Identity Theft Prevention
Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing types of financial fraud. Without stealing your wallet, a crook can steal your financial identity with as little information as your Social Security number. Use these tips to help avoid having your identity compromised:
Protect your computer. Install up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware protection. Use a firewall when you browse the Internet and encrypt and safeguard all of your portable devices and documents.
Protect your personal information. Opt for electronic delivery of your financial statements and other bills and shred paper documents before disposing of them. Review your monthly accounts regularly for unauthorized charges.
Create strong passwords. Never share your passwords with anyone, avoid using easy-to-guess common words, or your personal information. Change your password every 90 days and use a different password for each online account you create.
Avoid fraudulent websites. Only use legitimate sources to contact financial institutions, such as an official website or the telephone number listed on statements or on the back of your debit or credit cards. When conducting business online, make sure your browser’s padlock key icon is active.
Verify your credit score. Order free copies of your credit report once a year from each of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies to ensure accuracy. Go to the Federal Trade Commission’s authorized website www.annualcreditreport.com for your free credit report.
Report any suspected fraud to local authorities, FSB at 877-372-1879 and the fraud units of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies immediately. The fraud unit numbers are:
Equifax: (800) 525-6285
Experian: (888) 397-3742
TransUnion: (800) 680-7289