Tuesday, November 15, 2016

How You Can Prevent Identity Theft

Identity theft is a crime where someone gains access to your personal information - credit card number, social security number, driver's license number, etc - and uses it to make unauthorized purchases or perform fraudulent activity. Being the victim of identity theft can cause several issues. Creditors may pursue you for expensive purchases that you did not make, for example, or you may be prosecuted for fraudulent crimes that you did not commit.

As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. While there ways to recover from identity theft, it is much easier to protect your information closely so you can avoid being victimized by it in the first place. Keep reading to learn some simple but crucial things you can do to protect your identity, courtesy of the team at our Lake of the Ozarks bank.

Preventing Identity Theft Online

Use Strong Passwords.
There is a reason companies require you to create strong passwords that use a combination of special characters, numbers, upper- and lower-case letters, and/or a minimum number of characters. Strong passwords such as these are harder to hack, thus offering better protection for your account.

Cancel Unused Credit Cards.
It's important to monitor every one of your credit cards so you can identify suspicious activity before it gets out of hand. The more credit cards you have, the more you'll have to monitor. Simplify your life by canceling any credit cards you are not actively using.

Watch Out For Phishing Emails.
Some spam emails are easy to identify, but others may not be. If you get an email from your bank or credit card company requiring you to verify/update your account, do not click on the links included in the email. Open your browser and go to their sites directly. If the email is legitimate, you will be able to access your account to perform the required tasks from your browser just as easily as you can from the email. If the email is fake, clicking on the included links may take you to a false site that enables a hacker to steal your information.

Preventing Identity Theft Offline

Be Alert For "Shoulder Surfers."
If you notice anyone casually walking or hovering by you as use an ATM or public computer, they may be attempting to look over your shoulder to watch you type your password or PIN. If you notice someone suspicious, use your opposite hand to shield your keyboard as you type and kindly but firmly ask the stranger to give you more space.

Shred Documents You No Longer Need.
It is critical that you be extremely cautious about what you throw away. Certain items - bank statements, credit card offers, receipts, expired credit cards, etc - should always be shredded before they end up in the trash can or recycling bin.

Protect Your Wallet/Purse.
Your wallet is an identity thief's goldmine, as it most likely contains your credit cards, driver's license, and cash. If you carry a wallet, store it deep in your pocket and be on the lookout for pickpockets. If you carry a purse, you may want to consider one with a cross-shoulder strap, as these are typically harder for thieves to snatch.

First Bank Of The Lake Can Help Protect Your Identity

Your identity is arguably your most valuable possession. First Bank of the Lake helps protect our customers' identity by requiring strong passwords on our online banking platform, providing free monthly bank statements to account holders, and responding immediately to any of our customers' concerns. If you have questions about our identity protection services, feel free to contact our bank in Osage Beach by calling (573) 348-2265.

First Bank of the Lake - Striving For Excellence
Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.

Located at the entrance to the Osage Beach Premium Outlets!

4558 Osage Beach Parkway
Suite 100
Osage Beach, MO 65065

(573) 348-2265

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