Give a thief 10 minutes to look in your purse, wallet or car and he/she will have plenty of information to steal your identity!
Purses or wallets stuffed with social security cards, birth certificates, passports, PIN numbers and passwords, bank account statements, payroll check stubs, receipts and more are an identity thief’s dream. Some of these items have even been stolen from a glove compartment of a vehicle. When was the last time you cleaned out your purse, wallet or glove compartment? Declutter these items to protect yourself against identity theft! Here are some tips to help safeguard your personal information:
1 – Only carry what you need for the day. Leave extra credit cards and other sensitive documents at home locked in a fireproof safe. Small fireproof safes can be purchased at local department or office supply stores starting at about $40.00. If you prefer more security, rent a safe deposit box at New Dimensions Federal Credit Union’s Waterville or Skowhegan locations. We offer several sizes with affordable rental fees. Feel free to call us for more information at (800) 326-6190 or stop by the Waterville or Skowhegan branches (depending on where you’d like your sensitive documents to be stored).
2 – Shred all sensitive documents. Don’t leave sensitive information, account statements, etc. laying around your house or office.
3 – Review all your account statements monthly. A thief sometimes starts with small purchases on your credit/debit cards. They are testing to see how much money is available to them and if you will even notice you’re being scammed. If you would like to view your account history more than once a month, sign up for New Dimension Federal Credit Union’s mobile banking or online banking. They are both safe and secure ways of tracking your account’s activity. Be sure to report suspicious activity immediately!
4 – Protect your computers. Be sure to install antispyware and antivirus software on your personal computer. Hackers are crafting new scams every day so be sure your software is up to date.
5 – Don’t share your personal information. Never allow anyone over the phone, or online, to pressure you into giving them your social security number, banking information, credit card information, address, mother’s maiden name, or other personal information. Remember to report all suspicious phone calls or online interactions to your local police department. You may just save someone else from becoming an identity theft victim!
6 – Monitor your credit report. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the national credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. To order your free report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call (877) 322-8228. Review the report for accuracy and report any suspicious activity! All too often, people have no idea that loans or credit cards have been opened in their name until they review their credit report. Purchasing a $30.00 shredder could save you thousands of dollars and the headache of becoming an identity theft victim.
7 – Remove yourself from promotional mail and pre-approved credit card lists. Thief’s love watching your mailbox. By watching when your mail gets delivered and your normal pattern of when you arrive home from work or school, a thief has all the time he/she needs to look in your mailbox and grab a “pre-approved” credit card offers. Fortunately, Federal law gives you the right to opt-out of prescreening. By opting-out, you’re telling the credit bureaus that you don’t want your information sold to credit card companies. You can visit www.optoutprescreen.com or call 1-888-5OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) to keep your name off prescreened lists for a certain number of years or indefinitely. You can also use these options to opt-in again if you’ve previously opted-out.
8– Consider subscribing to an identity theft protection service. Identity protection services can help you sleep at night knowing you have additional protection in place. Some services can scan thousands of websites for your personal information. New Dimension’s Federal Credit Union now offers KASASA Protect, an identity protection service. Visit the following link for more information on KASASA Protect!