A guide to protecting your identity and personal data.
First, take a moment to ask yourself these questions – do you delete your spam emails? Do you keep your Social Security Number in a safe place? What about your account statements and receipts – do you shred them before throwing them away?
Here are a few simple steps to minimize your risk of becoming a victim of identity theft and fraud.
1.) If it’s public, don’t trust it. Most access to public WIFI isn’t secure, so don’t use it to access personal information or private accounts. Hackers can easily steal your information when it’s made public. It’s also important to be mindful of what you post on social media. Crooks can find and use this information to commit fraud and other criminal activities (like stealing your identity or hacking your bank accounts).
2.) Shred it, don’t spread it. Shred all bills and other financial documents that contain private financial information (like credit card statements, ATM, credit or debit card receipts, receipts from your bank and loan solicitations) to keep thieves from fishing them out of your trash.
3.) Be Careful with your Social Security Number. Your Social Security Number is a major target because it can give identity thieves accessing to your credit report and bank accounts. Never carry your card with you. Instead, memorize it and keep the actual card in a secure place at home or in a safety deposit box.
4.) Watch out for scams. Never give out personal information to telemarketers, click on links or respond to emails from someone claiming to represent your bank, credit card company, a government agency, a charity, or other organization. If you believe the request is true, contact the company directly to confirm.
5.) Keep an eye on your credit. At least once a year, get a copy of your credit report and look it over for any suspicious activity. You can do this for free by contacting the three major credit bureaus directly:
What to do if you believe you’ve fallen victim to fraud.
- Contact us immediately
- Contact the Social Security Administration about potential identity theft.
- Contact the credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion) and place a freeze on your credit report.
To learn more tactics for preventing fraud, please visit necu.org/fraud.