Identity Theft Hit an All-Time High in 2016
An estimated 15.4 million consumers were hit with some kind of ID theft last year, according to Javelin Strategy & Research, up from 13.1 million the year before.
Don’t be the next victim! Protect yourself with these tips.
- Get a credit report annually from each credit bureau to verify your credit information and clean up any errors or fraudulent activity.
- Do not open unsolicited emails, click on links, or call phone numbers listed in suspicious emails, even if it appears urgent or demands an immediate response.
- Keep your credit/debit/ATM card information safeguarded, but available to you as well as information you need to report lost cards or unusual/unauthorized activity. Be watchful of “shoulder surfers” at ATM’s who stand close enough to get your PIN number.
- Make sure your online passwords are at least 8 characters and include mixed-use letters, numbers, and symbols. Consider separate passwords for email, social and banking.
- Shred any documents containing personal information before you throw it in the trash. The cost of a shredder is small compared to the potential cost of being the victim of identity theft.
- Use a secure internet connection (no free wifi) and secure websites (https://) when entering your personal information.
- Check your bank and credit card statements when they arrive in the mail, or online, and verify any charges you don’t remember making. Cancel or close bank accounts you do not use.
- Your mailbox contains mail that includes your social security number, birth date, and other personal identifying information. Keep your mailbox locked if possible to avoid unauthorized people from taking your mail.
- Keep your personal papers, passports and social security card secured in a lockbox or other device and out of view. Never carry these items in your wallet or purse.
- Never give your personal information over the phone to a caller you don’t know. Identity thieves may call saying they are from the bank and need to verify information
If your identity has been stolen, view our Identity Theft Emergency Repair Kit so you can take action to restore your identity. EMERGENCY REPAIR KIT HERE