Identity theft is a growing problem as Americans’ lives become increasingly virtualized. Identity theft occurs through access to checking account information, credit cards, ID numbers, and computerized banking systems. While this problem is unlikely to go away completely, there are some very simple steps you can take to protect yourself against identity theft. Read on to learn more:
- Beware of scams. Millions of people receive scam emails daily, often from seemingly legitimate websites asking for personal information. A popular scam, for example, is an email informing you that your eBay account is about to be suspended unless you respond with personal information. This is called phishing, and even savvy web users can be fooled. Look out for poor grammar and spelling as indicators of phishing and always check the sender’s email address.
- Use complex passwords. While it is tempting to use passwords that you can easily remember, or one password for all your accounts, you should use more complex passwords that cannot be guessed. Steer clear of using your name, a name of someone in your family, or a pet’s name. Birthdays are also to be avoided. Use a complex combination of numbers and letters in different cases to bolster security.
- Keep track of your accounts and credit score. Review your checking account activity often to make sure there are no suspicious purchases being made without your knowledge. Even small charges are worth investigating—sometimes a thief will make small purchases at first to see if the account is active. Additionally, be sure to check your credit score at all three of the major credit rating companies—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—on a regular basis. It is recommended that you do this every three months, though for a fee, these companies will alert you of any changes in your credit score for you.
For a quality credit union you can trust, come to GCS Credit Union of O’Fallon, Illinois. We are dedicated to providing you the utmost in secure and convenient banking. To learn more about our services and offers, please call (618) 219-8600.