ID Theft and Fraud: Five Ways to Protect Your Account
With the recent data breach of a major U.S. retailer involving credit and debit cards belonging to millions of people, keeping your identity safe and accounts secure are growing concerns. It’s important to protect yourself. Here are some steps you can take to safeguard your accounts and identity.
Check accounts diligently. Review both debit card and credit card statements line by line each month and look for any suspicious charges. Sometimes, thieves will place a small charge of just a few dollars to see if an account is active. If you notice an unauthorized charge, contact your financial provider.
Change your passwords. When you change your password, don’t use the same one for all of your accounts. Also, don’t choose simple passwords that are easy to guess, such as “Password” or “1234.” Including a combination of capital letters, symbols or numbers is a good way to increase password strength.
Watch for scam emails. If thieves have your email address, they may attempt “phishing” – posing as your financial institution or another trustworthy entity by email and trying to acquire your username, password, credit card or other personal information. Never give out your personal information by email. If in doubt, call your financial institution or retailer to verify.
Tighten privacy settings. Be careful using social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. Don’t freely share personal information, including your birthdate, address or hometown. Thieves can use this information for fraud.
Consider credit monitoring. These services provide updates about new activity, new inquiries, new accounts, or sudden changes in your credit card balances. TFCU offers members a special discount on ProtectMyID™, an identity theft product available through Experian©.
If you would like more information on how to protect yourself against identity theft and fraud, check out the BALANCE Identity Theft Toolkit. You can access the toolkit on our Balance Financial Fitness page.