At Check Issuing, we have our fingers to the pulse of fraud, particularly check fraud, which is why identity theft is something we understand greatly.
Someone stealing your identity means someone potentially getting access to your bank account, to your credit cards, your driver license and even writing checks on your behalf (and not in the good Check Issuing way either). Preventing identity theft is of the utmost importance to you personally and to your business. But most people really don’t take many of the steps in order to make sure this doesn’t happen. Things like life, family, and work tend to get in the way of taking precautions and that’s what the bad guys depend on. Here are a few things you can do to help prevent this terrible crime.
Steps to Prevent Identity Theft
Use Lastpass: Lastpass is a free password manager. It creates strong passwords that are difficult to guess and difficult on computer ran programs to crack. I know you hate remembering all those passwords, I get it, that’s why Lastpass is so beloved, it makes all that easier. Lastpass is free on Desktop and only a nominal yearly fee if you want it on your phone. It plugs into your browser and automatically completes your user/pass combos. There are a few other programs out there that manage passwords for you, but I’ve found Lastpass.com the best.
Use 2-step authentication: Any time you are allowed to use 2-step authentication, use it. This basically means that you when you log into an account with your user/pass, you get a text message that gives you a code that you need to input into the website, then you are granted access. This means if someone wants access, they need access also to your text messages. Godaddy, Gmail, Lastpass and many other places offer this setup. This is one of the best identity theft protection devices.
Shred documents or turn off mailing: If you can, cancel the mailing of documents such as credit card statements and bank statements. Many banks offer to only post your info in your online account and not send documents. Online access is a much safer option, but if you are going to receive statements, make sure you shred them. You create an identity theft shield with this tactic.
Leave important documents stored safely at home: Don’t carry your social security card with you. That is almost asking for identity theft.
Credit monitoring: There are many places you can sign up to get credit monitoring, or you get a free report from the bureau every year so long as you request it. Consider purchasing credit protection services and also perhaps identity lock.
Checking Account Fraud Prevention and Identity Theft
While much of our Check Issuing blog is spent talking about the corporate lifestyle and corporate check disbursement advantages, today we’d like to focus on something much more personal: Personal Checking Fraud Prevention. Everyone has a checking account and many of us have probably encountered at least small events of fraud at one time or another. Whether it straight up checked fraud or someone stealing your debit card or someone just getting your checking information and using it for evil. We’ve all been there. But how can we do our absolute best to prevent these terrible, inconvenient instances? Well, believe it or not, some of the advice may well surprise you.
You may want to opt to NOT sign the back of your debit card. When you sign your debit card, you commit the ultimate fraud invitation. Your debit card has your card number and 3 digit access code on it for making live and online purchases, and your signature is the key to furthering the already existing fraud of someone having possession of your debit card. Leave it empty and just opt to show your ID when you make purchases if requested. This is a tough one for most of us because back in the day if you didn’t sign your CC, they wouldn’t sell products to you and in some movies, the cashier confiscated the card. Of course, that’s overblown, but nowadays you really don’t want anyone knowing how to recreate your signature particularly when they have your card’s vital information on it. Just show ID, much better solution.
If you can opt out of paper records, do so immediately. The less paper bank statements you have, the less opportunity for someone to get your critical financial information and begin the check fraud process. It only takes one mistake where you forget to shred those statements for someone to really sink their teeth in. These days, you can do everything online, including on your smartphone, and while that may sound unsafe, it is actually 100 times safer than paper documents floating around for people to use for the fraudulent activity.
Don’t have crappy passwords. You shouldn’t actually be able to remember your password, if you can, that probably means its no good. Get a program such as lastpass.com, which is free, to create really complex passwords and offer higher level security. If your bank offers you the opportunity at 2-step verification whereas you get a pin number sent to your phone every time you log into your bank account, you should take advantage of it. If someone can get into your bank account online due to a bad password, that’s no good and totally preventable.
While it may be tempting, its just better to not access your online bank account from public spaces such as coffee shops or restaurants. Many fraudsters use these connections to steal access codes and whatnot. You are better off using your phone’s 3g or 4g network rather than logging on to the wireless of a public place to access your bank’s smartphone app.
While check fraud and bank account fraud are very prominent, most of it is really super preventable if you just pay attention and do the right things.
How To Improve Your Data Collection
Yep I used a picture of a survey crew from the 1800’s to represent this post about data collection. Yep, I’m OK with that.
Collecting data in some ways could be the most important thing you ever do for your company’s product and client relations development. Knowing how people feel about your product or client experiences, understanding how consumers relate and use your product or website, is incredibly useful information. Having this information on hand allows a company to evolve and develop further ideas, or even to cease existing ideas which may be wasting time. For Check Issuing, we like to know those we serve, so how people feel about our third-party check disbursement product matters (wow, did that make us sound boring or what?). As important as data collection is, most companies either don’t do it or don’t really understand how to do it. Let’s look at a few ways.
Just Ask them. Yep, send them surveys via email or via outbound messaging from your site. On your site, you can have a pop-up exit window asking them to rate you in several categories and places to write in their thoughts and experiences.
Questionnaires. When people or customers leave your product, see if its possible to get them to give a few short answers regarding their experiences with your company. If someone cancels via phone, this is a great place to offer this. You should know if someone canceled you because they found a better solution for lower cost, or if they maybe just don’t need it anymore (the one you can solve, the other is just life).
Phone Interviews. Old fashioned, yeah. Effective, certainly can be. This one really depends on your business model and how consumers already interact with your product.
Check Issuing, Because We Are The Best Option.
Well, fancy that headline, will you? Check Issuing can take over the check disbursement facet of your company and simply put, change the game for you. When you use Check Issuing, you allow a reliable company with a combined 25 years of experience in merchant banking to take care of your check disbursement portion of your business. Hey, we all need to write checks, including every company out there, so why stress over it? What happens when you use us to service this portion of your business?
Happiness. Pure, unadulterated happiness. When you have the ability to focus on your business, your product, your company’s efficiency, you grow. Growth means outsourcing the things you don’t have as much experience into those who do. And that’s us. We have the experience to handle sending out checks to clients and customers. Happiness, that’s what Check Issuing fosters. Why not be happy?
Client Services. What? When do you call us you aren’t stuck pushing 2 and maybe 3, 4, or 5? Or yelling into your phone what your issue is only to get bounced back a number of issues that don’t have anything to do with your original inquisition? Maybe you just have a real simple question. Or hey, maybe you just want to say “hello.” That’s what we do also. We answer our phone. We provide real client services. Want to catch up with us on messenger? Choose a messenger and we can chat. Want to be pen pals? Kind of weird, but hey, we are up for anything if it means making you happy!
Professional appearance. Yep, you look more professional when your checks have your company’s logo on them and when your envelopes appear sleek. Want people to know you are the real deal? Impress them at every level.
Security. Our checks are secure. Our envelopes are secure. Heck, you can’t even go into our office supply room and pull out pens without providing us with your fingerprint. Ok, last part is a joke, but seriously, we have that check fraud prevention thing down!
We generally like all people. I’m not going to lie, there are a few reality stars we could do without, but we mostly just love all people. We love meeting new people. So please, just say hi. Contact us today, tell us about your business and let’s see what the future may be!