When an individual’s identity is stolen, it can do significant damage to the victim’s financial health. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent yourself from becoming the next victim. Here is your complete guide to identity theft protection.
1. Use strong unique passwords: Never use identical passwords for multiple accounts. If you do so, you are making yourself an easier target for identity thieves. Instead, create strong, unique passwords for every account you use. The strongest passwords use a variety of letters, symbols and numbers, and are never mock-ups or replicas of popular phrases or words.
2. Only use Wi-Fi with a VPN: Did you know you are putting your personal information at risk every time you use the free Wi-Fi at your neighborhood coffee shop (or any other public establishment)? When using public Wi-Fi, always choose a Virtual Private Network (VPN) instead of your default Wi-Fi settings to keep the sensitive information on your device secure.
3. Block robocalls: Identity theft often occurs via robocalls in which the scammer impersonates a government official or the representative of a well-known company. Lower the number of robocalls reaching your home by adding your phone number to the Federal Trade Commission’s No Call List at donotcall.gov. It’s also a good practice to ignore all calls from unfamiliar numbers, because each engagement encourages the scammers to try again.
4. Upgrade your devices: Whenever possible, upgrade the operating system of your computer, tablet and phone to the latest versions. Upgraded systems will keep you safe from the most recent security breaches and offer you the best protection against viruses and hacks.
5. Shred old documents: While most modern-day identity theft is implemented over the internet or through phone calls, plenty of criminals still use old-fashioned means to get the information they need. It’s best to shred all documents containing sensitive information as soon as you don’t need them.
6. Keep personal information personal: Be cautious about sharing sensitive data, like your Social Security number and banking PINs, with strangers – and even with friends. It’s also a good idea to use the strongest, most private security settings on your social media accounts to keep hackers out.
7. Take advantage of your Benefits Plus® checking account: Once you upgrade your basic checking account to a Benefits Plus® checking with SeaComm, you will gain access to identity theft services, free annual credit reports, IDT Restoration Rescue® and more! You may even upgrade to Benefits Plus® Premium, which provides you with all of the advantages of a Benefits Plus® checking account, plus additional protection from Ultimate ID®, which includes:
- 3 bureau credit monitoring
- Internet monitoring
- Instant inquiry alerts
- Remediation and lost documentation replacement services.
Visit your local SeaComm branch to enroll, today!
For complete information, terms, conditions and exclusions please visit www.benefits-plus.org or call 866-329-7587.