Tips for Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft
Criminals are coming up with new ways to attack and infiltrate personal data every day with millions of individuals and companies affected each year. The hackers look for ways to breach email, phish for your information through phony online and text links, and by viewing the public portion of your social media accounts.
Once they have some personal data, they can keep chipping away until they have enough to take out credit in your name, access financial accounts and sell your personal information to others.
Your financial security is our priority. But maintaining data security is a shared responsibility. We strongly recommend that you actively take steps to oversee your accounts and keep your data secure.
Here are some things you can do right away:
1. Understand and look for signs of identity theft, then report it. These include being aware of when statements or important documents you are expecting fail to arrive; applying for credit and being denied; or when your credit card or bank account shows purchases you didn’t make (possibly even small “test” amounts). Should any of these happen to you, contact the financial institution, credit card company or retailer involved to understand what happened.
2. Keep your contact information up to date with all financial institutions.If your contact info changes, it’s a standard practice to contact you at both the old and new address to confirm the change. You need your financial institution to be able to contact you in case a security issue arises, or a transaction needs your approval.
3. Check your balances and investments regularly and often. Retirement and investment accounts often go unchecked for longer periods of time because you aren’t going to take the money out until later. Keep your eye on all your accounts, even those with infrequent transactions and contact customer service if you have any suspicions.
4. Check your credit score and watch for new accounts or inquiries. Fraudsters may try to obtain credit in your name. You are entitled to one free credit report annually (go to www.AnnualCreditReport.com). There are options to purchase continuous credit monitoring where you can receive alerts. You may also want to consider locking your account to new inquiries. To learn more, see https://usa.gov/credit-reports.
5. Never share your passwords, passphrases, security question answers, or use the same one for multiple accounts. Keep this information to yourself and in a safe place. Don’t make your security questions something that would be easily known about you from your social media accounts or a Google search. Also, create a unique password for each account so that if one becomes comprised, it doesn’t impact your other accounts.
To set up secure passphrases on your online accounts or review your recent account activity, visit our Additional Online Security page.
The material in this Blog is presented for informational purposes only. The information presented is not investment, legal, tax or compliance advice. Millennium Trust Company performs the duties of a directed custodian, and as such does not offer or sell investments or provide investment, legal, or tax advice.