Protect Yourself From Identify Theft
You are a valuable partner in identity theft prevention. We encourage you to take every precaution on your own to help secure the privacy and safety of your identity and information. Here are some important guidelines for you to follow.
Help Protect Your Computer and Use the Internet Wisely
- Bank online using a computer that you know is secure and is protected with security software.
- Ensure that your computer has security software, including a firewall; spam filter; and anti-virus, anti-malware and anti-spyware protection. This will safeguard your computer from viruses and malware that can log your keystrokes or steal your data. Make sure the security software is up to date.
- Be wary of WiFi hot spots at cafes, libraries and airports that require you to enter personal or account information.
- Never reveal personal information on Web forums, such as Facebook, Twitter or blog sites. Change your privacy settings to conceal personal information, such as your date of birth.
- Shop on secure Web sites displaying the padlock icon or green address bar that indicates the Web site is secure.
- Create strong passwords of eight or more alpha and numeric characters for online financial accounts, and change them regularly. Avoid using the same password for all of your accounts.
- Monitor your bank and credit card accounts frequently for unusual or unauthorized activity. Most banks and credit card issuers offer services that alert you when your accounts reach certain transaction and balance thresholds, which can help you monitor your accounts.
Be On the Alert for Fraudulent Email
- Watch out for "phishing" emails -- fraudulent emails that may look like legitimate messages.
- Never fill in any information in an email that contains input fields.
- Be wary of emails that appear to be from friends and include a generic subject line, such as: "You really need to see these pictures." Fraudsters can steal users' address books and send malware email to every addressee. Note: PurePoint® Financial will not contact you via email to ask for or to validate any personal information.
- Be wary of offers that seem too good to be true.
- In “advance fee schemes”, fraudsters ask you to pay money to someone in anticipation of receiving, in return, something of greater value, such as a car, loan, contract, investment, or gift. However, you receive little or nothing.
- Other scams entice people to sign up to be "mystery shoppers" or with offers of employment. Victims receive fraudulent checks for thousands of dollars, with instructions to cash the checks and wire the funds to another bank. The check bounces after the money is wired, leaving the victim responsible for paying the bank back.
Use U.S. Mail Carefully
- Pay attention to billing cycles. Call the company if you do not receive an expected bill in a timely manner. An identity thief may have diverted your bill.
- Remove mail from your mailbox promptly.
- Place outgoing mail in post office collection boxes only or consider using online banking with bill pay to send payments. By making payments online, you can help prevent mail fraud while saving time and postage costs.
- Shred documents containing personal information, including pre-approved credit offers, old bank statements, canceled checks, and ATM receipts. PurePoint® Financial offers online account statements.
Safeguard Your Cards and Accounts
- Report any lost or stolen cards immediately.
- Check your credit report at least once a year to be sure it's accurate and up to date. If your report shows new accounts you didn't open, numerous inquiries from creditors or negative items, take action immediately.
- Go paperless. Electronic statements and invoices minimize the number of hard copy documents that bear your personal information and could get into the wrong hands.
- Memorize your PINs and change them regularly. Don't carry them in your purse or wallet.
- Sign up for account activity alerts. Online Banking alerts, which we send you by email or text message, will help you monitor your account activity.
- Sign in to Online Banking to set up your alerts.
Help Protect Your Social Security Number
- Don't print your Social Security number or driver's license number on your checks.
- Keep your Social Security card in a safe place, instead of carrying it in your wallet.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
- Pay attention to anyone who may be listening when you make purchases by phone or give your Social Security number for identification.
- Never give out personal information, such as your Social Security number, account numbers, or PIN, in emails or during phone calls unless you personally initiated the contact. Thieves can hack into your list of email contacts and pose as trusted contacts to get information.
- Store Social Security cards, unused credit cards, checks, and personal documents in a safe place, rather than in your wallet.