Your personal information is a valuable commodity. It’s not only the key to your financial identity, but also to your online identity. Knowing how to protect your information — and your identity — is a must. Here are some tips to doing it effectively.
Lock your financial documents and records in a safe place at home, and lock your wallet or purse in a safe place at work. Also, limit what you carry. When you go out, take only the identification, credit, and debit cards you need. Leave your Social Security card at home. Make a copy of your Medicare card and black out all but the last four digits on the copy.
Get rid of temptation! Shred receipts, credit offers, credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, checks, bank statements, expired charge cards, and similar documents. Especially if your name is imprinted upon them. The same precautions should be taken with your prescriptions.
Destroy the labels on prescription bottles before you throw them out. Don’t share your health plan information with anyone who offers free health services or products.
Make sure you know who is getting your personal or financial information. Don’t give out personal information on the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you’ve initiated the contact or know who you’re dealing with. If a company claims to have an account with you sends email asking for personal information, don’t click on links in the email. Instead, type the company name into your web browser, go to their site, and contact them through customer service.
Use strong passwords with your laptop, credit, bank, and other accounts. Be creative: think of a special phrase and use the first letter of each word as your password. Substitute numbers for some words or letters.
Don’t Overshare on Social Networking Sites. Never post your full name, Social Security number, address, phone number, or account numbers in publicly accessible sites.
Consider opting out of pre-screened offers of credit and insurance by mail. You can opt out for 5 years or permanently. To opt out, call 1-888-567-8688 or go to www.optoutprescreen.com.
Rest assured, at Independent Federal Credit Union, we are always working to monitor our member accounts for any suspicious or unusual activity. Again, always remember; Independent will never ask you for personal or financial information over the phone, in a text, or in an e-mail. Please always be aware of phishing scams attempting to obtain any personal information from you!
What to do if your identity is compromised or stolen
Download this PDF - Taking Charge! What to do if your Identity is stolen - to have on file and learn more about what to do if your identity is at risk or stolen.