As we embark on another holiday shopping season keep these tips in mind to avoid being a victim of fraud. Remember, fraudsters can steal personal information though identity theft scams, social engineering, and computer malware, just to name a few methods.
Review Credit Reports at Least Once a Year. This will help ensure fraudulent accounts have not been opened using your personal information. Additionally, the Fair Credit Reporting Act entitles consumers to a free credit report once a year from each of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies. You can receive your report by contacting the credit reporting agencies directly or by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com.
Monitor Financial Statements and Online Banking Regularly. Get into the routine of checking your statements and periodically reviewing account transactions and online activities. This will help you identify unauthorized account activities early and prevent potential losses to your personal accounts.
Ensure Children Understand What Information to Provide Online. Fraudsters will often use a game or a free offer that will request personal information, or will include spyware to track and steal information from your computer or mobile device. Encourage children to limit online contacts to friends they actually know, setting privacy controls to restrict access to private information, and enabling parental controls that allow access to only trusted sites. Talk to your children about not giving out their name, address, date of birth, or any other personal information online without talking to you first.
Shred Documents with Personal and Financial Information. Financial statements, credit card offers and billing statements are examples of documents that you should shred.
Look Out for Scams Involving Social Engineering. Fraudsters may impersonate a credit union (or other legitimate organizations) to trick you into giving out personal account information. This social engineering tactic is often utilized as part of an elaborate scheme involving phone calls, emails, text messages and other forms of communication. Never reply to unsolicited telephone, email, text or pop-up messages asking for personal account information. Legitimate organizations never ask for sensitive information over unsecured communication channels.
From NCUA Report, November 2, 2013