Keep your accounts and identity safe


June is national safety month so it is a good time to think about financial safety. Identity theft and fraud continue to be pervasive and consumers need to be vigilant. There are ways you can help lessen your chances of being a victim.
What an important step to stop fraud on your account?
First and foremost it is actively monitoring accounts, which can be accomplished through a combination of alerts and active monitoring of accounts. Too many people don’t really pay attention to their account history and don’t spot fraud until it is too late. Early detection helps avoid major account headaches.
What about protecting your credit given the recent Equifax breach?
Think about freezing your credit with each of the major credit reporting agencies. You will be issued a password that you will need to unfreeze your account for any new loans or credit cards to be issued. Just be sure to unfreeze your credit before applying for loans or you could be delayed.
How can people protect their online accounts and information?
Use complex passwords that contain a combination of letters, numbers and special characters. It is also important to change passwords on a regular basis. These precautions should be used for financial accounts and social media accounts alike. Another important tip, don’t use the same password for all of your online profiles.
What is an important way to stop identity theft?
Don’t give out your personal information on websites, through email or over the phone if you didn’t initiate the contact. These are three of the ways that people have their identity stolen or have their accounts taken over by fraudsters.  
Do we still need to worry about our wallets being stolen?
Unfortunately snatching wallets and purses is still prevalent, especially in a smash and grab situation. It is really important that you don’t ever leave valuables in plain sight in your car. Just 5 minutes is enough time to have your purse or wallet taken from your car.
Is there anything else we can do to keep our money and identity safe?
I think it can be summed up the best with the concept of “trust but verify.” Monitor your accounts, be suspicious of unsolicited offers, and always make sure it is a reputable source before giving out any information.

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