Tips to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft
Identity theft can happen to anyone, but there are ways you can lessen your exposure to risk. Because fraudsters are evolving and changing their methods, First Financial Bank wants to provide you with up-to-date information on how to protect yourself from identity theft.
Common Internet Scams To Watch out For in 2020
- COVID-19 Scams take form of emails with malicious attachments or links to fraudulent websites to trick victims into revealing sensitive information or donating to fraudulent charities or causes. Exercise caution in handling any email with a COVID-19-related subject line, attachment, or hyperlink, and be wary of social media pleas, texts, or calls related to COVID-19.
- Imposter Scams occur when you receive an email or call from a person claiming to be a government official, family member, or friend requesting personal or financial information. For example, an imposter may contact you from the Social Security Administration informing you that your Social Security number (SSN) has been suspended, in hopes you will reveal your SSN or pay to have it reactivated.
- COVID-19 Economic Payments Scams target Americans’ stimulus payments. CISA urges all Americans to be on the lookout for criminal fraud related to COVID-19 economic impact payments—particularly fraud using coronavirus lures to steal personal and financial information, as well as the economic impact payments themselves—and for adversaries seeking to disrupt payment efforts.
Protecting Your Identity- A Step-By-Step Guide
- Place a ‘freeze" on your credit report requesting lenders to contact you prior to extending credit.
- Check your credit reports from all three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) at least annually.
- Cut up old or expired credit cards. Close all inactive credit cards and bank accounts. Even though you do not use them, the information found on these accounts could be accessed to open fraudulent accounts.
- Shred all personal information, including credit card applications that you receive in the mail.
- Opt out of all pre-screened credit card offers for the next five years by calling 1-888-567-8688.
- To opt out of all pre-screened credit card offers permanently, visit the Federal Trade Commission website and begin the process.
- Do not give out personal information over the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you have initiated contact or know the business with which you are dealing.
- Carry only the cards you need. Minimize the identification information and the number of cards you carry in your wallet or purse. Do not carry your Social Security card unless you need it.
- Limit check writing at stores where you need to show your driver’s license. Use debit cards or credit cards instead when possible.
- Enroll in online services to pay bills.
- Utilize online and mobile banking often, enroll in SMS alerts, and notify First Financial of any unusual activity on the account.
- If you use printed statements, know when they arrive in the mail and notify First Financial if you do not receive them.
- Consider installing a locking mailbox to protect your incoming mail.
- Use the opt-out option offered by many merchants to prevent your information from being shared.
- Do not share your password or pin on your ATM or debit card. Do not keep passwords anywhere that someone could easily access.
- List your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry.
- Request a vacation hold from the US Postal Service when you will be out of town for more than two days.
Do You Believe Your Identity Has Been Stolen?
Here is more information:
Information provided by the National Cyber Security Alliance and Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency. For more information visit cisa.gov/ncsam