After the Equifax data breach earlier this year, more and more people have grown concerned with identity theft and their financial safety. These concerns have existed since the dawn of banking, but as technology advances, there are more risks to your identity security. At Polam FCU, we understand that it can take decades to build up your credit score and history, and the safety of our members is our top priority.
Here are a few important tips to help maintain the safety of your identity, finances, and your credit score.
- Lock up what’s important. Keeping your social security number under wraps unless it’s safe to share is a good rule of thumb when it comes to keeping your identity safe. For physical documents and pieces of identification, a fireproof safety deposit or lock box is a smart and inexpensive way to secure your items. Keep passports, social security cards, birth certificates, and any other sensitive material in your box when you don’t need it.
- Invest in a quality shredder. Dumpster diving isn’t just for free food – identity thieves of all kinds are known to do exactly this to obtain sensitive material and personal information. To protect yourself from this, pick up a shredder from an office or big box store to shred old credit / debit cards, statements, receipts and pre-approved credit card offers.
- Keep your computer clean. It can be all too easy to stumble upon a webpage that looks safe but is actually loaded with malware. Keep anti-virus / anti-malware software on your computer and run it regularly to search out and block anything that appears suspicious.
- Stay on guard with your logins. Whether you’re logging into your Polam banking app on your smartphone or using free WiFi in a public space, be careful where and how you log into anything that you consider sensitive. If you’re using public free WiFi, perhaps consider waiting to bank online until you’re on a more protected network.
- Learn to spot mimicry. Phishing is a technique that mimics websites you may trust, thus prompting you to enter your login information and allowing identity thieves to hijack your personal information. You can check if the website is real by verifying the URL, as all secure sites begin with https. For more information about spotting phishing, click here.