Your personal information is the key to your financial and online identity. Protecting this valuable commodity should be on the top of your priority list for the New Year.
Take these five proactive steps to protect your privacy, identity and online security:
- Spot Impostors Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust, like a government official, a financial institution or a charity. They request money or personal information unexpectedly via email, text or phone call.
- Conduct Online Research Type the company or product name into your online search engine along with key words like “review,” “complaint,” or “scam” to determine if there is a history of scams. You can also include phone numbers in your search.
- Hang up the Phone and Call Back Technology makes it easy for scammers to display fake caller ID information on your phone. The name and number appears as the “IRS” or a credit bureau as part of a scheme to request money or personal information. You can always hang up and call back the number to verify the source.
- Be Wary of Clever Schemes The “stranded traveler family member” requesting money because of a crisis on the road or the call asking for money to support “natural disaster victims” are ruses to steal your money and identity. Scammers also offer to pay you to deposit a large-sum fraudulent check so that you can wire the money to them.
- Talk to someone Before you give up your hard-earned money or personal information, talk to someone you trust. Remember, con artists want you to make decisions in a hurry. They may even threaten to “foreclose” on your home.
The Internet offers us access to a world of products, services and information. Similarly, it offers opportunities for scammers, hackers and identity thieves to prey on consumers. By taking these measures, we can take some initiative in effectively safeguarding our personal information and identity. Broadway Bank does not solicit any information from customers. It is our top priority to ensure the privacy and security of customer information.
If you suspect a scam, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint or call 1-877-382-4357.
Sources: www.ftc.gov, www.safeandsecureonline.org