My husband and I got some unexpected news last night. Credit card fraud--on our credit card! Ay Ay Ay! Among the words one dreads hearing. We have our credit monitored by a monthly service. We are careful with our info. The problem is you can never be careful enough, so safeguards are helpful.
Safeguards that are out there...
1) Always have an internet virus protection program on your computer if you have a pc. I understand that macs are not as vulnerable.
2) Use complicated passwords, not simple ones that have anything to do with basic information about you.
3) If you don't want to have a monthly credit monitoring service, definitely get a copy of your credit report once a year. A friend of mine had a credit card opened in her name by her ex-husband and the card was maxed out. Even though it was done illegally, it was still on her report. She closed the account, paid it off, and began to monitor her credit more regularly.
4) Don't give out your date of birth unless you really have to. Guard this piece of information carefully.
5) Be careful with facebook. I have been told by multiple computer folks about how easy facebook is to hack into. Teenagers have no idea how much info they put on there unwittingly. It's interesting to me that facebook is looking into ways to have accounts for children and that many parents already allow their children to lie about their ages and open accounts.
6) Be careful about phone calls you receive asking for information. If you are concerned, call the company back yourself with a reliable phone number.
And if you ever think it will never happen to you, it very possibly could. Unfortunately. I hope it doesn't!