Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Fabulous Fraud Prevention Tips
August is National Fraud Awareness Month. Identity theft continues to be the highest reported consumer crime to the FTC based on ITRC's research whitepaper, Identity Theft: #1 FTC Consumer Complaint 15 Consecutive Years, and has been for fifteen consecutive years. This demonstrates the need for increased awareness and education to protect consumers.
According to Identitytheft.info, approximately 15 million Americans have their identities used fraudulently each year with financial losses totaling $50 billion. If you feel you have been a victim of fraud report it to the police, Federal Trade Commission or other authority. Here are some fantastic fraud prevention tips.
1. Virus Protection. Install virus software on your computer, smartphone laptop, iPad or other portable devices especially if you store personal information. Use email protection on your computer and smartphone. Clear the cache, cookies and browsing history daily.
2. Online. Shop online at secure websites that use https or shttp.
3. Downloading. Download from trusted websites. Avoid downloading free software or shareware which may contain viruses.
4. Wi-Fi. Use a locked secure Wi-Fi network.
1. Smartphones. Don't text, email or store your personal or financial information such as credit card, financial account numbers, DOB, SSN on your smartphone. Make purchases from trusted websites and verify the transaction on your financial statement.
2. Downloading. Download from trusted websites. Avoid downloading free software or shareware which may contain viruses.
3. Don’t trust caller id. Technology can scramble telephones numbers to make them look legitimate. Don’t give out personal information over the phone unless it is a company you do business with. Ask for their direct number and call back to give your information to ensure it is a legitimate company.
1. ATM. Avoid using an ATM in a secluded area or at night.
2. Bank. Verify all monthly statements with your receipts. Verify your bank account either daily or weekly. Setup text or email alerts to notify you of any suspicious activity.
3. Credit. When using debit cards use credit instead of debit.
1. Wallet. Don’t carry your SSN or birth certificate in your wallet. If your wallet is stolen so is your identity.
2. Trash. Shred personal information including receipts and junk mail and mix in with other trash. Thieves go dumpster diving through trash to find personal information to steal.
3. Passwords/PINs. Don’t store PINs or passwords in your phone, wallet or purse. Create passwords with 9 characters, a mix of numbers, one special character, 1 lowercase letter and one uppercase letter. Create a PIN or password on your financial accounts and portable devices.
1. Security alert. Place a security alert on your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit reports which prevents people and businesses from accessing your credit report or opening an account unless you are notified first.
2. Sleeve. Purchase a credit card sleeve so there is a lesser chance of having your credit card read while walking down the street. Beware of people who stand close to you or who lean against you on the side where your wallet or purse is held.
3. Aluminum foil. Wrap your credit cards and debit cards in aluminum foil which blocks RFID transmissions and it is less expensive than buying a credit card sleeve.
1. SSN. Ask all companies and businesses that have your SSN how your information is protected. If you are applying for job don't provide your SSN unless you are called for an interview and the job requires a background check. Some applications are thrown directly in the trash without being shredded.