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Keeping Your Identity Safe

Keeping Your Identity Safe

What are you doing to protect your identity?

Your personal information can be found anywhere, from your social media accounts to your email inbox to your physical mailbox sitting outside of your house. Here are a few tips that you can implement to build up your protection from identity theft, both online and offline.

Online

Ensure your software is up-to-date. Keep your operating system, web browsers and apps current to protect against the latest malware threats and ensure web pages load properly. Most software can be set to automatically update. Set yours to do so! You need to also stay on top of browser retirements and transitions.

For example, the transition of Internet Explorer to Microsoft Edge is not automatic and must be done by the consumer to ensure a more secure and modern browsing experience.

Monitor your account transactions. Check your banking statements when they arrive and review account activity often in online and mobile banking. You can also set up alerts and receive notifications on account activity and balance updates so that you are always up to date on your accounts.

Check your credit report. You can get a report from each of the credit reporting companies. Every year, for free. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com or contact (877) 322-8228. Plus, everyone in the U.S. is currently able to get a free credit report each week from all three national credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) due to the pandemic.

Update your privacy settings. When is the last time you checked your privacy settings on social media? Take some time to check the settings on each of your social accounts to make sure you’re not publicly displaying any information you wouldn’t want the wrong person to see.

Look for the lock symbol. When you’re shopping online, submitting an online application, or sending other personal information, check the address bar for the padlock symbol (🔒). This means the information you send will be encrypted.

Freeze your credit. If you believe your information has been leaked, you can freeze your credit with each of the three major credit bureaus. This will help prevent identity thieves from being able to open new accounts under your name. It is now free to freeze and unfreeze your credit. Keep in mind—if you need to have your credit checked, such as if you’re applying for a loan, unfreezing your credit may take some time, since you’ll have to contact each credit bureau.

Use account alerts. Stay in the know about your accounts by setting up account alerts within online banking. Setting up account alerts and account notifications are a great way to stay up-to-date on your finances and account activity. With online and mobile banking, you can choose from a wide variety of alerts including automatic transfers, direct deposits, balance alerts, insufficient funds, check clearing and more. It’s also great way to get immediate information on any suspicious activity on your accounts. On mobile devices, you can select from email notifications or push notifications.

Offline

Shred it. Don’t throw out documents containing your personal information or account information. Familiarize yourself with what documents to shred so your information isn’t hanging out on the curbside where anyone could get ahold of it. If you don’t have a shredder, you can bring your documents to our free shred day events.

Lock your documents. If you don’t already have one, get a lockable container or file cabinet to secure and protect your physical financial documents and records.

Hold your mail. Going out of town? Putting your mail on hold is an easy alternative to asking the neighbors to grab it for you. Through the USPS Hold Mail Service, you can make sure that potentially vulnerable information isn’t sitting unguarded in your mailbox while you’re out of town.

For more tips on keeping your information safe, see our Learning Center article on ways to Protect your finances. Protect your identity. Protect yourself.

Until next time,

Alltru Credit Union Employee, Chelsea Springli's Signature

Chelsea Springli

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