In today’s global and technology driven marketplace, there are literally hundreds of ways for fraudsters to gain access to your personal information, including checking account information, debt and credit cards as well as your social security number, account numbers and your passwords. These tips will help you to protect yourself, and your good credit:
- eStatements- whenever possible, enroll in a company’s eStatements or eNotices. These elctronic copies of your monthly statements can be accessed and saved electronically and you’ll not have them sitting in your mailbox waiting to be stolen. Plus, when it comes to tax season, you’ll have an easily accessible way to get your end of year interest paid and end of year dividends paid.
- Personal Data- Take proactive measures to shield your personal information. For example, monitor your financial statements regularly by enrolling in credit monitoring services offered by Equifax or Experian. These services will automatically alert you to a change in your credit report, such as an address change, credit applied for and inquiries made with your information.
- Passwords- change your passwords often! Most companies recommend every 90 days for the accounts you access the most. Never use your birthday or social security numbers in your passwords (and avoid using 1-2-3-4 as well!) but stick with number and letter combinations that only you know. Add special characters as well to make your passwords even harder to guess.
- Mobile devices- Many people overlook the need to protect their mobile device. Industry experts recommend adding a password to your mobile device that inlcudes the ability to “wipe” the phone after a certain number of password failures. This helps in the event that your phone is lost or stolen.
- Public Networks- When using WiFi services in public places, be careful! These open networks are not secure and fraudsters can monitor traffic that includes your account number and passwords! Also, be sure to password protect your home WiFi services to ensure that others are not using your network as well.
WIth all of the technology available to us, it’s important that we protect one of the things we need the most- who we are!