It seems we all know someone who has had their identity stolen. What a terrible feeling of invasion. We all work really hard and to have someone take it away and destroy it in minutes it something we need to protect. At Vermont Mortgage Company we take privacy very seriously and disclose our privacy disclosure to you so you know what we can and can’t do with your information. To help protect yourself from such threats, here are some tips to help save yourself from being targeted.
Be smart – Don’t give away personal information! Never give out your social security number or bank account info. There are many ways identity thieves try to get this information from you, such as phishing with emails or telephone calls that seem legitimate. Don’t leave any personal items like computers or purses/wallets that have credit cards in them. Investing in a special protective casing for your cards is a good investment – the special metal covering stops people from scanning your card info without even taking it!
Be alerted – Set up notifications and alerts about fishy actions in your accounts. Work with your credit card companies and banks to set up these alerts and find out what it takes to put a freeze on an account. Even if it turns out to be a false alarm, it is better to go through a freeze than to lose a good amount of money due to a fraudulent user.
Be secure – Make sure to protect your devices! Utilize anti-virus and other software on your computer to make sure nothing gets through to what’s important. On your smart phone device, keep your apps protected. It is good to have your bank and credit card apps on your phone so you are alerted immediately about anything suspect, and also so you can keep a check on your accounts while on the go. Make sure to use strong passwords using upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols such as # & @. Many new phones utilize fingerprint recognition to log in, adding an additional layer of security for you.
Be organized – Keep your files! Make sure to have a storage solution for your important documents at home. Make sure they are kept in a secure area and stored properly. Keep documents containing your passwords, information for account freezes, as well as photocopies of documents such as drivers license, passport and cards. It pays to have such important documents in 1 secure area. Don’t carry important documents like your social security card with you!
Be prompt – Take action immediately! If all else fails and you believe you are a victim of identity fraud, contact your bank immediately. Put a hold on the account and report any suspicious transactions. Close any compromised accounts and get your credit reports from all three bureaus for review. Once contacting the proper authorities, such instances should be squared away relatively quickly.
Finally: Be informed – Research your options! Contact your bank and credit companies and find out ways to help prevent any fraud from happening before it does! If you have any questions for us about our security/privacy measures, feel free to drop by our office or contact us at 802-863-2020! Your safety is very important with us, so if you have any concerns, please don’t hesitate to ask!
Helpful links: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2010/07/protect-your-identity/index.htm