Coast Hills

Four powerful ways to protect yourself from identity theft

by Joshua D. Scroggin
August 23, 2016
ID Theft
In 2014, there was a new identity fraud victim every two seconds. Meanwhile, high-profile security breaches continue to affect major companies like Wendy's, Target and Home Depot. Now for the good news: You don’t have to stop shopping altogether; you just need to remember to protect your financial information. Start with these four effective tips:

Avoid phishing scams

As consumers become more savvy, online phishing scams seem to get more sophisticated. However, the solution to beating them is simple: awareness. If you receive an email from a suspicious or unfamiliar sender, don’t open it. If you’re still curious, try Googling the name of the sender or business to investigate. If you do accidentally open it, never click on any links. Scammers design fake emails to look like the real thing. And if they want to access the info on your computer, they’ll include an enticing link. Once you click it, the scammer can steal information from your machine. The worst part? You probably won’t know it until it’s too late, i.e., someone has stolen your identity and made fraudulent charges with your credit and banking info.

You should also watch out for pop-ups that mimic legitimate banks or businesses, and ask for your personal information. Additionally, always check the URL of the website requesting your login credentials; is it the site you intended to visit? 

Go paperless

If you still get paper statements in the mail, go digital instead. A motivated thief can simply open your mailbox and intercept your banking statements or any piece of mail containing confidential info. While online security breaches do occur, financial institutions and retail stores are always working to improve their protection. 

Make secure payments

Most financial institutions now issue debit and credit cards with EMV chips. EMV makes it harder for thieves to steal your card info. It generates a specific code for every transaction (versus the old magnetic strips on cards that contained unchanging—and steal-able—data). Plus, companies like Apple and Google offer secure ways to pay using just your phone, minimizing your exposure to fraud at the cashier or card terminal.

Use an identity-monitoring tool

There’s no foolproof plan against identity theft, but you can minimize the impact. Monitoring tools will keep an eye on your finances and credit and report any unusual activity. You can also link your finances directly with identity protection by opting for the CoastHills Super Checking account. Our most powerful checking account features IDProtect®, which includes total identity monitoring and covers over 1,000 databases of credit, Social Security, public records, telephone and more.    

Interested? Apply for a Super Checking account today!

Super Checking
Similar topics: Financial Fitness

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