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Protecting Yourself From Identity Theft And Online Fraud

“For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” (1 Timothy 6:10, NLT)

Many of us shop with cards instead of cash these days, and online shopping makes it easy to buy anything from groceries to furniture without leaving your home. Unfortunately, the Internet also makes it easy for crooks from all over the world to steal your identity and help themselves to your bank account without your realizing it.

Don’t let this happen to you! When you shop, be careful with your debit and credit cards.

Debit & Credit Card Safety Tips:

  • Never let your cards out of your sight.
  • If you’re using an ATM, shield the keypad with your body or your other hand.
  • When you’re using your card to make a purchase, check the receipt the cashier hands you to make sure it’s for the right amount before you sign it.
  • Keep all receipts and match them up with your online or paper bank statement. Immediately report any charges that don’t match up or that you didn’t make.

When shopping online, protecting your financial information is a must. Here are some simple steps to protecting your identity—and your money—online:

  • Use firewall and anti-malware software on your home computer and all of your mobile devices. Scan your system regularly, and install all manufacturer updates.
  • Avoid downloading software and files from the Internet. If a program or attachment must be downloaded, scan it for viruses before installation. Never download e-mail attachments or click links that you were not expecting, even from someone you know well.
  • Enter personal and financial information only when there is a “lock” icon on the browser’s status bar and look for the URL to read “https” versus “http.”
  • Don’t save passwords on your computer or phone. If you do decide to store personal information on your computer:
    • Use a strong password: a hard-to-guess combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters (*,#,%, etc.);
    • Never use automatic login features;
    • Always log off and close the browser when you are finished.
  • Avoid using shared computers or public wi-fi networks. Do your shopping on a private, secured wi-fi network.

You can find more tips on avoiding fraud and identity theft on our fraud protection page. If you suspect that you have been the victim of online fraud or identity theft, contact your financial institution immediately.

This article should not be considered legal, tax, or financial advice. You may wish to consult a tax or financial advisor about your individual financial situation. 

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