it is unwise to carry your Social Security card with you. Instead, keep it under lock and key until you need it.
When it comes to online purchases, never shop on unsecure websites, and avoid shopping online while using public Wi-Fi. While out in stores, don’t let your payment cards out of sight. During in-store transactions, try to put a hand over your debit or credit card in case a fraudster is watching. You never know who’s looking over your shoulder.
Finally, Georgians must employ mindfulness when discarding sensitive documents. For example, never just throw away anything containing personal information – even credit card offers. Remember that it really is better to be safe than sorry, and shred everything. You can purchase a small shredder for home use, or you can take your mail and other documents to a local UPS or FedEx store. These places offer shredding services at reasonable rates to Georgia consumers who don’t own shredders.
Tips for Georgians on how to Recover from Identity Theft or Bank Fraud
Georgia identity theft or bank fraud victims must act quickly in order to salvage their finances and credit scores. First and foremost, anyone targeted by these crimes must file a police report. After that, you should contact the appropriate banks, creditors, and credit reporting agencies. If identity theft results in unauthorized transactions and fraudulent accounts, write dispute letters to the creditors and the credit bureaus. Next, request copies of your credit reports and check them over to verify the removal of all wrongful items.
Cleaning up credit reports after identity theft is often a frustrating process. However, Georgia consumers can get FREE legal help by contacting Credit Repair Lawyers of America. We make recovering from identity theft faster and easier with the services of an experienced credit repair attorney. Even if you haven’t experienced identity theft, we can remove mistakes and errors on your credit reports that could bring down your credit score.
The Free and Legal Way to Clean Up your Credit Reports
Don’t let errors or unauthorized credit card charges on your credit reports bring your credit score down. At Credit Repair Lawyers of America, we’ve been cleaning up credit reports for consumers since 2008 for free. How do we do it? All of our fees come from the defendants in cases that are settled. This is why our clients pay nothing for the work we do.
Let’s start the conversation about what we can do for your credit. Set up your free consultation today by calling Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (404)591-6680 or sending him a message through our contact page.