A data breach that compromises your identity can have a long-term emotional impact on your health, in addition to challenges you will have developing your personal strategy to protect your health and wealth from a possible stolen identity. Sometimes it can feel like you are fighting an invisible enemy. Staying informed is the best way to protect your identity and your first line of defense against identity theft.
First, start by monitoring your credit closely. You can get a credit report from each of the three credit bureaus listed below every four months. One strategy: get a report from one company at the beginning of the year, from another at the midpoint, and from another at the end of the year.
Here are the links:
• Equifax: https://www.equifax.com/personal/
• Experian: https://www.experian.com/
• TransUnion: https://www.transunion.com/
Then start all over again.
Additionally, checking your credit report often will help you identify any odd activity that might pop up. Here are some identity theft red flags you need to look for on your credit report:
- Inactive accounts that suddenly have activity on them
- A line of credit you didn’t open
- Your personal information is incorrect
- A good standing account is in collections
- A credit inquiry for which you didn’t apply
If you see something strange on your report, act immediately. You have the right to dispute any information on your credit report that doesn’t look correct.
Lastly, some other steps that you should take to protect your identity include:
- Make sure you update your computer’s anti-virus software. If you don’t stay up-to-date with anti-virus software, you leave yourself open as a target.
- Make privacy a priority on social media. Stop sharing every detail of your life without thinking twice about how public you are providing personal information. Set your privacy settings on the highest level to be safe.
- Keep your phone secure. Make sure you take advantage of the passcode or thumbprint scan to get into your phone.
- Never use unsecured Wi-Fi. Use Wi-Fi hotspots and public Wi-Fi cautiously. Don’t use it to go over online banking statements. If you need to log on to your banking website, wait until you get home, and make sure your home router is secure.
- Change your passwords to your bank accounts, email and social media. Sites like Facebook get hacked all the time, so you don’t want them getting more personal information about you. Make your passwords difficult combinations of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, and special characters. Use a different password for each account. In other words, don’t use the same password for all your social media profiles, email addresses and banking accounts.
- Check your online bank account every day. We have systems at Chelsea State Bank that watch your spending patterns and regular charges and will flag your account if something irregular is going on. It’s still important for you to log on every day and make sure there aren’t questionable charges connected to your account. You’re the first line of defense in protecting your identity.
- Don’t send bills from your personal mailbox. A lot of people are so concerned with digital fraud, they forget the easiest type of identity theft can be just stealing mail out of your mailbox
Being a victim of identity theft and coming to terms with the crime is difficult. Like any form of trauma, there isn’t a set time for someone who is a victim to be able to move forward after falling prey to an identity thief. If your personal data has been compromised, you are constantly at risk for identity theft. Sometimes, the way to move forward is to accept the challenge that the crime has presented. With that in mind, you can recognize the power and ability you have to take these steps to shield yourself in the future.
Chelsea State Bank Can Help
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 into your life. Furthermore, 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 to protect your identity, from our experts at Chelsea State Bank. Contact our office by phone: (734) 475-1355 or online: https://www.chelseastate.bank/mortgages/