Monthly Archives: April 2017

How to Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft

Identity theft is scary and can be extremely costly if you fall victim to it. There are lots of companies that offer identity theft protection. Although these services are beneficial, they can be expensive. Luckily there are many low-cost ways that you can protect yourself from becoming a victim:

  1. Use strong passwords that include upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
  2. Ensure that your electronic devices have updated antivirus software on them.
  3. Keep financial documents in a secure location.
  4. Don’t post personal information (i.e., address, mother’s maiden name, birthdate, etc.) on social media. Also, don’t send account information or social security numbers via email or text.
  5. Don’t give out your debit/credit card information unless absolutely necessary.
  6. Don’t click on links in emails and beware of email phishing scams. Don’t enter your account information online unless you know you are on a legitimate website.
  7. Use online banking to receive statements and review your accounts frequently (at least a few times a week) for fraudulent activity.
  8. Review your credit reports annually. You can request a free credit report from each credit reporting agency each year at annualcreditreport.com. It is a good idea to stagger the reports so that you review one from each bureau every 4 months.
  9. You can put a fraud alert on your credit report if you notice suspicious activity. You just have to contact one of the three credit bureaus (experian.com, www.equifax.com, www.transunion.com). You can also request a security freeze (for a small fee) on your credit report so that only institutions that you currently do business with can request your credit information.
  10. Opt out of unsolicited credit offers. You can opt out at www.optoutprescreen.com.

   -Kathryn M.

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