Nothing can spoil the holiday season like discovering that someone has stolen your credit card information, social security number or other personal information. In addition to causing you potential financial losses, dealing with identity theft can take time away from your celebrations with loves ones as you deal with resolution and credit restoration.
Here are ten tips to keep you, your personal and payment information as safe as possible during the holiday season:
- Never carry your social security card with you unless you need it for a specific purpose. Carry your checkbook and credit cards only when you need them.
- Keep your credit cards in site during in-person transactions to prevent “skimming.” This crime occurs when employees run your card through a separate device to steal its information.
- When entering your pin number at an ATM, stand close and block the keyboard with your body so that others can’t see your pin code.
- When shopping online, be sure to use only secure (password protected) networks. Never shop on public computers (such as those in libraries or classrooms).
- Do not save credit card information on any online shopping websites. Even companies you trust can be victims of security breaches.
- Beware of “phishing” scams. Thieves know that during the holidays, many people are distracted, making it easier to trick you into sharing private information online. Stay alert, and never provide any personal information via email. No reputable company will ask for information in this manner, including Minnwest Bank.
- Keep mobile devices like smartphones and tablets locked with passwords, and do not store confidential information on them.
- Don’t leave package deliveries unattended. Thieves not only can steal the merchandise you ordered, but sometimes your personal information as well. If you can’t bring a package inside when it’s delivered, check with a friend or neighbor, or arrange to pick up the package from the delivery service office.
- Look over all bank statements, credit card statements and other bills carefully as soon as they arrive to make sure no unauthorized charges appear. If they do, notify the bank and/or biller immediately.
- Activate a credit file monitoring service, such as IDProtect®1, and check your credit reports to monitor them for unauthorized activity such as collection notices on accounts you have not used or new accounts that you did not open.
As we all get busy during this holiday season, Minnwest Bank wants to remind you about IDProtect®, our comprehensive identity theft protection service offered at no additional cost with our Preferred Checking account. IDProtect includes credit file monitoring that constantly scans your credit files at Experian, Equifax and TransUnion and alerts you if key changes occur.
1 IDProtect service is a personal identity theft protection service available to personal checking account owner(s) and their joint account holders. Service is not available to clubs, organizations and/or churches and their members, schools and employees/students. For revocable grantor trusts, the service is available only when a grantor is serving as a trustee and covers the grantor trustee(s). For all other fiduciary accounts, the service covers the beneficiary, who must be the primary member (Fiduciary is not covered). Minnwest Preferred Checking is not available to businesses.
Insurance products are not a deposit; not FDIC insured; not an obligation of bank; and not guaranteed by bank or any affiliated entity.