10/10/2017    Identity Theft

Identity Theft is a growing and costly problem. Victims can not only suffer financial loss, but often spend years of frustration trying to clean up the damage to their credit. For this Tuesday tip, I decided to provide some general guidelines to help you prevent becoming a victim.

1.Never give your Social Security number or other personal information to anyone who contacts you by phone, text, or E-mail even if it seems legitimate. Do not click links in Emails unless you are sure of the source. Some Email phishing scams will try to convince you that there is a problem with your account. The Email will provide a link directing you to a fraudulent website that asks for your account number and personal information. Always contact your financial institution directly if you think there is a problem.

2.Keep your computers anti-virus software up to date. Identity thieves will attempt to install malware on your computer to steal personal information.

3.Remove Social Security cards from your wallet or purse and never leave your wallet or purse unattended.

4.Store bank account statements, medical records, and tax records in a secure place at home. Shred documents that you no longer need.

5.Do not share personal information on social media websites like Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Personal information like your Date of birth, favorite pets name or mothers maiden name is often used to validate identity and could allow an imposter to access your accounts.

6.Utilize free mobile or online alerts from your bank or credit card issuer if offered.