< 1 minute read|Published by FAIRWINDS

6 Tips to Help You Safeguard Your Identity

Empower your identity protection journey: Safeguard personal info, stay vigilant, and secure your digital life. Your essential guide to worry-free living.

Identity theft is when someone uses your personal information, such as your name, Social Security number, or financial account details, without your permission. Fraudsters can use this stolen information to open credit accounts, make unauthorized purchases, or even obtain medical services under your name. But no need to worry! With these tips, you can take proactive steps to help protect yourself from fraud.

1. Secure Your Personal Information

Store important documents, such as passports and Social Security cards, in a secure location to prevent them from being stolen or falling into the wrong hands.

Also, be cautious about sharing personal information on social media platforms. Before posting on social media, review the privacy and security settings that they offer. Many sites allow you to limit who sees your posts and profile information. The more personal information you provide online - including information that can help others decipher where you live or where you work - the more you risk becoming a victim of identity theft. 

2. Monitor Your Financial Statements

Regularly review bank and credit card statements for unauthorized transactions and set up Account Alerts to be notified in real-time about changes to your account.

You can obtain up to three free credit reports a year, one from each of the national credit bureaus TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian, by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com. Review your reports for any discrepancies or unfamiliar accounts. You can also use credit monitoring services for real-time alerts about changes to your credit.

3. Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Use strong, unique passwords for online accounts and update them regularly. Avoid using easily guessable information such as birthdays or common words. Instead, use a unique combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. Consider using a reputable password manager to keep track of your different passwords securely.

Enable multifactor authentication or two-step verification to add extra security to your accounts. This feature sends a unique code via text message or email that must be used to access your account.

4. Be Skeptical of Unsolicited Communications

Before clicking on any links or sharing information, verify that the sender’s email address or phone number is legitimate. If you believe a company or person is trying to contact you, call them directly with a phone number you know to be correct.

FAIRWINDS will never proactively reach out through email, text, or phone calls and ask you to provide your debit or credit card PIN, a temporary access code, or online banking passwords. If someone claiming to be from FAIRWINDS asks you for this information through a text, email, or phone call that you did not initiate, do not respond and contact us immediately.

5. Shred Personal Documents

If you need to dispose of sensitive documents, such as bank statements, medical records, legal documents, and credit card offers, use a shredder. Sometimes, fraudsters will try to “dumpster dive” or sift through documents you’ve thrown out in an attempt to steal your information. By shredding these documents, you can make sure fraudsters can’t piece together your personal, financial, or confidential information.

6. Protect Your Devices

Use reputable antivirus and anti-malware software on your devices. Be sure to also regularly update your operating system, antivirus programs, and applications to ensure that your devices are secure against the latest threats. This includes your laptop, smartphone, or any other smart device like a tablet or watch.

By implementing these six tips, you can defend against fraudsters seeking to steal your identity and personal information. Remember, the proactive steps you take today can make all the difference for tomorrow.