Identity Theft Resources
You can help protect yourself against fraud by following these identity theft resources. Monitor your accounts and monthly statements to ensure their accuracy. Never put outgoing mail that may contain checks or tax documents in your mailbox at home…
You can help protect yourself against fraud by following these tips:
- Monitor your accounts and monthly statements to ensure their accuracy.
- Never put outgoing mail that may contain checks or tax documents in your mailbox at home.
- Every year, order copies of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus to verify their accuracy.
- Keep a checklist of the critical items stored in your wallet, purse, laptop and/or smartphone.
- Thoroughly shred documents containing any personal information before disposing of them.
- Only order from Internet sites that use secure methods of obtaining personal account or credit card information.
- Never write your Personal Identification Number (PIN) on your ATM/Debit card. Never write your Social Security Number or credit card number on a check.
- Always log off after an online banking session.
- Remove passwords, PIN numbers and identification cards containing your social security number from your purse or wallet.
If you suspect your identity has been stolen:
- Immediately file a report with your local police.
- Call the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-ID-Theft.
- Contact the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your record.
- Maintain a log of each contact with authorities.
Identity Theft Tips
Identity Theft continues to be among the nation’s fastest-growing types of fraud, impacting millions of people each year. Gardner Financial Services is committed to helping our customers protect their personal information with these tips:
- Don’t carry your Social Security number, memorize it and keep the card at home. Begin receiving electronic statements and bills. If you do receive them by mail, watch for their timely arrival.
- Mail your bills inside the post office rather than using a mailbox near the street.
- Don’t share your account numbers over the phone or anywhere others can hear you.
- Keep your eye on your credit card at all times while making purchases.
- Keep track of all credit card receipts and shred any you do not need.
- Shred any unneeded documents that contain barcodes, account numbers or other sensitive data.
Mobile Security Tips
That smartphone in your pocket – or your tablet or laptop – contains significant information about you and your friends and family – contact numbers, photos, location and more. Your mobile devices need to be protected. Take the following security precautions…
Safety Tips for Your Mobile Device
The following Mobile Device Safefy tips come from StopThinkConnect.org:
That smartphone in your pocket – or your tablet or laptop – contains significant information about you and your friends and family – contact numbers, photos, location and more. Your mobile devices need to be protected. Take the following security precautions and enjoy the conveniences of technology with peace of mind while you are on the go.
Keep a Clean Machine:
- Keep security software current on all devices that connect to the Internet: Having the most up-to‐date mobile security software, web browser, operating system and apps is the best defense against viruses, malware and other online threats.
- Delete when done: Many of us download apps for specific purposes, such as planning a vacation, and no longer need them afterwards, or we may have previously downloaded apps that are no longer useful or interesting to us. It’s a good security practice to delete all apps you no longer use.
Protect Your Personal Information:
- Secure your devices: Use strong passwords, passcodes or other features such as touch identification to lock your devices. Securing your device can help protect your information if your device is lost or stolen and keep prying eyes out.
- Personal information is like money – Value it. Protect it.: Information about you, such as the games you like to play, what you search for online and where you shop and live, has value ‒ just like money. Be thoughtful about who gets that information and how it’s collected through apps and websites.
- Own your online presence: Use security and privacy settings on websites and apps to manage what is shared about you and who sees it.
- Now you see me, now you don’t: Some stores and other locations look for devices with WiFi or Bluetooth turned on to track your movements while you are within range. Disable WiFi and Bluetooth when not in use.
Connect with Care:
- Get savvy about WiFi hotspots: Public wireless networks and hotspots are not secure, which means that anyone could potentially see what you are doing on your laptop or smartphone while you are connected to them. Limit what you do on public WiFi, and avoid logging in to key accounts like email and financial services. Consider using a virtual private network (VPN) or a personal/mobile hotspot if you need a more secure connection.
- When in doubt, don’t respond: Fraudulent text messages, calls and voicemails are on the rise. Just as with email, mobile requests for personal data or immediate action are almost always scams.
Visit http://www.stopthinkconnect.org for more tips about how to stay safe online.
Wire Fraud Schemes
Intruders begin the wire fraud process long before the attempted theft occurs. This can often take the form of email messages, website forms, or phone calls to obtain private information fraudulently. Through seemingly harmless communication, criminals trick users into inputting their information or clicking a link that allows hackers to steal login and password information.
Once hackers gain access to an email account, they will monitor messages to find someone in the process of buying a home. Hacks can come from various parties involved in a transaction, including Real Estate agents, title companies, attorneys, or consumers. Criminals then use the stolen information to email fraudulent wire transfer instructions disguised to appear as if they came from a professional you’re working with to purchase a home.
If you receive an email with wiring instructions, don’t respond! Email is not a secure way to send financial information. If you take the lure, your money could be gone in minutes.
The American Land Title Association provides these five tips to protect against wire fraud…
- Call, don’t email: Confirm all wiring instructions by phone before transferring funds. Use the phone number from the title company’s website or a business card.
- Be suspicious: It’s not common for title companies to change wiring instructions and payment information.
- Confirm it all: Ask your bank to confirm not just the account number but also the name on the account before sending a wire.
- Verify immediately: You should call the title company or Real Estate agent to validate that the funds were received. Detecting that you sent the money to the wrong account within 24 hours gives you the best chance of recovering your money.
- Forward, don’t reply: When responding to an email, hit forward instead of reply and then start typing in the person’s email address. Criminals use email addresses that are very similar to the real one for a company. By typing in email addresses, you will make it easier to discover if a fraudster is after you.