Smart identity thieves in Michigan know that most smart phones harbor a treasure trove of consumer data. If you’re like most Michiganders, you use your smart phone for communication, entertainment, and possibly transactions. It’s highly likely that you regularly check your bank and credit card statements on your phone. Why not? The modern cell phone is a very convenient device. However, if an identity thief knows how to extract your data after stealing your phone, you’ll find yourself in a bad situation. Recovering your identity can be a nightmare, but here are a few things you can do to stop identity thieves in their tracks. This will also help you protect your credit score.
What Michiganders should do if their Smart Phones Fall into the Hands of Identity Thieves
The second you realize that your smart phone is missing, you should take action. Even with a locked phone, there’s a chance that your personal data is in danger.
1 – First, try the “Find my Phone” feature to which most Michigan residents have access.
Because there’s a good chance the identity thief has turned your phone off, you may find that the app doesn’t work. Luckily, you can still send an erase command that will wipe your device (hopefully you’ve backed up your phone). If you don’t know how to do this, call your cell phone provider and ask the customer service representative to walk you through the process. While you’re on the phone with the rep, you’ll want to let them know that your phone has been stolen.
2 – Next, put a freeze on all banking and credit card accounts that you’ve accessed through your smart phone.
You should also check your statements to make sure that no fraudulent activity has occurred. If you do see unfamiliar transactions, call your bank and/or credit card issuers to start the process for reversing these charges.
3 – You’ll also want to check your credit reports for signs of fraudulent accounts that identity thieves may have opened in your name.
While you have your credit reports, go ahead and look for any errors that might be bringing down your credit score. It’s always a good idea to monitor your credit reports for inaccuracies even if your phone has never been stolen.
4 – Finally, you’ll want to turn on two-factor authentication for all of your online banking, credit card, and social media accounts.
With this feature, you must provide at least one more piece of information in addition to a password. Speaking of passwords, Michigan consumers should change all of theirs in the event of phone theft.
How Michigan Consumers can Prevent Catastrophe in the Event of Smart Phone Theft
No Michigander likes to think about their phone being taken by an identity thief, but it’s wise to take precautions just in case it happens.
It’s crucial to back up your device regularly. This way, if you’re ever forced to wipe your phone remotely, you’ll still have all of your files and pictures. Next, you should always make sure that your smart phone is locked when it’s not in use. Ideally, you should have a pass code that’s at least six characters long if you don’t use a fingerprint scanner. Also, find your phone’s unique serial number (often referred to as an IMEI number), write it down, and keep it in a secure place. This will help your service provider locate your device if it ever goes missing.
Another Way that Michiganders can Guard their Identities and Credit Scores
As mentioned previously, regularly checking your credit reports is a good way to ensure that identity thieves aren’t opening fraudulent accounts in your name. Unfortunately, data breaches happen all the time. Big companies like Target, Chipotle, and Kmart have all been notoriously hacked. And you never know when and where your card information might be stolen. This is why Michigan consumers should protect their credit scores by monitoring their credit reports.
Again, this will also give you an opportunity to find any errors on your credit reports that might be harming your credit score. If you find that there are items to dispute on any of your credit reports, you don’t have to tackle the process alone. Michigan residents can get a FREE credit repair lawyer to have credit report inaccuracies removed legally under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
The Free and Legal way to Get Better Credit
Don’t let fraudulent accounts and errors on your credit reports bring your credit score down. At Michigan Consumer Credit Lawyers, we’ve been cleaning up credit reports for consumers since 2008 for free. How do we do it? All of our fees come from the defendants in settled cases. This is why our clients pay nothing for the work we do.
Let’s start the conversation about what we can do for your credit. Set up your free consultation today by calling Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (248) 353-2882 or contact us on our contact page.