Tag: identity protection

Protect Yourself Online: Tips for Identity Protection

Though the internet has many advantages, it can also make users vulnerable to fraud, identity theft and other scams. According to a Norton Cybercrime Report, 143 million U.S. consumers were victims of cybercrime in 2017. The American Bankers Association recommends the following tips to keep you safe online:

Keep your computers and mobile devices up to date.

Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Turn on automatic updates so you receive the newest fixes as they become available.

Establish passwords.

A strong password is at least eight characters in length and includes a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

Watch out for phishing scams.

Phishing scams use fraudulent emails and websites to trick users into disclosing private account or login information. Do not click on links or open any attachments or pop-up screens from sources you are not familiar with.

Recognize and avoid bogus website links.

Cybercriminals embed malicious links to download malware onto devices and/or/ route users to bogus websites. Hover over suspicious links to view the actual URL that you are being routed to. Fraudulent links are often disguised by simple changes in the URL. For example: www.ABC-Bank.com vs ABC_Bank.com

Keep personal information personal.

Hackers can use social media profiles to figure out your passwords and answer those security questions in the password reset tools. Lock down your privacy settings and avoid posting things like birthdays, addresses, mother’s maiden name, etc. Be wary of requests to connect from people you do not know.

Secure your internet connection.

Always protect your home wireless network with a password. When connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, be cautious about what information you are sending over it. Consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) app to secure and encrypt your communications when connecting to a public Wi-Fi network. (See the Federal Trade Commission’s tips for selecting a VPN app.)

Shop safely.

Before shopping online, make sure the website uses secure technology. When you are at the checkout screen, verify that the web address begins with https. Also, check to see if a tiny locked padlock symbol appears on the page.

Read the site’s privacy policies.

Though long and complex, privacy policies tell you how the site protects the personal information it collects. If you don’t see or understand a site’s privacy policy, consider doing business elsewhere.

Source: American Bankers Association

Protect Yourself from Data Breaches

Banks are national leaders in preserving the security of customer data. The industry dedicates hundreds of millions of dollars annually to data security, and adheres to strict regulatory and network requirements. The banking industry’s first priority is to protect consumers and make them whole.

In the event of a data breach:

  • Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.
  • Use online banking to protect yourself. Monitor your financial accounts regularly for fraudulent transactions. Sign up for text or email alerts from your bank for certain types of transactions, such as online purchases or transactions of more than $500.
  • Beware of phishing scams. Never give out personal financial information in an email or over the phone unless you have initiated the contact.
  • Monitor your credit report. Order a free copy of your credit report every four months from one of the three credit reporting agencies at annualcreditreport.com.

If you suspect your identity has been stolen:

  • Call your bank and credit card issuers immediately so they can start working on closing your accounts and clearing your name.
  • File a police report and call the fraud unit of three credit-reporting companies.

The fraud unit numbers are:
TransUnion (800) 680-7289
Experian (888) 397-3742
Equifax (800) 525-6285

  • Consider placing a victim statement in your credit report.
  • Make sure to maintain a log of all the contacts you make with authorities regarding the matter.
  • Write down names, titles, and phone numbers in case you need to re-contact them or refer to them in future correspondence.

For more advice, contact the FTC’s ID Theft Consumer Response Center at 1-877-ID THEFT (1-877-438-4338) or https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft.

Source: American Bankers Association

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