How to Avoid Identity Theft Online: Protecting Your Personal InformationBy First IB on June 20, 2016
Identity thieves have a number of tactics for obtaining your personal information. They may use fake emails or websites to get you to disclose private information. Or they may scour social media sites to collect basic personal information about you. It’s important to always remain vigilant in the information you provide and post on the internet. The FDIC has some suggestions on best practices for protecting your personal information online.
- Be aware of suspicious looking emails, especially from an unknown sender. Only open emails from people or organizations you know, and even then be cautious if they look suspicious. Be on the lookout for typos or other apparent mistakes, which is often a sign of scammers. Also be weary of urgent sounding messages that require immediate action. In this situation, it’s best to contact the supposed source using an email or telephone you know is valid to verify the request.
- Know what types of information a financial institution may request from you electronically. Banks and financial institutions will never ask for your PIN or account numbers in an email because they already have this information. Also be aware that a request for information from a bank where you don’t have an account is likely a scam. Avoid following any links or providing any private information.
- Don’t provide information on your social media accounts that can be used to guess passwords or answer security questions. Identity thieves use social media accounts to try to compile enough information to figure out passwords or access accounts. Potential pieces of information that could be used include: pet names, mother’s maiden name, or place of birth. [As a general rule of thumb, First IB reminds you that it’s wise to choose strong pAs$W0rDs that use a combination of letters, numbers and special characters, or take advantage of biometric technology when it’s available.]
- Be cautious when communicating online with your bank or third-party programs. Know the policies of your banks and other institutions and what they share, because your posts could become public despite your personal privacy settings. Also be selective about giving your information to third-party programs like quiz sites because they may sell your information.
- Keep tight security settings on social networking sites. Be sure that only people you know and trust have access to your profiles; block all the people you don’t want to see your page.
You can never be too careful in protecting your personal information online. First IB strives to safeguard your information and ensure your online security. Don’t hesitate to call us toll-free at 1-888-873-3424 if you have any questions.