Take steps to prevent fraud on your e-mail, bank accounts and on-line accounts byÖ
- Keeping your browser and operating system up to date. New versions and updates often include important security enhancements and can be downloaded - usually for free-on the vendor's site.
- Updating your anti-virus software regularly. Anti-virus software needs frequent updates to guard against new viruses, so be sure to download updates as soon as they're available.
- Using a personal firewall. Many internet service providers (ISPs) offer this feature, which protects your home computer against unauthorized access by hackers.
Safeguard Your Personal Information
- Shred financial documents and paperwork with personal information before you discard them.
- Protect your Social Security number. Don't carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write your Social Security number on a check. Give it out only if absolutely necessary or ask to use another identifier.
- Don't give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you know who you are dealing with.
- Keep your personal information in a secure place at home, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help, or are having work done in your house.
Watch for Spoof E-mails!
Spoof (a.k.a. phishing or hoax) e-mails, appear to be from a well-known company, such as your bank, or credit card company. They are not, and can put you at risk.
They generally ask you to click a link back to a spoof web site and provide, update or confirm sensitive personal information. To bait you, they may allude to an urgent or threatening condition concerning your account.
Even if you don't provide what they ask for, simply clicking the link could subject you to background installations of key logging software or viruses. To verify an e-mail like this, call the bank or company directly.
What are spoof e-mails after? They are after your:
- Password or pin
- Credit care validation (CCV) code
- ATM/Debit or Credit Card number
- Social Security Number (SSN)
- Bank account number
BE SMART! Create a Safe Password by...
- Changing your User ID and Password periodically - every 30-60 days.
- Creating a hard-to-guess password and make it unique.
- Using a mix of letters and numbers, capitalized and small letters.
- Not using single words that can be found in any dictionary.
- Not using your name, spouse's name, pet's name, birthday, favorite food, or any personal information that others can easily obtain.
- Not using a password that contains part of your User ID.
Since you are the most familiar with your accounts you can regularly monitor your account activity to safeguard against fraud by...
- Looking for transactions you don't recognize.
- Searching for bills that do not arrive as expected.
- Checking out unexpected credit cards or account statements.
- Investigating calls or letters about purchases you did not make.
- Checking your credit report regularly - Look for activities you did not initiate such as applying for credit.
- Many companies will deliver an alert of suspicious activity.
- Setting up a log-in cookie - to remember your login. A spoof website cannot display your User Id. (Don't do this on a public computer.)
What To Do if You Are a Victim
Defend against ID Theft as soon as you suspect it.
- Place a fraud alert on your credit reports, and review the reports carefully.
- Close accounts.
- File a police report.
- Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission
- On-line: ftc.gov/idtheft
- By phone: 1-877-ID-THEFT
- By mail: Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580