From checking account numbers to Social Security numbers, we all have a lot of personal information. And that information needs to be guarded because, as data-protection specialist and SAC FCU partner DataShield points out, identity theft does happen – with frightening regularity. If you read our previous post on identity theft, you already know how to avoid phishing scams and take other basic precautions for protecting your identity. Here are some additional steps you can take and tools you can use to make sure nobody gets away with pretending to be you.
Set up fraud monitoring
Check with your credit union to see if they have a fraud-monitoring service. If so, the service works 24 hours a day looking for strange activity on your account and will freeze your assets and alert you if they suspect someone is using your account fraudulently. When you set up your account, you may be asked to establish a passcode that will let you unfreeze the account if you accidentally trigger an alert.
Never connect to a network you don’t know
Ever been to a coffee shop and seen a long list of Wi-Fi hotspots pop up on your electronic device? None of them are secure (as far as your personal data is concerned), and some may be run by scammers just to steal your personal information. Ask an employee which network belongs to the shop, and when you connect don’t use it for online banking or disclose any personal information. If you have to bank from a mobile device, use your mobile carrier’s data network or your own secure network connection.
Secure Messaging With CU@Home
It would be convenient if your credit union could contact you via email with sensitive account information, but no reputable credit union would ever do that. This problem is neatly solved by CU@Home, a service used by SAC Federal Credit Union that lets you securely access your account from all types of electronic devices.
CU@Home is often used to check account balances and review statements, but it also has a Secure Messaging feature that lets you and your credit union email each other sensitive information without posing a security risk. It’s a great way to bank online without putting your identity at stake.
Leave no trace
Most credit unions let you do online banking from any computer that has a Web browser installed. It’s best not to do online banking on public computers. But if you absolutely have to:
- Securely delete the browser history and cookies (check your browser provider’s website for instructions).
- Or, carry a USB drive loaded with a browser from www.portableapps.com, plug it into the USB port of a public computer, and run the browser from there. When you unplug it, all of your personal data stays with you.
Our online lives seem to be continuously expanding. As the number of tasks we can complete online continues to increase, it’s important to keep safety in the back of your mind. Always be aware of how and with whom you’re sharing your personal info.
Do you take the necessary precautions when it comes to your online identity? Are there things you could do better?
For more information or answer to your ID theft questions, contact Member Services at 402-292-8000 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Plus, be sure to download the Essential ID Theft Checklist to learn more about the urgent next steps you should take if your identity has been compromised.