Security Tips - Identity Theft
- Carefully review Websites, online advertisements, and emails before taking any action or submitting any personal information online.
- Memorize your Password and PINs. Do not write them down, save them on your computer or reveal them to anyone. Create a complex Password that:
- Is 8 - 12 characters in length. The longer the Password, the better.
- Includes letters and numbers.
- Has at least four different characters (no repeats).
- Has at least one special character.
- Is a sequence of random letters and numbers.
- Is not obvious or easily obtainable information.
- Change your passwords regularly. It is recommended to change passwords every 30 to 60 days.
- Never email your account number, Social Security number or other sensitive information to anyone.
- Never leave your computer unattended while logged in. Complete your banking tasks and end your web sessions by always logging out.
- When visiting social networks, remember that sharing information like your birth date, phone number, email address, location and photos can put your identity at risk.
- Carry only necessary information with you. Leave your Social Security card and unused credit cards at home in a safe and secure location.
- Make photocopies (front and back) of vital information you carry regularly and store them in a secure place, such as a safety deposit box. Then, if your purse or wallet is lost or stolen, you have the relevant contact information readily available.
- Do not provide your Social Security number unless absolutely necessary.
- Replace paper invoices, statements and checks with electronic versions, if offered by your employer, bank, utility provider or merchant.
- Know your billing and statement cycles. Contact the company's customer service department if you stop receiving your regular bill or statements.
- Shred documents containing personal or financial information before discarding. Many fraud and identity theft incidents happen as a result of mail and garbage theft.
- If you are uncomfortable with a phone call that was not initiated by you, hang up or ask for the purpose of the call. Then contact the company using legitimate sources such as contact phone numbers found on the company's Website, your bank statements, and those listed on your ATM, debit or credit cards.
- Maintain a close watch on your bank accounts, credit card accounts, loan accounts and review your credit report at least twice annually. Check for unauthorized charges and new accounts in your name. Report any loss or theft immediately.
- Make sure we have your current contact information so we can reach you if fraudulent activity is suspected on your account(s).
- For consumers, annually, obtain a free credit report from each of the credit reporting companies and review it carefully. (See the Federal Trade Commission's Website http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/freereports/index.shtml for more information.) Contact the applicable credit reporting companies immediately if you find any unknown or suspicious activity on your credit reports.
- Consider subscribing to a credit monitoring service and monitor your credit reports regularly.
- Keep your operating system and browser up to date to create a safe browsing environment.
- Learn to detect fake emails and websites requesting your personal information.
- Use computer virus protection software.