Becoming a victim of identity theft or having your credit card number stolen is happening to more people, more frequently. Just recently, a Russian crime ring has amassed the largest collection of stolen internet log-ins and passwords, researchers say close to 1.2 billion. Among this they also managed to steal more than 500 million email addresses. The experts say that thieves are mainly using this information to steal user’s identities. Since most people keep the same login information for multiple websites, it is quite easy for them to get into the more important websites where the most valuable information about you can be learned. The best way to combat this is to never use the same login id and password for multiple websites. Besides the financial loss, is the time loss due to trying to solve the problem and the anxiety that it can produce. A core part of our financial plan here at Traditions Wealth Advisors is addressing identity theft issues and credit protection with all of our clients. The simplest and smallest steps can be your greatest aid in prevention of these problems. A key step is monitoring your reports from the credit bureaus, ideally every three to four months. You should look for credit companies with whom you have never had an account with, a credit balance that you know is incorrect, and past addresses that you never lived at. If you will have no need for new credit in the near future, another step is to go ahead and freeze your credit limits. This keeps credit companies from sharing your credit file with third parties. If you find out you do need credit, this can be undone quite easily. Our job at Traditions Wealth Advisors is to keep your financial information secure by reinforcing prevention techniques. We are currently working towards a paperless office. We take the time to shred any personal documents in our own office and we work hard to keep all personal client information private. The paper personal files and information are kept locked and secure at all times. We also keep as much of your personal information out of the “cloud” and instead keep it on our internal office server. All of these things can help us and you prevent credit card fraud and keep your identity secure.