COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) - The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs wants to inform consumers of some free and simple monitoring tools that can be used to protect against identity theft.
The SCDCA says monitoring financial and benefits statements is integral in identity theft protection. Financial institutions and government agencies offer free monitoring tools to aid the fight against identity theft:
- Financial Account Alerts. Many financial institutions offer an account "alert" system, notifying the consumer if a charge or purchase on their account exceeds a threshold amount, or if their balance falls below a certain number. Consumers can often customize the ways alerts are received; i.e. text, call or e-mail. Every financial institution is different, so consumers should contact their financial institution directly to see what account alert options are available.
- Request your IRS Tax Return Transcript. These transcripts are free and outline most of the information included on a tax return submitted with the requestor's information. Consumers should review the document for signs that someone is reporting earnings, or filing taxes in their name. To request a transcript, visit www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Return-Transcripts, call 800-908-9946 or use the IRS2Go mobile app.
- Social Security Administration's Online Tool. Whether retired or still working, consumers can create an online "My Social Security" account to gain instant access to their social security information. Once logged in, consumers can review benefit and payment information, address and phone number on record and more. Reviewing this information regularly is an important step in catching possible identity theft quickly. For more information on this program, visit www.ssa.gov/myaccount.
For more identity theft information, visit www.consumer.sc.gov and click "Identity Theft Resources" or call 1-800-922-1594.