In today’s world, we are constantly bombarded by text messages, emails, and phone calls. Though we may seldom give it any thought, each of these contacts is a possible opportunity for cybercriminals to access our personal information. The good news is that there is advice you can follow to minimize your risk, and there are suggestions that can help you in the event your personal information gets compromised.
Reduce Your Risk
While there is no foolproof way to avoid online identity theft, you can minimize your risk by:
- Limiting information disclosed—Never respond to text messages, emails or phone calls that request sensitive personal information such as your banking ID, account numbers, username, or password, even if the messages appear to originate from your bank, government agencies or officials or companies with which you have a relationship.
- Taking advantage of security features—Update your computer security software and apply software updates to your computer system, mobile devices, web browsers, and operating system to defend against viruses, malware, and other online threats.
- Monitoring account activity—Pay attention to your statements and check your credit report regularly for suspicious activity, such as unusual or unexplained charges, unknown accounts in your name, or unexpected denials on your card. Contact your bank immediately if you notice anything unusual.
Respond to a Data Breach
In the unfortunate event of a data breach, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk:
- Consider a security freeze on your credit report to restrict access to your credit file. The FTC has some great guidelines on freezing your credit. Click here to learn more.
- Set up a fraud alert, which directs banks to verify your identity before opening a new account, issuing an additional card, or increasing the credit limit on an existing account.
- Shred documents with personal or sensitive information and change your passwords.
If you have any questions or concerns about this information, please feel free to reach out to your PWSB banker!