Widespread use and access have made the online world an integral part of day-to-day life, often for the better.
However, living life online comes with some risks.
One of the most unsettling is the increased threat of identity theft. Identity theft has been a relatively common crime since the early 20th century.
With the addition of bulk financial and personal information now at fraudsters fingertips, the rate of identity theft is even higher. It’s become more important than ever to follow identity theft safety tips.
What used to be a fairly niche crime has now spread like wildfire. It is likely that you know at least one person who has become a victim, at least in some small scale way.
We want to help you avoid becoming that victim.
So, even in an extremely digital world, there are many ways to prevent identity theft.
Shop Cautiously Online
If you’re a consistent online shopper, be sure that the sites you are shopping on are ones that you trust.
When shopping for something from a site you haven’t used before, it is smart to do a bit of research before you make that purchase.
Always look at user reviews. These can be a valuable resource when trying to determine the safety and integrity of an online vendor.
It is also important to use your intuition when shopping online. If something feels off, don’t risk it. There is a good chance it is not safe.
Trust your gut.
This can especially be applied for those sketchy emails you get that are trying to “sell” you something.
Don’t even think about clicking on the links in those emails.
These links can be an effort to install malware onto your computer that will attempt to steal your financial information. By clicking on that link, you can start the catalyst for a malware install.
Try your absolute best to avoid these tactics from fraudsters.
Use Smart Password Procedure
Be mindful of your passwords.
It may be easier to have the same passwords for most accounts, but let’s face the facts.
Ask yourself, “If someone found out one of my passwords, would they now have access to all of my accounts?”
Having some of the same passwords for accounts is fine but try to have specific and hard to guess passwords for the most sensitive and protected accounts (i.e. your online banking information).
Use passwords with a variety of different characters.
Use numbers, lowercase and capital letters, and other characters or symbols that you wouldn’t typically use organically. These are great safeguards to make your password harder to steal.
Variation is key when it comes to password creation.
Be extra safe and switch things up as much as possible; the more complex the better. Don’t forget to replace your password every six months for additional online privacy safety.
Guard Your Social Security Number
Your social security number is directly tied to access to your finances — so give it out sparingly.
If you are being asked for your social, but aren’t completely clear on why, ask.
Most institutions (such as your credit union) may have legitimate reasons for asking for your social.
However, if you are making a simple purchase over the phone or online, there is never any reason that your social security number would be needed.
It is important to guard your social security number very carefully.
Don’t carry your card around in your wallet unless you are certain you will need it.
Instead, keep it in a place that you know is safe – like a safe (pun intended).
Keep An Eye on Your Finances
Being aware of the status of your finances can be a key part in sniffing out any unusual activity occurring with your account.
By paying extra attention to your bank accounts and credit card statements, you can prevent an identity theft problem before it starts or gets worse.
Checking your mobile banking consistently will keep you on top of this.
If you notice charges that haven’t come from you and aren’t attributed to your normal bills, contact member services immediately.
You’ll save money and have the convenience of your bank statements at your fingertips.
Trusting Your Financial Institution
When you open an account with a financial institution, one of the things that you value and expect is a high level of safety and security for your money.
At HRCCU, we not only understand that — we base everything we do around that value. We recognize and understand the importance of financial and personal security.
Using a blend of enhanced authentication, fraud detection tactics, encryption, and IP monitoring, we make it our business to make sure that your money is safe.
If we suspect a breach based on out of character spending, we’ll immediately notify you to make sure that it’s actually you spending your money.
We value your financial security over everything else and we have the security standards to prove it.