Physical Security Measures That Help Prevent Theft
When you think about identity theft, maybe you think of hackers online, but everyday actions in the real world can make a big difference in your privacy and security. Here are 3 ideas to ensure you don’t put yourself at unnecessary risk.
1. Protect your Sensitive Documents
When your wallet or purse is stolen, you are usually aware, but you might not always realize when private information ends up in the wrong person’s hands by other means. Mail can be stolen from your mailbox. Statements can be pulled out of your trash. Documents with valuable private information can be left lying around, easily available for someone to see or pick up.
Always be in the habit of knowing where your important papers are and making sure they are not in danger:
- Don’t carry your Social Security Card.
- Be on the lookout for missing bank or credit card statements.
- Don’t let mail sit in your mailbox.
- Shred any documents that contain personal information – our semi-annual shred events are perfect for this!
2. Watch out for Skimmers
Skimmers are devices that identity thieves can attach to ATMs or gas pump credit card readers and then remove later with all of the card data stored for their use, including for the production of new fake cards.
Protect yourself from skimming:
- Look for flimsy card readers. If the card reader is not firmly attached, do not use the machine.
- Cover the keypad when entering your PIN.
3. Stay Aware of your Finances
If a perfect world, it would be easy to ensure the safety of all of your information, but today, you need to think about your online and mobile security, from where you browse to the strong passwords[KS4] you use, [KS5] as well as the security of your information in the physical world.
- Review your monthly credit card and banking statements. Transactions that don’t make sense should raise red flags. Question the numbers until you’re satisfied that all is as it should be.
- Visit Annualcreditreport.com. You can pull your own credit report from each of the three bureaus once a year for free. Review the report for any accounts you didn’t open or don’t recognize, and place a fraud alert if needed. The authorities need to be aware of identity theft, and this step is often in your hands.
Identity theft is a scary reality of the world we live in. If it happens, you have tools like IdentityTheft.gov to create a recovery plan, but the best course of action is to be vigilant to avoid potential risks to your financial health. It can not always be avoided, but making yourself safer by the actions you choose is always a good idea.
Concerned about identity theft or how you might be making yourself vulnerable? Call Federal Credit Union offers workshops and financial coaching to make sure you’re ready for whatever might come your way. Contact us today. We’re ready when you are.
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May 2, 2017
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