Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

It’s a new year, and there is no better time to make sure you are protecting yourself from identity theft.  We’ve talked about cyber security before, but there are some practices you can put into play offline as well.  Here are a few ways you can prevent and protect yourself from identity theft in 2018.

Mail Matters

Pay attention to your mail.  Collect your mail promptly each day so it won’t hang out in your mailbox baiting someone to steal your personal information.  If you are going to be out of town, place a hold on your mail with the post office.  They will gladly stop delivering your mail until you get back and can pick it up.  

Also, when you collect your mail, pay attention to when you receive your bills.  By looking at your billing and financial statement cycles, you will know if one is missing or late.  If one does come up late or missing, contact the sender as soon as possible to ward off any stolen information.

A good way to keep your banking statements out of your mailbox is to sign up for online banking.  Lucky for you, WCU offers online banking as well as a ton of other amenities with your accounts.  Just give us a call to set it all up!

Housekeeping Rules

Store all of your private personal and financial information at home in a very secure location.  A fireproof safe is always a great idea, but if you don’t want a safe, just make sure wherever you put the information, it isn’t easily accessible to others.  In the same vein, make sure your Social Security Number is secure.  Don’t carry your SSN card in your wallet or write your number on any checks.  Only give your number out when it is absolutely necessary.   

Also, shred any documents, receipts, credit card offers, expired credit cards, and account statements you don’t need anymore instead of just throwing them away.  Some desperate thieves won’t think twice about diving into a dumpster and looking for any information they can find to steal identities, information, and money.  

Monthly Reviews

It’s always a smart idea to review all of your credit card and bank account statements every month for suspicious activity.  Most of the time, if you catch it early you can resolve the issue quickly.  If you don’t notice it for several months, it becomes a much bigger issue.  

It’s also a great idea to review you credit report once a year to make sure you don’t see any open accounts or lines of credit that you don’t know about.  You can usually get your credit report free once a year through several institutions.

Being proactive by implementing these few tips can be the difference it takes to ward off any identity theft attempts that could occur.  Just keep a watch over your private information and report any suspicious activity, and you will be ahead of the game.

If you see any suspicious activity with your WCU account, please contact us at 256-355-5010 or 256-974-2013 as soon as possible.  

 

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