Did you recently get a notice that says your personal information was exposed in a data breach? Did you lose your wallet? Or learn that an online account was hacked? Depending on what information was lost, there are steps you can take to help protect yourself from identity theft.
- Be extra careful about emails and attachments. Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from suspicious emails that claim to be updates from any company connected to a data breach.
- Use Two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication adds a second level of authentication to an account log-in. When you have to enter only your username and one password, that’s considered a single-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication requires the user to have two out of three types of credentials before being able to access an account.
- File your taxes promptly. While thieves may use stolen information to create fraudulent bank accounts, they may also use it to file fraudulent tax returns. File your taxes as soon as you have the tax information you need and respond promptly to letters sent to you by the IRS. Note that the IRS will never communicate with you via email, so watch out for this type of fraud and don’t open emails purporting to be from the IRS
- Check your Credit Cards accounts often. Reviewing your recent account activity is fundamental to credit card safety—and it’s easy. You can do it online or by phone. If your credit card issuer offers email or text alerts about unusual activity, sign up to receive them.
- Monitor credit reports. You can monitor your credit report and get daily score updates in Educators Online and Mobile Banking using the Credit Report Widget.
- LexisNexis Full File Disclosure. It’s one of the more comprehensive databases out there, containing all the information LexisNexis gathers to create its various reports about you. And, like credit reports, you can order one free copy per year. Please visit: https://personalreports.lexisnexis.com/access_your_full_file_disclosure.jsp
- Complete List: For a complete list, please visit the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau at: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201604_cfpb_list-of-consumer-reporting-companies.pdf
What to do if you suspect credit card fraud. Call the financial institution that issued your card immediately. Your issuer may want to cancel your current card and issue you a new one. Check with your issuer to verify that your mailing address has not been changed.
If you still have your card but fraudulent purchases have been made, call your issuer to report the fraud and request a new card. Also, contact the credit bureaus to let them know that fraud has occurred. A “Fraud Alert” message will be placed on your file. You should also request a copy of your credit report and review it carefully.