Identity theft is one of the most nefarious crimes out there. Although common, the impact to its victims can be significant because it is difficult to detect until it is too late and the damage has already been done. Here are seven simple ways to help protect yourself.
Secure Your Hard Copies
Every sensitive document should be kept in a fire-proof safe. Credit cards and debit cards should be securely placed in your wallet at all times. For added security, use a RFID blocking wallet or card sleeve.
Bonus Tip: Shred all aged documents that contain sensitive information.
Examine Your Financial Statements
Review your financial statements monthly and check carefully for fraudulent activity. Report any suspicious charges immediately.
Bonus Tip: Sign up for alerts and limit your credit card activity to a specific geographical area. But remember to adjust that area when you travel.
Choose Strong Passwords
Use different, strong passwords for each of your accounts and devices.
Bonus Tip: Use a secure password service, like Gizmodo, to create and store unique passwords.
Protect Your Computer
Invest in a strong anti-spyware program to protect your hardware from hackers.
Bonus Tip: Encrypt your hard drive for an extra level of protection.
Be Wary of Suspicious Emails and Websites
Don’t open suspicious-looking emails or click on links for unfamiliar sites.
Bonus Tip: If your inbox is flooded with promotional emails, unsubscribe from some of them. Don’t have time to sift through your emails? Unroll.me cleans up your inbox for you by providing a list of subscription emails and unsubscribing from the ones you don’t want. This will help you spot the truly bad apples in all that mail.
Use Two-Factor Identification
The extra log-in step will help ward off scammers and add another layer of security to your accounts.
Bonus Tip: Never elect to have a device “remember your password” for a site that involves payments of any kind.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi is a great hunting ground for thieves; steer clear if you can. At the very least, avoid all online banking or password logins while using public Wi-Fi.
Bonus Tip: Secure your own home Wi-Fi by changing the name of your default network (also known as SSID). Follow-up this step by creating a strong, unique password that includes numbers, letters and symbols.
Identity Theft Services
Some companies offer services that help protect your identity. Our very own Rewards Checking includes Identity Theft Aid as one of its benefits. Other services like ReliaShield can also help you protect yourself or help you react if your identity is ever stolen.
This article is for educational purposes only. Tulsa FCU makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, or specific suitability of any information presented. Information provided should not be relied on or interpreted as legal, tax or financial advice. Nor does the information directly relate to our products and/or services terms and conditions.