It is more important than ever to use caution in disclosing your financial information and securing your personal information that can put you at risk of identity theft.
To reduce or minimize the risk of becoming a victim of identity theft or fraud, the U.S. Department of Justice suggests the word “SCAM” as an acronym for their tips.
S = Stingy
Be stingy about giving out your personal information to others; share only on a “need to know” basis and ONLY to reputable companies and individuals when YOU have initiated the interaction.
“Phishing” is a common online tactic to solicit information, often masked as an inquiry from your bank or credit card provider. NEVER respond to such solicitations; contact the financial institution directly to determine if the message and need for information is valid.
C = Check
Check your financial information regularly and look for what should be there, and what shouldn’t.
Carefully review all account statements. If you notice discrepancies contact Avenue Bank and all credit card issuers immediately. Inquire about putting a “fraud alert” on your accounts.
If you are not receiving statements for accounts you have, call the financial institution or credit card company immediately to inquire.
A = Ask
Ask periodically for a copy of your credit report. Consumers are entitled to one free copy annually. To request, contact any of the 3 major credit reporting agencies, Experian, Trans Union, or Equifax.
M = Maintain
Maintain careful records of your banking and financial accounts. It is recommended to retain your statements and checks for at least one year. Keep all records in a secure location in your home or office.
If you do become a victim, prompt reporting will limit your exposure and liability. Many financial providers can offer assistance in steps to take to correct any problems and protection from ongoing issues.