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Protect Your Identity

It's no secret that identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the U.S. Yet, a few simple steps can help you recognize and prevent threats to your information security.

Watch for these red flags

Errors, unexplained activity or transactions you did not initiate appearing on bank, credit card or other account statements; online or mobile banking, or; explanation of benefits documents provided by your health insurance.

Regular bill and account statements don't arrive on time - or at all. Businesses turn down your checks.

You are turned down unexpectedly for a loan or job.

You receive unexplained or unwarranted communications, including bills or collection notices for products or services you did not order; calls from debt collectors about debts that don’t belong to you.

A laptop with a hand on the keyboard and mouse.

You get an IRS notice that someone used your Social Security Number.

You receive mail, email or calls about accounts or jobs in your minor child's name that you did not authorize.

Unwarranted collection notices appear on your credit report.

Protect your information

Use online or mobile banking to frequently monitor your account activity. Immediately report anything unusual.

Read your bank, credit card and account statements and explanations of medical benefits you receive from your health plan. If a statement has mistakes or doesn't come on time, contact the business.

Regularly review your credit report. You have a right to one free credit report every 12 months from each of the three national credit reporting companies. Order all three reports at once, or space them out by ordering one every four months.

Shred any documents that show personal, financial and medical information.

Do not open or respond to email, text or phone messages asking for personal information. Legitimate companies will never ask you for sensitive information, such as passwords, in these channels. Delete the messages and report them to the company they appeared to be from.

Create passwords that mix letters, numbers and special characters. Don't use the same password for more than one account.

If you shop or bank online, be sure to only use websites that protect your financial information with encryption. You can tell a site is encrypted when it has "https" at the beginning of the web address. "S" is for secure.

Don't send information to any website that isn't fully encrypted, especially when using a public Wifi network.

Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software and a firewall on your computer.

Notices & Disclosures
Article is adapted from content provided by DTS.

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