With cyber theft being the fastest growing crime in the United States, a proactive approach is the best cure for identity theft. Protect yourself with these helpful guides.
- Look out for credit card skimmers. To check for a skimmer, try to shake the credit card device. If there is any movement, do not insert your card.
- Watch your credit card expiration dates. If you do not receive a replacement card, contact your financial institution. If they issued a replacement card, contact PrivacyMaxx immediately.
- Get cash back in stores while purchasing items rather than using an ATM.
- When fueling your car, go inside to pay rather than using your credit card at the pump.
- Never let your credit or debit card out of your sight. Unfortunately, there are cases of identity theft where unscrupulous cashiers steal credit card information from behind the counter.
- Keep an eye out for strangers behind you could be looking to gain access to your PIN.
- Use a single card for holiday shopping to easily monitor your purchases and identify any abnormal activity or transactions.
- Do not throw away any credit card receipts without destroying them first.
Early detection is critical in protecting the identities of you and your loved ones. Call (800) 676-5696 if you suspect any fraudulent activity.
- Press the log out button when leave a website.
- Do you have a cellphone or tablet? Take advantage of the lock and privacy settings right now. If you lose your phone, the lock feature will provides an initial level of protection for your personal information.
- Don’t publish personal information in social media. There's often something in your profile that could answer your security questions. According to Javelin Strategy and Research, 68% of people with public social media profiles shared their birthday information--and 45% shared the year, too. They also found that 63% shared their high school name, and 12% shared their pet’s name. Multiple studies over the years have shown that many victims of ID theft knew the identity thief!
- Consider using a false answer to a security question that you would know.
Identity theft protection and monitoring can be added to our homeowners, condo, and renters insurance policies.
One trick that identity thieves use is known as phishing. Phishing scams trick users into entering their personal information into a fake webpage.
Do not click links in an email unless you know they are the real deal. A red flag would be if the message contained urgent language suggesting you take immediate action. Remember, emails alerting you to "act now" on a security risk are sometimes emails containing security risks. If you're concerned about the content of the message, it's better to contact the referenced company directly.
One way to check for phishing is to hover your mouse cursor without clicking on the link to see if the address matches the link in the message. When in doubt, don't click on unknown links and never reply to emails from anyone you don't know.
Although major websites are beginning to require stronger passwords, meeting the minimum security requirements is just that: minimum requirements. There’s no substitute for a quality password. Here are tips to make your passwords more secure:
Password should never be only 6 characters in length.
Passwords should not contain only lowercase letters.
Add symbols to your password.
Add numbers, but not just to the beginning or end of the password.
Do not use an actual word.
Use a different password for different websites.
Change your passwords regularly.