Finance Friday: Protect Yourself From Fraud

Not a week goes by without a fresh story of fraud in the news. Sometimes it is large scale (think Target or Home Depot) and sometimes it is a small local business. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the variety of scams out there. But just a few simple steps can help you protect yourself from fraud.

  1. Obtain ID theft protection for your checking and savings accounts. Monitor your activity in these accounts regularly and contact the bank right away if you see anything unusual.
  2. Never give out any personal information over the phone, by text, or in an email.
  3. Be sure that your financial institution has your up-to-date contact information, so that they can reach you easily if they see suspicious activity on your account.
  4. Use strong passwords! Avoid using real words, and be sure to incorporate numbers and special characters in your passwords. Then, change them regularly.
  5. Check your credit report. You can access your credit report for free once per year from each of the three major reporting agencies. Just visit www.annualcreditreport.com to get your free report. Mark your calendar to check your report three times per year, rotating through the agencies.

Simply making it a habit to monitor your financial information regularly will go a long way toward keeping you secure!