Identity Theft Week: How Can I Protect Myself?

thiefIdentity theft is becoming an area of increasing concern for many people, and not everyone has a gameplan to protect their personal information from thieves. Over the next few days, we’re going to discuss some ways to protect yourself, and what to do if you’re a victim.

First, let’s look at a few ways to protect yourself.

Here are a few tips to keep your personal information secure:

  • Beware of “phishing” scams. Do not answer or follow links on suspicious emails or pop-ups that request your personal information (passwords, user names, or PIN).
  • Never share personal or financial information (user name, password, social security number, etc.). We will never ask for this information in an email.
  • Install a firewall on your computer, and keep it updated. This can protect your computer from viruses, malware and spyware.
  • Receive electronic statements instead of paper.
  • Create strong passwords. Make them long phrases or sentences that mix capital and
    lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Use different passwords, especially for sites that keep financial information.
  • Never carry your passwords with you. If you write them down, keep them in a safe, secure place at home.
  • Change your passwords regularly and never use your social security number, address, name, date of birth or email address as part of them.
  • Always sign off when completing your transactions through internet/mobile banking.
  • Remember to protect all your mobile devices with strong passwords as well.

Here are a few additional resources:

  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has a site devoted to Smartphone Security. This includes an important checklist that can help you keep your personal information secure.
  • The FDIC has some great resources available for consumer concerned about their identity being stolen.
  • The Federal Trade Commission has resources available on their website as well. The FTC also has a microsite with additional resources if your identity is stolen or is at risk.
  • NCPW.gov is the US government’s official site for National Consumer Protection Week.
Experian

1-800-EXPERIAN (397-3742)

equifax

1-800-525-6285

Transunion

1-800-680-7289

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