Fraud and Privacy

Tips to Protect Your Personal and Financial Privacy

Your personal information, financial information, privacy, and online security is under attack on a daily basis by scams (emails, letters, phone calls), data breaches, social media scams, online & offline tracking, and many other threats. This means that you have to be vigilant and take ongoing steps to protect yourself and your information. The resources below will help you.

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Phishing Scams - Don't Get Hooked

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What is phishing? These are scams that are trying to steal personal and financial information. Phishing has primarily been online in the form of email or pop-up messages but can also occur over the phone or through the mail.

Phishers impersonate legitimate financial institutions—banks, credit unions—and businesses. The phishers cast a wide net that's bound to find persons that do business with the impersonated financial institution or company.

Email and pop-up messages may have a link to click or a phone number to call. In the case of the link, it usually goes to a fake website that mimics a legitimate site.

Here are some tips to avoid being caught by a phishing scam.

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Reduce Your Risk of Identity Theft

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How big a problem is identity theft? It's an epidemic. The Javelin Strategy and Research 2010 Identity Fraud Survey Report indicates there were11.1 million adult victims in the U.S. in 2009 and that the total one year fraud amount was $54 billion.

Having one's personal identity stolen can be costly and frustrating. Taking steps to learn about the dangers of ID theft and to prevent becoming a victim makes smart sense. This brief report shares the basics of what you need to know and provides links to other excellent resources.

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Financial Privacy Resources

protect-personal-info.jpg These articles from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) describe the consumer provisions in the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA). The GLBA applies to banks, savings and loans, credit unions, insurance companies and insurance firms. It also applies to retailers and automobile dealers that collect and share personal information about consumers to whom they extend or arrange credit.

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Tips on What Not to Do with Your Social Security Number

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Protecting your social security number is very important. With only your name and social security number, an identity thief can impersonate you and apply for credit cards and loans, buy merchandise, lease an apartment or car. Here are some tips on how to keep your number safe.

  • Always keep your card in a safe place. You shouldn't carry it with you unless you need it for a specific purpose such as applying for a job.
  • Don't put your social security number on your checks, business cards, address labels or other identifying information.
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What Should I Do If My Wallet or Purse is Lost or Stolen?

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Just discovered that your wallet or purse is missing? Don't panic. Here are steps you can take to protect yourself from becoming an identity theft victim, adapted in part from the FTC article Getting Purse-onal.

Make a list of the contents.

Which of the following was in it? What else?

  • Credit and charge cards
  • ATM/Debit card
  • Checkbook and/or savings account information
  • Drivers license
  • Social Security Card
  • Video or other Rental Cards
  • Medical Insurance Card
  • Keys - car and house
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Protecting Your Money, Personal Information, and Your Identity

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Protecting your personal and financial privacy means educating yourself to take on a complex challenge. You might say that fighting for your privacy rights is like taking on an octopus with many arms (one issue, lots of manifestations).

The resources in this information sheet will help you stay informed about privacy issues and take steps to protect your personal and financial privacy.


 

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