10 Identity Theft Protection Tips to Keep Your Bank Account Secure
It’s disheartening to come to terms with the fact that everyday people must self-exercise identity theft protection from nefarious characters. The days of only remaining vigilant about not losing your checkbook, wallet, purse, or credit cards are just the tip of the iceberg. Today, we all carry the burden of keeping our personal and financial information secure. That’s because criminals are utilizing more sophisticated methods at a time when our personal data is more vulnerable than ever. We hope these identity theft protection tips will help you keep your bank account secure.
1: Beware ATM Card Readers
Scam artists have developed a clever way to read your ATM card without you realizing it. An item called a “skimmer” is slipped over the ATM slot. This device copies your bank card information, and the criminal uses it to forge a dummy card. Check the ATM for any unusual looking items, plastic, or scratch marks where you insert your card.
2: Protect Your PIN
Although there is signage at most point-of-purchase stations, it’s easy to get overly comfortable typing in your security code. By consistently covering up when entering your PIN, you may deter a credit card thief. PINs are necessary to withdraw cash from your bank account or make purchases.
3: Keep ATM Cards in Plain Sight
Criminals are not above leveraging a legitimate job to get access to ATM and credit cards. One of the methods used is to take your card and make a copy where you cannot see them. This technique can be shockingly quick to complete. The same skimmer used on the ATM could fit in their backpack behind any counter.
4: Include Identity Theft Protection on Devices
Hackers spend their days trying to penetrate personal devices such as cell phones, and computers because your crucial identity information may be housed in them. It’s essential to keep security software up to date and run scans on a regular basis.
5: Recognize Hacker Scams
If you receive an email or text message that asks you to log in to an account or click through a link, that may very well be a cybercriminal trying to get your information. What’s frightening about these scams is that they can employ email and text message formats that look precisely like legitimate accounts. Once inside, they may be able to leverage auto-pay information and drain your accounts. If you receive one of these, call the bank or vendor and speak to a customer service professional.
6: Complex Passwords Matter
Many online banking systems rate password strengths. This is important because hackers can run password-busters if they get int the account. The more complex the password, the better the chance of them touching off a system alert while hacking.
7: Use Credit Score Alerts
If you are one of the millions who track your score, this type of monitoring can prove valuable. Some online resources send alerts when a credit score is impacted. That can serve as an early warning that your identity has been stolen. If you see a significant change in score, investigate.
8: Check Your Bank Transactions
Online banking gives us all the ability to monitor balances and spending. That is helpful in avoiding overdraft. It also serves as a front-line defense against unauthorized use. If you see a questionable purchase or cash withdrawal, it may be in your best interest to put a freeze on the card and your account.
9: Avoid Making Transactions on Public Wireless
When paying bills or purchasing goods, it may be prudent to use a single secure location. Open wireless systems invite cybercriminals to tap into the network and hack your device. A savvy hacker could be sitting across the coffee shop or halfway around the world, monitoring your online transactions, and stealing your critical information.
10: Use Security Profile Questions
Those seemingly pesky personal questions, such as your first pet’s name, are valuable tools to deter identity theft. Even if a shifty criminal gets your ATM number and security PIN, knowing the answers to just two personal questions can present an impasse. Consider ramping up your identity theft protection by requiring answers to such questions and routinely changing them.
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