We’ve all seen the scary video of an unknown person—usually wearing a hoodie—tapping away at a keyboard. That person is a thief trying to fraud you out of your money. The headlines on newspaper, radio, TV, and other news websites pop up daily about some sort of fraud against a company or person. It’s a scary proposition for millions of Americans. There are criminals worldwide in a constant battle to gain access to your private information, whether that’s your checking or savings account, your retirement account, your tax information, and the usernames and passwords of companies with which you do business.
There’s even a place on the internet the thieves call home. The dark web. It’s where lists of usernames and passwords are bought and sold. It’s where thieves go to stay hidden while they attempt to con you into revealing your private data. It’s so secret that it isn’t visible to search engines, and you must have a unique browser to access the websites there. Think of it as the darkest dark alley you could imagine.
It’s one thing to know these criminals are out there. But what do you do about it? Here are some tips to keep in mind to help you protect yourself, your family, or your business while on the internet:
- Think twice about sharing your information – Be cautious of calls or emails that request sensitive information like usernames or passwords, bank account numbers, or other personal data.
- Guard your online information – Maintain your computer’s security software, update your browsers, and don’t use your data like usernames and passwords on public computers or public WIFI networks. Using multi-factor authentication can also help make it harder for someone to steal your usernames and passwords. Multi-factor authentication uses multiple layers of security for your accounts. You may have also heard this called 2-factor authentication, which only uses two forms of authentication.
- Monitor your financial accounts – Check your accounts by logging in on your financial institution’s digital banking platform or app to keep an eye on your balances. Peoples digital banking platforms offer the ability to set up alerts to notify you of transactions or changes in your account based on your preferences.
- Check your credit report – Review your credit report and number for suspicious activity. You can review your reports for free once a year at www.annualcreditreport.com. Peoples Edge Plus Checking account holders have the ability to request a single bureau report every six months or upon opening an identity theft resolution case and can check their credit status and receive daily credit file monitoring1 and automated alerts of critical changes.
- Shred sensitive documents – This is important to do with anything sent to you in the mail with your private information like account numbers, statements, and old records like outdated tax returns. E-statements through Peoples digital banking platforms allow you to access the statements online, anytime, and anywhere. And that means less shredding.
- Report anything suspicious – If you think you’re a victim of identity theft or fraud, contact police or your local law enforcement. If you’re a customer of Peoples State Bank and you think you’ve been frauded out of your money, contact the bank directly.
Peoples Edge Plus Checking provides peace of mind when it comes to your identity. The account offers IDProtect®, our identity theft monitoring and resolution service2, which can help better protect you and your family’s identities. You can receive assistance in paying expenses related to clearing your name and restoring your identity, should you become the victim of identity fraud. And if it happens, you’ll receive assistance from an IDProtect fraud resolution specialist who will help you every step of the way until your identity is restored. The service also monitors more than 1,000 databases looking for your identity information and offers an Online Identity Theft News Center with valuable resources.
Ask a Peoples State Bank team member for more information on Peoples Edge Plus Checking and rest easy knowing we’re there to help you.
1 Credit file monitoring may take several days to begin following activation.
2 Benefits are available to personal checking account owner(s), their joint account owners and their eligible family members subject to the terms and conditions for the applicable Benefits. Some Benefits require authentication, registration and/or activation. Benefits are not available to a “signer” on the account who is not an account owner or to businesses, clubs, trusts, organizations and/or churches and their members, or schools and their employees/students. Family includes: Spouse, persons qualifying as domestic partner, and children under 25 years of age and parent(s) of the account owner who are residents of the same household.
3 Credit Score is a VantageScore 3.0 based on single credit bureau data. Third parties may use a diﬀerent type of credit score to assess your creditworthiness.