In recognition of World Password Day on May 3, the Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) and FSB are reminding customers of simple steps to safeguard their personal account information and what to do if they suspect they have been affected by a reported breach. You don’t have to be a cybersecurity expert to protect yourself against hackers and identity theft. Small actions like creating strong passwords, using different passwords for different accounts and exercising caution when sharing personal information online, can make a huge impact in your risk exposure.
Reduce Your Risk Exposure
While there is no foolproof way to avoid online identity theft, you can minimize your risk by:
- Limiting information disclosed—Never respond to text messages, emails or phone calls that request sensitive personal information such as your banking ID, account numbers, user name or password, even if the messages appear to come from your bank, government agencies or officials or companies with which you have a relationship.
- Taking advantage of security features—Make sure to update your computer security software and apply software updates to your computer system, mobile devices, web browsers and operating system to defend against viruses, malware and other online threats.
- Monitoring account activity— Pay attention to your statements and check your credit report regularly for any suspicious activity, such as unusual or unexplained charges, unknown accounts in your name, or unexpected denials on your card. Contact your bank immediately if you notice anything suspicious.
Respond to a Data Breach
In the event of a data breach, minimize your risk by:
- Consider a security freeze on your credit report to restrict access to your credit file.
- Set up a fraud alert which directs banks to verify your identity before opening a new account, issuing an additional card, or increasing the credit limit on an existing account.
- Shred documents with personal or sensitive information and change your passwords.
- Report stolen finances or identities and other cybercrime to the Internet Crime Complaint Center and to your local law enforcement and/or state attorney general.
Learn more about how to protect your digital life by visiting the Stay Safe Online website.