8 Tips to Protect Your Identity

Identity theft continues to be one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. In 2016, there were 15.4 million victims of identity fraud in the U.S., according to Javelin Strategy and Research. We recommend following these tips to keep your information – and your money – safe.tips-to-protect-you-from-identity-fraud

  1. Don’t share your secrets.

Don’t provide your Social Security number or account information to anyone who contacts you online or over the phone. Protect your PINs and passwords and do not share them with anyone. Use a combination of letters and numbers for your passwords and change them periodically. Do not reveal sensitive or personal information on social networking sites.

  1. Shred sensitive papers.

Shred receipts, banks statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away.

  1. Keep an eye out for missing mail.

Fraudsters look for monthly bank or credit card statements or other mail containing your financial information. Consider enrolling in online banking to reduce the likelihood of paper statements being stolen. Also, don’t mail bills from your own mailbox with the flag up.

  1. Use online banking to protect yourself.

Monitor your financial accounts regularly for fraudulent transactions. Sign up for text or email alerts from your bank for certain types of transactions, such as online purchases or transactions of more than $500.

  1. Monitor your credit report.

Order a free copy of your credit report every four months from one of the three credit reporting agencies at annualcreditreport.comAs a courtesy, you will be leaving Blog.Bank5Connect.com and going to another website. We have approved this site as a reliable partner, but you will no longer be under the security policy of Bank5Connect.com. Come back soon!.

  1. Protect your computer.

Make sure the virus protection software on your computer is active and up to date. When conducting business online, make sure your browser’s padlock or key icon is active. Also look for an “s” after the “http” to be sure the website is secure.

  1. Protect your mobile device.

Use the passcode lock on your smartphone and other devices. This will make it more difficult for thieves to access your information if your device is lost or stolen. Before you donate, sell or trade your mobile device, be sure to wipe it using specialized software or using the manufacturer’s recommended technique. Some software allows you to wipe your device remotely if it is lost or stolen. Use caution when downloading apps, as they may contain malware and avoid opening links and attachments – especially for senders you don’t know.

  1. Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.

Lost or Stolen Wallet? Follow These Tips!

You just got a promotion, so you and your partner decide to celebrate by enjoying a fancy dinner at your favorite restaurant. The meal is exquisite, the conversation engaging. As the evening winds down, you ask for the check, and…you can’t find your wallet.AdobeStock_78078438

Not exactly the ideal ending to an otherwise wonderful night. But it really doesn’t matter where you are when your wallet goes missing. The feeling’s the same – gut-wrenching anxiety.

But you’re not alone. Almost everybody suffers through this traumatic experience at least a few times in their life. Whether the loss is temporary or permanent, there are ways to cushion the blow.

Once you realize that your wallet has disappeared, take stock of what was in it. If you had credit cards in there, contact the card issuers immediately and report them as missing. By law, if your credit card is compromised, credit card companies can only hold you accountable for the first $50 worth of charges that occur before it’s reported to them. So, if you report your missing card ASAP, before any fraud takes place, you won’t be responsible for any unauthorized charges. Once you’ve reported your card missing, the credit card company will likely place a hold on the card and issue you a new one.

In the case of missing ATM and debit cards, your liability for unauthorized use depends on how quickly you report the loss. If you report the cards as missing before they’re used without your permission, the financial institution cannot hold you responsible for any unauthorized transfers, according to federal law. To report a lost or stolen Bank5 Connect debit card, call us immediately at 1-855-552-2655 during regular business hours. If you need to report a missing card after hours, you can call our 24/7 support center at 1-800-472-3272.

And don’t forget about your driver’s license! You’ll need to contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to report the loss and order a replacement card.

If you were unfortunate enough to have been carrying around your Social Security card (or number) in your wallet, you’ll have a bit more cleaning up to do. First, you should report the loss of your Social Security card or number by calling the IRS Identity Protection Unit at 1-800-908-4490, the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-ID-THEFT, and you should also file an online report at IdentityTheft.govAs a courtesy, you will be leaving Blog.Bank5Connect.com and going to another website. We have approved this site as a reliable partner, but you will no longer be under the security policy of Bank5Connect.com. Come back soon!.

You should also contact each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian) to have a temporary 90-day fraud alert placed on your credit report. This will require creditors to verify your identity before approving any new credit, which can be vital in stopping someone from fraudulently applying for credit in your name with your compromised Social Security number. And luckily, placing a fraud alert on your credit report does not negatively impact your credit score.

It’s also a good idea to file a report with your local law enforcement agency. In the event that you fall victim to identity theft down the road, you’ll likely need a copy of a police report to apply for an extended fraud alert on your credit report.

To help prevent an identity theft disaster resulting from a lost or stolen wallet, security experts suggest keeping your wallet on a “lean diet” – that is, only keep what you absolutely need in it. For instance, one credit card and/or debit card, your driver’s license, your health insurance identification card, and one or two other “must have” items. And remember to NEVER carry around your Social Security card or Social Security number, or any Personal Identification Numbers (PINs). Having these items in your wallet is just an invitation to trouble.