The Top Three Ways to Stop CyberCriminals

Computer crime concept.

FREEZE YOUR CREDIT

Place a security freeze on all your accounts with the three major credit reporting agencies.  It is the best way to stop ID thieves from opening new accounts in your name.

MONITOR YOUR ACCOUNTS

Register for online access to every financial account you have (bank accounts, credit cards, 401k’s, IRA’s, etc.  Then check each one weekly.  Consider setting up alerts on your major accounts so that any time there is activity, you are sent a text message.  Most companies will do this for free and allow you to set a dollar threshold.  You can set them as low as zero.

USE A PASSWORD MANAGER

This digital services store all your passwords in a secure online vault.  You will never lose a password again.  They generate complex hard to hack passwords for each of your accounts.  They will notify you of data breaches at companies you have accounts with.  That allows you to quickly change the password for that account, protecting your information.

Identity Theft

Identity-Theft

Most people associate identity theft by using personal information to take over financial accounts.  To guard against fraud, review your statements and accounts for all your financial holdings regularly to confirm that transactions and balances are correct.

If you notice suspicious activity on a credit card or bank statement, contact all financial institutions where you have accounts.  Place a 90-day fraud alert on your credit reports by contacting the fraud hotlines of all three credit reporting agencies.

  • Equifax 1-888-766-0008
  • Experian 1-888-397-3742
  • Trans Union 1-800-680-7289

This fraud alert prevents identity thieves from opening new accounts in your name since most lenders need to review your credit report before approving an account.

Protect your Social Security (SSN).  Some tips are:

  • Shred any documents that contain your SSN rather than putting them in the garbage.
  • Don’t send your SSN through e-mail or text messages.
  • Be mindful of who’ in earshot when sharing private information over the phone.
  • File your tax return early to help prevent others from accessing your refund.

Did you know that cybercriminals can use your health insurance information to see a doctor, get prescription drugs or file claims to your insurance provider?  So, what’s the remedy?

  • Be sure to read all medical and insurance statements carefully. If something looks wrong, call your health insurance customer service number to check on it.
  • Keep your insurance card in a safe place. If you lose it, call your provider for a new one.
  • If you see a fraudulent claim, alert your medical providers immediately.
  • After a fraud incident is reported, follow up with insurance and medical providers to make sure that all errors have been amended.

A sharp increase in social media use means a greater risk of stolen identities and online fraud.  Be aware of what you are posting on your profile.  Your social media profile and updates may reveal answers to security questions and give hackers password hints.

Be selective when accepting social network invites.  Don’t add someone you don’t know to your social network.

Prevention  Tips

  • Watch for phishing
  • Verify virus alerts
  • Update your software
  • Beware of phone scams
  • Notify authorities