Identity theft is a growing problem and it’s only going to get worse as technology advances. As professional Over the Road drivers I feel we are at even more risk. We are constantly using Debit/Credit cards and showing our ID to strangers at many shippers and receivers. We are doing this in different cities and states. The chances are pretty good we will have someone attempt to steal our information at some point.
Here are a few things we can do to prevent this.
- Use an Employee ID when possible. Sometimes when Driver Identification is required the shipper or receiver will accept official company ID. Offer this first, all they can do is say no.
Pay Cash. In this day and age, cash is being used less and less. It is easier to carry a card and swipe. With every swipe comes a risk though. People are now installing “skimmers.” These “skimmers” are devices that are put over or replace the unit we swipe our cards through. These “skimmers” then take all of the data stored within the magnetic strip and stores it. The bad guys can then retrieve this information and gain access to your funds. I use cash 99% of the time. One swipe at an ATM is less dangerous than multiple swipes throughout the week. Most of the time I will get my cash if I stop at a grocery or department store to restock the truck. This eliminates any additional fees. Getting a cash advance is another way to get cash without the need to swipe a personal credit/debit card. There can be extra fees associated with this though.
Be Careful When Using Public Wi-Fi. This is another point of access for the less than scrupulous. If possible, use a device that contains no personal banking or financial information on it. Pay attention to any odd behaviors of your device and don’t just accept “Terms of Agreement” or allow “Permissions” without knowing what you are allowing.
Shred any Old Documents. Pay Stubs, bank statements and medical bills all contain tons of information that can be used to gain access to your funds. When it comes time to destroy them, don’t just throw them away. Shred them. Shredders are inexpensive and a great way to make sure nobody can get your personal info.
Check Bank and Credit Card Balances Frequently. This is a great way to detect any suspicious activity. Report anything that you did not approve immediately. Catching this activity early is the best way to lessen the damage.
Subscribe to an Identity Theft Protection Service. These companies monitor your credit activity and alert you to any suspicious activity. Many of them will help you in cleaning up the mess created by these identity thieves. There is also a fee for this monitoring, but it is usually inexpensive and well worth it if someone tries to take a vacation or buy a car on your dime. LifeLock is one such company that comes quickly to mind.
Take care and be careful. You work hard for your money. Don’t let someone else take it.