You Can Help Combat Identity Theft
Adults are not the only people who can fall victim to identity theft. In fact, teens make up to 31 percent of identity theft cases reported each year! Identity theft takes place when a crook uses your personal information such as your social security number or bank account information, to purchase things. Unfortunately, teens usually don’t find out about identity theft scams until a crook has already done damage. With identity theft on the rise, there are things you can do to protect yourself and lessen the chances of falling victim to identity theft.
How Do I Protect Myself From Identity Theft?
- Shop On Secure Sites: Make sure you look for secure sites when you shop online. You can tell a site is secure by looking for a lock icon in your web browser, right before the URL. In addition, secure sites will start with https://, rather than http://. These are two indications that a site has a high level of security in which your data is encrypted, so crooks can’t read it.
- Watch Out For Free Stuff: Be highly skeptical of taking online quizzes or surveys that promise free stuff. Many of these surveys will come to you via email or social media. The purpose of these quizzes and surveys is to obtain your personal information, so crooks can answer security questions to unlock your identity.
- Be Careful Gaming Online: Online gaming communities that use Xbox and PlayStation game systems can also be dangerous. When you enter these communities, you can play with people from all over the world, and scammers may use fake identities in these communities to get personal information from you. This would include information such as your account passwords, email addresses, credit card information, etc.
- Be Careful On Social Media: Be careful about the information you share on social media. It may seem harmless to share a picture of your first driver’s license on Instagram or Facebook, but by doing so you are providing crooks with your personal information which they could use for malicious purposes. Make sure to never share your address, phone number, birthday, etc. on social networking sites.
- Watch Over Your Launch CU Accounts: Keep a watchful eye on your Launch CU savings and checking accounts to make sure there are not fraudulent charges taking place. Launch CU’s Online Banking and mobile banking app make this simple. Make it a habit to check your account at least three times per week, and report any fraudulent activity immediately.
- Be Smart: Always use proper password security on computers or smartphones, and don’t use passwords that would be easy for crooks to guess. You should have a different password for every online account you have, that way if one of your accounts becomes compromised they don’t all become compromised. Make sure to create passwords that include numbers, upper and lowercase letters, and special characters. Do not make your passwords the name of your pet, your favorite color or food, your birthday, your account number, or anything else that someone could easily guess.
- Don’t Purchase On Public Wi-Fi: Do not enter your credit card information on a public Wi-Fi network, even if it is password protected. It may be tempting to do some online shopping while waiting at the airport, or while sitting at your favorite coffee shop; however, public Wi-Fi is a hot spot for crooks. It’s always best to wait until you are at home, and on a secured network to enter your credit card information or check your online banking.