Looking to save some green this St. Patrick’s Day? We’ve got a few ideas (and they’re good all year round!)
Last year, the Federal Trade Commission estimated that fraud cost consumers a whopping $8.8 billion. Unfortunately, staying on top of fraud trends and scammer’s tricks has become a way of life. And if you’ve somehow avoided the calls saying you’ve won millions (if you pay a few thousand dollars first) then you’ve got the luck of the Irish on your side. For the rest of us, here are a few of our top tips to protect yourself from fraud and save a little green this holiday:
Create Strong Passwords.
Still using the same password you had in high school? You might want to update that. And if you use one password for all your accounts – you’ll definitely want to update those. It may be convenient, but if one of your accounts is compromised, personal information across all your accounts could be at risk. So how should you create a strong password? The Business News Daily has a few tips:
- Be creative and use unusual combinations of characters in passwords.
- Create longer passwords for additional security.
- Use two-factor authentication when possible.
- Change your passwords regularly.
Monitor Your Accounts and Sign Up for Alerts.
Visit your online banking account or mobile app regularly to review your bank accounts and make sure everything is correct.
While you’re there, take a few minutes to set up alerts on your account and debit card. Most online banking platforms have built in security alerts you can customize. Want to be alerted if a large amount of money is coming out of your account? Or maybe you want to set your debit card so that it cannot be used in online purchases? You can set up those alerts to better stay on top of activity in your account.
Check Your Credit Report Annually. (Bonus Tip: Freeze Your Kid’s Credit)
Your credit report is a summary of your personal credit. Your credit history can affect your ability to borrow money, rent or purchase a home, get a job or even get insurance. And if someone were to get a hold of your personal information and take out credit in your name, wouldn’t you want to know? Reviewing your credit report annually allows you to make sure information on the report is accurate and can help you spot potential identity theft. Consumers are entitled by law to request a free credit report yearly. Learn more.
Parents – you may want to take this a step further. Consider putting a freeze on your child’s credit. Why? You don’t want to find out they’ve been the victim of identity theft the first time they apply for a job, a college loan, a car loan or credit card. Here’s how to get started.
Sign Up for eStatements.
Think about how much personal information is contained on your paper statement. Now think about how easy it would be for a fraudster to steal your statement right out of your mailbox – without drawing too much attention. Electronic statements – or eStatements – are an electronic form of your paper statement and are stored securely behind your bank’s firewall. They may look exactly like your paper statement, but with encryption technology your information is much better protected in an eStatement than in your mailbox. Learn More