Year after year, identity fraud reaches new records. And online shopping is leading the charge. Fraud where the card isn’t even present is now more common than point-of-sale fraud. Protect yourself from identity fraud by following these four simple steps.

1. Watch Your Accounts Like a Hawk

Once identity criminals have your personal information, they can use it any time — even six months or more after the initial information breach. Check your bank accounts regularly, scanning for fraudulent charges. If you see a charge at a suspicious shop, from a foreign country or for a wrong amount, call your bank. Remember: Suspicious charges can be both large and small — sometimes thieves make small purchases to “test” the card.

Tip: Services like Mint aggregate your finances and make it easier to see all your charges — and possible fraudulent activity — in one spot.

2. Cancel Any Exposed Cards

If you know that your card or account has been exposed, cancel and replace the card to reduce the risk of fraudulent charges on the account. Don’t forget to update your automatic payments with your new card information.

Tip: The sooner you cancel the card, the better you’ll protect yourself from identity fraud. You likely won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges, but it’s still best to report it immediately.

3. Consider Placing a Temporary Fraud Alert

Fast action can help ensure that nobody opens a new account in your name. Call one of the three credit reporting agencies — TransUnion, Equifax or Experian — to establish a free 90-day fraud alert on your credit report. You can renew a fraud alert every 90 days, or opt for an extended, seven-year fraud alert.

Tip: To restrict access to your credit report, place a credit freeze on your report. This can help prevent misuse of your accounts, but you must call to lift the freeze.

4. Enroll in an Identity Theft Prevention Program

Quick detection and rapid response can reduce your risk of identity fraud and theft. With identity theft protection and credit monitoring, you’ll receive notifications of changes to your account that could indicate fraud. Plus, you’ll have access to a fraud professional who can help resolve identity fraud issues.

Tip: Identity theft coverage helps you get back on your feet after a breach. Your Farm Bureau fraud professional will take you step-by-step through the process to quickly resolve the issue and protect your identity going forward. 

Is Your Identity Safe?

Protect yourself from the fastest growing crime in America. Farm Bureau’s Identity Services and Fraud Expense Coverage helps minimize your risk, monitor your exposure and manage restoration after a fraud. Talk to your local Farm Bureau agent today.