Keep your mobile devices and computers secure
You should always use password protection on your devices, update your security software, and backup your content. Your passwords should be difficult to guess and changed regularly.
Remove yourself from credit marketing lists
Visit the Opt Out website or call 1-888-567-8688 to remove yourself from marketing lists.
Check your credit reports regularly
You should do this especially when you’ve been denied credit or been the victim of identity theft. The nationwide credit reporting companies are legally required to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.
Download and install an Internet filter
Filters like Qustodio and Net Nanny prevent access to websites that could be unsafe or may have inappropriate content.
- Someone reaches out to you unexpectedly
- Something appears too good to be true
- You’re being pressured to pay money immediately
- You’re asked to make advance payments or fees
- You’re asked to make a non-traceable payment using a company like Western Union
- You’re asked about details of your financial accounts or other personal information
- You receive an unfamiliar email from a free domain name (the part after the @), such as gmail, yahoo, or aol
- The seller doesn’t want to provide you with full details of what they’re offering
- You receive a strange email that is poorly written and filled with errors
If you receive an offer that resembles any of these descriptions, it could be a scam.
You could already be the subject of an act of fraud if:
- There are unexpected charges on one of your financial accounts
- Credit cards are sent to you when you haven’t applied for them
- You receive notifications that you’ve been denied credit for which you didn’t apply
- Your credit reports have unfamiliar or inaccurate information
- Your bank statement shows checks that are out of order
- You stop receiving bills or statements unexpectedly by U.S. mail
- You receive notifications about address, password or information changes that you did not make
- You’ve been denied credit unreasonably
- Debt collectors contact you about merchandise you didn't buy
- You find out banks or other financial institutions have unexpectedly frozen your accounts
Be aware of the following:
- A secure website should be identified as “secure” and/or the URL should start with “https.” Only give out personal information over a trusted and secure website.
- Keep your computer software updated. This will keep security features strong and up to date.
- If you use Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites, you should familiarize yourself with their privacy and security settings. Be very careful with whom you connect.
- Do not open suspicious texts, pop-up windows, or click on links or attachments in emails. It’s best to just delete something that looks suspicious.
- Don’t share your passwords or sensitive information on social media
- Avoid using the same passwords for multiple accounts
- Avoid guessing at website addresses. There are many sites that use a URL that looks like a legitimate website. If you’re not sure of the exact URL, use key terms on a search engine to find the correct site.
Please be aware that your email is not a secure platform. If you need to email personal information:
- Save it to a document that you can attach to the email
- Save the name of the document as “Read Only” and use encryption or electronic document password protection
- Inform the recipient of the password by telephone or, once receipt of the document is confirmed, in a separate email
- Do not include sensitive information like credit card or social security numbers within the body of an email
- If you are not familiar with the person who sent an email, try to verify their identity. If an email looks suspicious, you should probably delete it.
Follow these tips:
- Avoid carrying your Social Security card in your wallet. It’s an important document that should be kept in a secure place.
- Avoid leaving your mail in an unsecured mailbox. If you’re going to be away from home, place a hold on your mail or have someone you trust collect it daily.
- If you’re using paper statements, consider switching to electronic statements
- Do not assume your trash is secure
- Use a locked filing cabinet or a document safe for important documents
- Use a cross shredder to dispose of documents