There are many things you can do to help protect yourself from identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission provides up-to-date information on its website, including tips on guarding against identity theft, ways to spot identity theft when it happens, and how to repair your credit if your identity is compromised.
Clatsop Community Bank can help, too. The Bank offers free Fraud Defender services to qualifying account holders, providing one-on-one recovery assistance if your identity is stolen (note that you must be enrolled in the program prior to a theft event in order to receive recovery assistance). The customer will receive an email any time there are changes in his or her credit file that may indicate identity theft. Contact us to find out more on how these services can help you, or go to the Fraud Defender website to enroll.
In the meantime, be sure to follow some of these tips from the Federal Trade Commission website:
- Lock your financial documents and records in a safe place at home.
- Lock your purse or wallet in a safe place at work.
- Limit what you carry, and leave your Social Security card at home.
- Before you share information at your workplace, a business, a school, or a medical facility, ask why they need it, how they will safeguard it, and the consequences of not sharing the information.
- Shred receipts, credit offers, credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, checks, bank statements, expired charge cards and similar documents when you no longer need them.
- Destroy labels on prescription bottles before you discard them.
- Take outgoing mail to the post office or a post office collection box. Promptly remove mail that arrives in your mailbox. Use a vacation hold for your mail when you will be away from home for an extended period of time.
- When you order new checks, do not have them mailed to your home unless you have a secure mailbox with a lock.
- Don’t give your personal information on the phone, through the mail or online unless you initiated the contact, or you know who you are dealing with.
- Take precautions to completely and securely wipe computers and mobile devices of all personal information before you dispose of these devices.
- Look for a “lock” icon in the status bar of your web browser before sending personal or financial information online. The lock indicates secure transmission of information.
- Don’t overshare on social networking sites. An identity thief can find information about your life and use it to answer challenge questions on your accounts to gain access to them.
- Exercise caution while browsing the web using a public wireless network. Do not make purchases or check online accounts unless you are on a secure wireless network.
- Don’t use an automatic login feature that saves your username and password for websites containing personal information, and always log off when you are finished.
Find more tools and information to protect your identity at www.identitytheft.gov.