Protecting Yourself from Identity / Credit Card Theft

Protecting Yourself from Identity / Credit Card Theft

Gulf Shore Home Watch & Concierge

 

In the year 2017, statistics show that nearly 1 in 15 people became victims of identity theft. Identity theft happens when someone gets their hands on your personal information, including your address, driver’s license number and/or social security number, and uses that information to open up fraudulent accounts in your name.

So how would something like that happen? It depends.

Phishing emails

How many of you have gotten the following email: “Hi, this is XYZ bank writing to let you know that your account had been compromised. In order to fix the problem, please click on the below link and login to your account immediately.” Getting this type of notification can be alarming- but if you happen to notice that the email came from a bank that you don’t bank with, this is a prime example of a phishing scam.

People who do fall victim to this ploy (and click on the link to “login” to their account) will have their username and password stolen. When they inadvertently “give up” their personal details, this opens the door to identity theft.

If you receive a call or email from a bank or financial institution, you’ll want to be wary. First, don’t click on any links that are embedded in these types of emails. Second, if you receive a call (which is suspect enough on its own), ask for the person’s name and company ID number, and tell them you’ll call back. From there, call the number that’s listed on the back of your credit or debit card, and ask to speak with a customer service agent.

Never, ever give out your personal information to a “bank representative” that calls you.

Skimming

A few years ago, we spoke with a client who had her credit card information stolen by a skimming device. Although she wasn’t sure when or how it happened, the theft came to her attention when she noticed a series of low-denomination charges had appeared on her bank account. Fifteen dollars for gas, $10 for lunch, $22 at Target, and so on. She called her bank immediately, they credited her account and sent her a new card.

The bank representative told her that this type of scam isn’t unusual and in many instances, the thieves will make a series of low-denomination charges, over a series of weeks or months, because they’re most likely to go unnoticed.

As such, be sure to check your bank and credit card statements on a regular basis.

For more information on how to protect yourself from identity / credit card theft, be sure to check out next weeks’ blog.