National Protect Your ID Week: Tips to Protect Yourself From Identity Fraud

To help you during National Protect Your ID Week, we have some tips to help you protect yourself from fraud. You may have heard some of these before, but the more you review them, the more likely you are to remember!

Banks work diligently to protect their customers from identity theft, but need consumers to be just as vigilant about protecting their personal information. Many are, which has resulted in identity theft declining over recent years, claiming the fewest victims in 2010 than in any year since Javelin Strategy and Research began reporting on fraud in 2003.

However, fraudsters are getting smarter and working harder to steal your identity—and your assets. Here are seven tips to keep yourself safe, courtesy of the American Bankers Association:

Protect your paper. Most ID thefts take place offline. ID thieves rely on paper documents by invading mailboxes, glove compartments and trash cans to steal and misuse information. Never leave personal information unattended or out in the open, and shred any unneeded documents—including receipts, bank statements and unused credit card offers—that may contain confidential information.

Safeguard your Social Security number. Don’t give your Social Security number or other personal credit information about yourself to anyone who contacts you.

Mind your mail. Keep an eye out for any missing mail. Don’t mail bills from your own mailbox with the flag up. Consider using online bill pay.

Be on the lookout. Review your monthly accounts regularly for any unauthorized charges. Order free copies of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus once a year to ensure accuracy.

Use caution online. When conducting business online, make sure your browser’s padlock or key icon is active, indicating a secure transaction. When using social networking sites, never include personal contact information including telephone numbers, Social Security number, birth date, email addresses, physical address, mother’s maiden name or other information that could provide sensitive information to fraudsters or hints to passwords.

Practice email awareness. Don’t open email from unknown sources and always use virus detection software. Never give out personal financial information in an email or over the phone.

Protect your PINs and passwords. Don’t carry PINs or passwords in your wallet. Use a combination of letters and numbers for your passwords and change them periodically.

What other tips have you heard or practiced?

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