A Few Tips to Help You Prevent Identity Theft
As technology has progressed, so have the types of crimes that can be committed by exploiting the technology we use every day. Raccoon Valley Bank takes the protection of your personal and financial information very seriously, and wants to give you the resources you need to protect this information yourself from identity theft. Identity theft is a crime that allows criminals to wipe out your bank accounts and use your credit information to their advantage. The following are tips from Raccoon Valley Bank for preventing identity theft and keeping your information safe.
Identity Theft Prevention Tips
- Do not give out personal or financial information over the phone, through email or over the internet (including email) unless you can confirm who you are speaking to.
- When sending mail, deposit it at your local post office. Collect your mail every day, and notify the post office to put a hold on your mail if you will be gone for a period of time.
- Shred any mail with personal or financial information on it before throwing away or recycling.
- Store all personal information (Social Security cards, passports, birth certificates) in a safe place, and be sure to protect your passwords and PINs. Try to memorize them so you don’t have to write them down.
- Change all of your passwords, especially those for any financial services such as Online Banking, regularly.
- Create a strong password: ten characters or more, upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols should be used.
- Destroy old or expired debit and credit cards before throwing away.
- Go over your monthly bank or credit card statements to review your transactions for fraudulent purchases.
- When shopping online, never input debit or credit card information to a site unless it is secure (the web address will start with “https” and there will be a padlock symbol in the address bar or at the bottom of the page).
- Do not carry your Social Security card around in your wallet.
- Check your credit score once annually from each of the three credit reporting bureaus:
- Experian, 1-888-387-3742
- TransUnion, 1-800-680-7289
- Equifax, 1-800-525-6285
What do I do if I think I’ve been a victim of identity theft?
First, you will need to contact the fraud departments at all three of the credit reporting bureaus and have them place a freeze on your credit. Next, you will need to contact the security departments of any creditors that you believe have been accessed or opened. Finally, you should file a police report with your local police department and may want to do the same with the police department of where the identity theft took place.
Identity theft is a crime that can ruin lives. By following these tips you can help decrease your chances of becoming a victim of identity theft significantly. If you a have any other questions you can find more information at the Federal Trade Commission’s website.