• February 28, 2018
  • Posted by General Electric Credit Union
  • 3 read

Defending Yourself Against Identity Theft

As technology advances, thieves are adapting to keep up. Review some common cybersecurity threats thieves may use to steal your account information or your identity.

Watch out for phishing/vishing scams

Phishing is the act of sending fraudulent emails that appear to be from a familiar business with links to fake websites created to steal your personal information.1 To protect yourself, be cautious about opening attachments or clicking links in emails.

Instead of clicking links, type the URL in manually to safely arrive at the correct website. When in doubt, call the company or your financial institution to ensure the email is authentic.

Vishing (voice phishing) is the telephone version of phishing when criminals call and ask questions to gain access to your private or financial information.2 If you’re unsure about the legitimacy of a call, hang up and dial the company or financial institution number; do not redial the number that called you.

Stay on alert for account fraud

From skimming, phishing, malware, mail theft, or even just looking over your shoulder, thieves are looking for your financial account information. Monitoring your accounts online regularly and setting up alerts will help you identify fraudulent transactions sooner.

Additionally, avoid using public computers to log into your email or financial accounts. If your information is compromised, notify your financial institution and local law enforcement immediately.

Related post: 4 Tips for Safer Online Banking

Avoid over-sharing on social media

With over 79% of the U.S. population having at least one social networking profile, social media websites have become a tool for thieves as people share unprecedented amounts of personal information on these sites.3 You can protect yourself by modifying your privacy settings to control who sees your information and updates.

Additionally, avoid sharing facts including your exact birth date or information that could be used to answer security questions. Sharing when you’re leaving the house, especially for long periods of time, could invite thieves to rifle through your mailbox or home if they know you’re gone.

Tips to protect yourself from identity theft:

  • Install the latest editions of firewalls, antivirus, and anti-spyware software for your computer.
  • Use strong usernames and complex passwords for all accounts and change your password frequently.
  • Monitor accounts through online banking and credit reports.
  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi when dealing with sensitive personal or bank information and use a home computer or your data plan if on a mobile device.
  • Open mail promptly and place a hold on your mail when you’re away for several days.4
  • Shred documents with account information before discarding.
  • Use two-factor or biometric login options (i.e. Touch ID/Fingerprint ID) when possible.
  • Never share sensitive information with unsolicited callers or emails.
  • Staying informed and alert will go a long way in protecting yourself from identity theft. Take these measures to further reduce your risk of fraud and report any suspicious activity to your financial institution immediately.
  • Your safety is important to us; review tips for a safer online and mobile banking experience.
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