Taking simple steps to evade identity or information theft can save you from a world of pain. Here are some tips to help keep you safe:
Avoid Identity Theft
- Minimize the use of your Social Security Number, and keep your Social Security card in a safe place other than your wallet.
- Be aware of phishing scams. Don't respond to requests to verify your account number or password. MVFCU will never ask for personal information including passwords or card numbers via email or text messages.
- Destroy documents that contain personal identification information, including convenience checks, preapproved credit card offers, and the like.
- Protect your computer from spyware and viruses.
- Opt out of information sharing by reading through websites' privacy policies.
- Don't share any personal information online unless you know it is a secure website with https:// in the address bar and the symbol of a padlock at the bottom of the browser window.
- Review your statements and bills to be sure there are no unauthorized charges or withdrawals.
- Stop pre-approved credit offers (which decrease your credit score and make a perfect target for identity thieves to steal your mail) by removing your name from the credit bureau marketing lists. Visit optoutprescreen.com or call (888)-5OPTOUT.
- Anytime you are asked for personal information, and it seems "phishy," ask questions. Don't do business with them if you are not satisfied with the answers you receive.
- Review your credit report on an annual basis at a minimum. Free at annualcreditreport.com.
Avoid Online Danger
- Avoid opening unsolicited or suspicious email.
- Don't open attachments from unknown senders.
- Don't download file-sharing applications or software.
- Keep your security tools enabled.
- Never plug an unknown USB into your computer.
- Don't surf questionable websites.
- Keep firewalls turned on.
- Only use encrypted wireless networks because they offer higher levels of protection.
- Only use your personal computer or device to fill web forms and registration pages. This prevents key loggers from collecting your information on a shared device.
- Be especially wary about information you share on social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.
- Never give a computer technician your password information unless absolutely necessary and if you are certain they are who they say they are.
Create Secure Passwords
- Keep your password a secret from everyone!
- Don't ever write your password down.
- Ensure your password cannot be guessed by avoiding the use of personal identifiers (do not use a pet name or your name, or things that you like that identity thieves would easily be able to deduce).
- Avoid using single words. Use a combination of lower and upper case letter, symbols and numbers.
- Keep your password random.