Don't let scammers stop you from starting the new year off right. The Better Business Bureau has 10 New Year's resolutions to benefit consumers.
BBB advises to do the following resolutions to avoid scams and prevent identity theft in 2020:
- Freeze your credit to restrict access to your credit file. This makes it harder for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. Thanks to a new federal law that was implemented in 2018, freezing your credit is free to do.
- Block unwanted calls using with the National Do Not Call Registry or Nomorobo. Nomorobo blocks telemarketers and robocallers. It's free to use for landlines and costs under $2 per month for cell phones.
- Check privacy settings on social media. Throughout the year, you might have signed up for things online using your social media logins. This may allow third-party apps to access personal information. Protect yourself by reviewing what apps and websites have access to information.
- Report scams to BBB's Scam Tracker. Reports are plotted on a map, allowing you to see what's happening near your area. The site shows when the scam occurred, type of scam, postal code, how much money was lost and more details.
- Make sure the charity you're donating to is reputable. Search businesses and charities on the BBB website.
- Pay securely. Gift cards and money wire transfers are the easiest ways for scammers to steal money. Credit card payments are the most secure method.
- Make your passwords complex. Easy passwords are the most common way hackers get into accounts.
- Use multi-factor authentication. When logging in , this privacy method asks for your password and another code that can be sent to your cell phone via email or text. Hackers who have your password still won't be able to access your account.
- Watch your financial accounts. Sign up for online access instead of only receiving statements in the mail. Get text message alerts to easily keep track of what's being spent and when payments are due.
- File taxes early. The earlier you file for your return, the less of a chance identity thieves have for submitting a return in your name.
“Being a savvy consumer is ultimately about staying one step ahead of scammers,” said Jim Temmer, president and CEO of BBB Serving Wisconsin in a press release. “The way to do that is to take your time and do your research before making a decision. The scammers are counting on you to be too busy to take these simple steps to protect yourself.