Your Personal Information
It’s more important than ever in
today’s world to take precautions to protect your personal information and
reduce your risk of identity theft. The tips below cover simple offline and
online strategies to ensure your confidential information remains safe and secure.
Don’t let con artists and thieves take advantage of you—be educated and be
protect your personal information offline:
Lock Up Important Documents
financial documents and records in a safe place at home, and lock your wallet or
purse in a safe place at work. If you carry a purse or computer at a
restaurant, keep it close to you. Keep financial information on your laptop
only when necessary, and don’t use an automatic login feature. The same goes
for your phone; make sure it’s password protected.
Limit What You Carry
only the identification and credit/debit cards you need when you go out. Leave
your Social Security card at home unless you absolutely need it, and then
immediately return it to a secure location. Carefully protect all user IDs,
password information, etc. by never carrying this information in your wallet.
Ask Before Sharing Information
you share information at your workplace, your child's school or a doctor's
office, feel free to ask why it is needed and how it will be safeguarded. Never
give out personal information to anyone you don’t know, either in person or on
the phone, unless you initiated the contact.
Shred and Wipe
receipts, credit offers and applications, insurance forms, physician statements,
checks, bank statements, expired charge cards and similar documents once
they’re no longer needed. Also, destroy labels on prescription bottles before
you throw them out. When you dispose of a computer or phone, erase the hard
drive and memory first.
Secure Your Mailbox
mailbox doesn’t have a lock, immediately remove mail when it arrives. If you
order new checks or a new credit/debit card, don’t have it mailed to your home
unless you have a mailbox with a lock. If you’re sending mail, drop it at a
post office or locked outgoing mailbox. If you won’t be in town for several
days, request a vacation hold on your mail.
protect your personal information online:
Use Anti-Virus Software
anti-virus, anti-spyware software and a firewall on all computers. Set your
preference to update these protections often. If you have a wireless network at
home or work, make sure it’s secured.
Don't Reuse Passwords
tempting as it may be, don’t reuse passwords. This will help minimize the effects
of unauthorized access to your accounts. Also, use optional security questions
whenever they’re offered for an extra layer of protection.
Make Purchases on Trusted Sites
deals seem too good to be true, they usually are. You can easily become a
victim of identity theft when you make purchases on websites that aren't
secure. Stick with trusted, well-known online retailers or smaller sites that
use reputable payment processors.
Beware of Phishing and Spam
open files, click on links or download programs sent by strangers as it could
expose your system to a computer virus or spyware that captures your personal
information. It’s best to also not open emails from friends that contain only a
link as these are often viruses. Beware of phishing schemes in which you think
you’re signing into your bank account, when it's a ploy to get your important
information. Always sign in by going to your bank’s website. Also, be leery of
spam or junk email as these messages may contain viruses.
Take Heed of Public Computers
sure to never save private information on a public computer. Always log out
completely from your accounts, and never save login information on these
Order Your Credit Report
the major credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—provides consumers
with a free copy of their credit report each year. Your credit report is your
window into your identity security, and it’s advised to check it once annually
to ensure nothing is amiss.
information is provided with the understanding that the association is not
engaged in rendering specific legal, accounting or other professional services.
If specific expert assistance is required, the services of a competent,
professional person should be sought.
Provided as a public service by the member banks of
the Community Bankers Association of Oklahoma.