There are many ways to prevent identity theft. But look closely at these five steps. Sometimes they are so simple or heard of so often, we fail to recognize them as the most critical to protecting our identity. These steps are:
Be Very Careful Before Clicking on Any Link in a Text Message
You have heard the term: phishing. It is an old trick where someone pretends to be a legitimate business and is able to trick you into sharing your personal details. Historically, fraudsters would call you on the phone or send you an email. As more people have learned to recognize that tactic, identity thieves are turning to text messaging. Texting is something we are all doing more and fraud attacks using texting is becoming more common. Be very careful when you receive an SMS (Short Message Service) with a link or a phone number you do not recognize. Be even more suspicious when you see a message warning of un-authorized activity or asking you to update your personal information.
Text messages on smartphones carry two big risks. First, by tapping on the link you could be taken to a false website that captures your personal information. But increasingly, sophisticated fraudsters are creating malware that can get into your smartphone. Fraudsters try to gain access to your phone, and all of the information on your phone including your mobile banking app. So, avoid clicking on links in text messages.
Don’t Forget the Danger of Fake Emails
This has been in the news as stories of the Russian hack of the Democratic party continue to dominate the headlines. Perhaps not surprisingly, the hack used one of the oldest tricks in the book: email phishing. Victims received an email telling them that their Google email accounts had been compromised. There was a link in the email that took the victim to a page that looked exactly like a Google login page. The victims input their username and password, providing access to fraudster. Even with all of the warnings covered in the media, this type of fraud remains incredibly common. Don’t get tricked by this scheme. If you get an email from what appears to be your bank warning you of fraudulent activity, delete the email. Chelsea State Bank will contact you directly, not by email, if we suspect fraud.
Be Careful with ATMs and at Gas Pumps
With the introduction of chip technology on ATM/Debit cards, the frequency of skimming will reduce. However, the risk is still real.
Last year the number of compromised ATMs and point-of-sale devices rose eight percent, according to data FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation) released in March 2018. Meanwhile, the number of compromised cards climbed 10 percent. A good way to protect your identity is to use your bank’s proprietary ATM. Not only will you save on ATM fees, but you will be under the watchful eyes of bank cameras.
Experts also note an increase in gas pump skimmers. Credit and debit card skimming is a type of card theft where fraudsters use a small device to steal card information in an otherwise legitimate credit or debit card transaction. When a credit or debit card is swiped through a skimmer, the illegal device captures and stores all the details stored in the card’s magnetic stripe. So, with fuel pumps, you want to look to see if the seal is broken at the dispenser door. To place a skimmer inside a fuel pump, fraudsters must open the fuel dispenser to insert the skimmer. Station owners have been placing a serial-numbered security tape across the dispenser door to prevent that trick, so check to see if the tape has been broken. If there’s no tape, check to see if the dispenser door looks as though it has been forced open. Report anything that looks out of the ordinary to the station manager.
Avoid Banking on Public Wi-Fi With Your Phone
Free Wi-Fi and public Wi-Fi can be a wonderful convenience. Unfortunately, fraudsters can take advantage of the lax security of public Wi-Fi to steal your information. If you want to use your phone to conduct sensitive transactions (like accessing your bank account), use a secure wireless network or your phone’s data network.
Make Sure You Get Alerted Quickly
Chances are high that your information will be compromised at some point. To minimize the loss of time and money, you’ll want to ensure rapid notification of any breach. At Chelsea State Bank we provide alerts. Set up alerts with your debit and credit cards so that you are notified of transactions regularly. With the right notification settings, you will be made aware of a fraudulent charge within minutes of it happening.
It is important to monitor your credit, act immediately after data breaches, pay attention to fraud alerts, and consider using an identity theft prevention service.
Chelsea State Bank offers our customers top-of-the-line IDTheft protection and credit monitoring services because we know it can be time-consuming and confusing this can be to try to fit in your life. We monitor all your credit information, as well as your accounts with us, for any suspicious activity or changes, to notify you when your identity is at risk.
Learn more about the advantages of working with your local community bank in developing a plan to prevent identity theft. Talk to one of our experts at Chelsea State Bank. Contact our office by phone: (734) 475-1355 or online: https://www.chelseastate.bank/contact