The protect principle of the MyMoney Five focuses on protecting yourself from scams, protecting against identify theft, and the importance of having insurance. It is important to protect yourself and your personal financial situation by having an emergency savings account, buying insurance, and being watchful over your identity.
Keeping your financial statements in a well organized manner can save you time and money in the event of a dispute between you and another party.
Identify theft can be a major issue for people. It is important to determine if your identity has been stolen. Here are some clues that someone has stolen your identity:
- You see withdrawals from your bank account that you can’t explain.
- You don’t get your bills or other mail.
- Merchants refuse your checks.
- Debt collectors call you about debts that aren’t yours.
- You find unfamiliar accounts or charges on your credit report.
- Medical providers bill you for services you didn’t use.
- Your health plan rejects your legitimate medical claim because the records show you’ve reached your benefits limit.
- A health plan won’t cover you because your medical records show a condition you don’t have.
- The IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don’t work for.
- You get notice that your information was compromised by a data breach at a company where you do business or have an account.
Here is a listing of steps for you to follow if your identity is stolen:
- Contact one of the three national credit reporting companies and have them place a fraud alert on your account and confirm that they will contact the other two companies.
- Equifax - 1 - 800 - 525 - 6285
- Experian - 1 - 888 - 397 - 3742
- TransUnion - 1 - 800 - 680 - 7289
- Order a free copy of your credit report from one of the three national credit reporting companies
- Credit an identity theft report log so you can keep track on the fraudulent activities so you can file a police report.
- If your financial information is compromised, such as your debt or credit card, contact your financial institution to alert them of the suspicious activities.
Having insurance can help save you money. Renters and home-owners insurance can protect you from theft or inclement weather, but make sure your coverage is adequate and only covers events that can happen to you. Make sure you are not paying for hurricane insurance while living in Kansas! Paying for health insurance each month will save you money in the long-term if medical bills do occur. Always check with your employer for health care coverage. Affordable health insurance can be purchased privately or under the Affordable Healthcare Act. Information regarding health insurance and the Affordable Healthcare Act can be found at www.healthcare.gov.