The Jarrettsville Federal Blog

14

by Gary Barnoff, President and CEO

This is the second in a series of posts on identity theft.

Cyber attackers are on the prowl, and you could be their next victim!  If this sounds scary to you, it should.  According to www.identitytheft.info, approximately 15 million Americans have their identities used fraudulently each year with financial losses totaling upwards of $50 billion. Online banking has increased the risk of identity theft.  The upcoming tax season also will increase the risk if you’re filing your taxes electronically.   Here are some useful tips so you don’t fall prey:

  • Secure your information:  Your Social Security number, bank account and/or credit card numbers, driver’s license, mother’s maiden name, date of birth, address and even just your name can be used to steal money or open new accounts in your name, so it is important to use your discretion when divulging any of this information online.  At home, store your personal information in a safe place.  Don’t give anyone access to your checking or savings account online unless it is a secure site that you know and trust.
  •  Protect your password:  Change your passwords often and use different passwords for each account.  Also, if you discover a breach of databases of a company with whom you have an account, change your password immediately.
  •  Pay attention to paperwork:  Make it a habit to review your receipts and compare them with account statements, keeping an eye out for unauthorized transactions.  After you have verified your receipts, shred them along with other papers such as credit offers, account statements, deposit slips, invoices, expired cards, etc., to prevent someone from getting their hands on your information.  Be sure, also, to collect your mail promptly.
  • Be wary of online solicitations:  Don’t respond to links from strange or unknown e-mail accounts.  Don’t give information online to someone who claims to be from your bank.  Most banks will not contact you by e-mail and have you click on a link.  They will put a message in your in box on their site so that when you check in to do your banking you will see it and know it is legitimate.
  • Protect your PIN:  When using automatic teller machines, cover the keypad as you enter your PIN.  Also, stay at the ATM machine until you are certain your account is logged out and the screen is ready for the next user.  Never leave your receipts in or around the machine.
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