First Long Island Investors wants to help you be protected from fraud and identity theft. Here are some simple and important tips to reduce your risk:
Monitor Your Credit Card Account(s) Activity Online
Regularly looking at the charges on your credit card account is an easy way to monitor for irregular activity. Card issuers have gotten very good at recognizing fraudulent patterns, but it is always best to have multiple sets of eyes watching.
Review Your Credit Report Regularly
Make sure to regularly review your Credit Report for any inaccurate information, or inquiries that you did not authorize. The services section provides options for how to do this.
Create Unique Passwords and Personal Identification Numbers
When creating your User ID, password and personal identification number, avoid using easy-to-find information such as your date of birth, or the last four digits of your Social Security number. Also, be sure to use different passwords for all your accounts including banking, email, retail website, and social media and consider updating all of your passwords regularly.
Bookmark the Sites You Visit Most in your “Favorites”
Only use your credit card(s) for purchases on websites that you trust. Get in the habit of bookmarking and using your “Favorites” to navigate to the websites you use to manage your financial transactions. This can help you to safeguard against phishing scams. Additionally, do not enter credit card information (or other personal information like a social security number) in response to an email or from an emailed link. Always go directly to the company’s website.
Help reduce the risk of mail fraud by switching to Paperless Statements for your banking, borrowing, and credit card accounts.
Secure Your Personal Information
Keep your sensitive personal information such as bank, mortgage, and credit card statements, Social Security cards, and other documents and passwords, in a safe place (accessible to only you), both at home and at work. Shred these documents before discarding.
Before disclosing any personal information, make sure you know why it is required and how it will be used. Do not give out your social security number to people or companies that you do not know. Be careful of over-sharing personal information on social networks to avoid creating a trail of information that thieves can use.
Credit versus Debit
Credit cards and debit cards are protected differently if card information is stolen and fraudulent transactions have been made. Generally speaking, credit cards users have a lower maximum liability amount and therefore are seen as a better option for use in online transactions.
Avoid Giving out Personal Information Over the Phone
Identity thieves often pose as a representative of a recognized organization and contact you to “verify” your account information. In particular, you should look out for this if you are not the one who initiated the phone call.
Carry Only the Information You Need
Bring only the credit cards you need, and avoid carrying your Social Security card, birth certificate, or passport, except when necessary.
Traveling? Have the Postal Service Hold Your Mail
Tell card issuers your destination and travel dates. Have the Postal Service hold your mail so that thieves cannot steal your bills as a way to obtain account information.
Report Any Suspicious Activity
If you believe there is suspicious activity on one of your accounts, contact that institution immediately. If you believe you have been the victim of identity theft, contact the Federal Trade Commission immediately. Click Here to Report Identity Theft