After the recent PSN hack many gamers no longer feel completely safe gaming online. Personal information such as credit card information, date of birth, and home address were all accessible even if there is no evidence of anything being taken. Identity theft is serious. Even if you’re able to minimize the damage financially, getting your identity back can be an administrative nightmare. With that in mind here are 5 tips to provide gamers peace of mind, and still game online.
5. Change your password frequently – Nowadays some logins are created with an email address and a password. If a hacker gets your email password he not only has access to your email, but also all the accounts you set up with that email (i.e. Amazon, PSN). Thus, a hacker could gain access to both your email and your online accounts. Changing your password frequently makes this more difficult.
4. Place a fraud alert on your credit account – A fraud alert is a warning that the major credit bureaus attach to your credit report. When you, or someone else, try to open up a credit account by getting a new credit card, car/home loan, cell phone, etc., the lender should contact you by phone to verify that you really want to open a new account. If you aren’t reachable by phone, the credit account shouldn’t be opened. However, a creditor isn’t required by law to contact you, even if you have fraud alert in place.
3. Monitor your credit card balance regularly – Monitoring your balance is a fast and easy way to determine whether someone is using your credit card or not. Report any suspicious charges immediately to the credit card issuer so that they can place a hold on the account, and prevent more charges from piling up. Afterwards, you’ll be issued a new credit card with a different number so that you can use your credit card worry free. It’s also worthwhile to shred any statements that have personal information such as date of birth and account numbers on them.
2. Get your Credit Report – You’re entitled to a free credit report once every 12 months. If somebody does have your credit card, and rings up a large bill it’ll show up here. Additionally, if any new accounts are opened in your name it will show up on this report. It’s also important to get your credit score from each of the 3 major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. Just because you have a good score with one does not mean you’ll have a good score with the other two.
1. Cancel the card – The moment you can confirm fraudulent activity has occurred, just cancel the card. This prevents future bogus payments from adding up. As long as a fraudulent charge is disputed a within 60 days it should be dismissed. You’ll most likely get a new card in a week’s time.