This can be a difficult task in our day and age. With new technology always progressing and moving into the online world, you have to be especially careful. Here are some tips to help protect yourself from fraud and identity theft.
Banking account tips: Always report lost/stolen cards and checks immediately. Review your bank statements regularly and go through each charge. Ask your bank if you find anything that could be a suspicious charge. Lastly, only carry your checkbook with you only when necessary.
Debit/Credit card tips: Always keep your card in a safe and secure place. Do not send your card information through email because email is typically not secure. When choosing your PIN don’t select something that you could also find in your wallet such as your name, birthday, or phone number. When you are done using a card, cancel it and cut it up.
Online Security: Use unique usernames and passwords for different accounts and update them regularly. Protect your passwords. This means not writing them down or sharing them. Keep your security question answers to yourself! Avoid sharing information like your birthday, home address, pet’s names, mother’s maiden name, or where you bank on social media sites. These are answers for commonly asked security questions and fraudsters can easily tap into your information by having these answers. Simply keep your personal information private, even on social media. Always review privacy options on each social media site!
Only use websites that are secure. If you are buying something online, make sure the site has https at the beginning.
Mobile Security: Keep your personal information private. We cannot stress this enough! Personal information includes account number, passwords, social security number, and date of birth. Don’t share any of these things over text, through a phone call or via email. Don’t store your banking password on your phone or in an app where it could be discovered if your phone is stolen and if you use an app for banking, make sure to log off every time you finish using the app.
To sum it up, keep these tips in mind!
- Shred documents/cards after you are done using them.
- Secure your mail. Don’t mail outgoing bill payments from your home.
- Keep your SSN safe. Never carry it with you or put it on your checks. This is one of the most used piece of information to access
- Don’t leave a paper trail. Never leave ATM, credit card or gas station receipts behind.
- Don’t let your credit card out of sight. Always keep an eye on your card or pay with cash.
- Monitor your Credit report
- Review bank and credit card statements carefully for suspicious charges.
If you have been a victim of financial fraud or identity theft, go to https://www.identitytheft.gov/ to report the crime.