ID Theft Protection
ID Theft ProtectionComment
Protecting yourself from identity theft is becoming a primary concern, not just among those who use credit cards, but for anyone. As thieves become more technologically advanced and information is more readily available than ever, the frequency of exposure is accelerating; identity theft is now the fastest growing crime in the US. In recent history, well noted breaches have occurred at retailers like Home Depot, Target, TJ Maxx, plus the IRS, Government Employees, Blue Cross Blue Shield and many additional trusted sites. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, in 2015 an alarming 732 breaches (http://www.idtheftcenter.org/images/breach/ITRCBreachReport2015.pdf) have been reported as of this blog’s publication.
Unfortunately, there is no time of year when identity theft wanes, but the holidays see an increase in vulnerability and attacks. Some numbers from last year are staggering:
• 13.1 million Americans were victims of identity theft in 20141
• 16 billion dollars were stolen from victims in 20142
Over the past 10 years, an incredible 5,679 breaches have occurred, affecting over 850 million people in the United States3. Breaches can occur without the use or ownership of a credit card, but include the exposure of sensitive information. Fraud generally falls into one of seven categories:
- Social Security
- Driver’s License
- Synthetic (pulling various Identities together to make a “synthetic” person)
According to US News and World Report, as of 2012, one in every 14 people age 16 and older had been a victim of identity theft4.
There are steps that can be taken to ensure you protect yourself to the best of your ability:
1. Never send personal information (birthdate, social security number, credit or debit card numbers) by email or share it online.
2. Shield keypads when entering passwords or pins in public
3. Shred any documents that contain personal information, like receipts and credit card offers
4. Familiarize yourself with billing cycles. If a paper bill is delivered late, contact the biller
5. Take your mail in immediately. If you are away, ask the post office to hold your mail until you return
6. Keep your Social Security card out of your wallet and only give it out when necessary
7. Take receipts and compare them to charges on your account.
8. Use anti-virus software on your computers and install firewalls
9. Passwords should be a complex combination of non-dictionary words and include uppercase, numbers, and special characters.
10. Review your credit report to ensure no accounts have been opened without your authority.
In a recent survey, consumers responded that they wanted their financial institution to provide credit scores and reports, as well as identity theft alerts (see chart). Triangle is pleased to offer identity protection as part of our enhanced checking account, which not only protects our member, but all family members in the member household. Identity theft protection coverage includes monitoring, full-managed recovery and expense reimbursements with all three credit reporting bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. With ID Protect, members have added benefits that include: checking their scores as many times as they wish throughout the year without negative consequences to their credit score; registering for a text or email alert security communication that notifies members of key informational changes; and covering pre-existing incidents if there is an incident discovered prior to protection start date.
With identity theft at a rampant pace, we must take every precaution necessary to protect our identity and those of our family members. If you have Triangle’s Better Checking, please make sure you register for this service. If you are not a member of Triangle, we encourage you to ask your financial institution about what services are available to help protect your finances and identity.
If you have any questions regarding ID Protect or Better Checking, please contact Triangle’s firstname.lastname@example.org.
1Fox Business - http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2014/02/05/someone-became-identity-theft-victim-every-2-seconds-last-year/
2Javelin Strategy & Research - https://www.javelinstrategy.com/news/1556/92/16-Billion-Stolen-from-12-7-Million-Identity-Fraud-Victims-in-2014-According-to-Javelin-Strategy-Research/
3Identity Theft Resource Center - http://www.idtheftcenter.org/id-theft/data-breaches.html
4US News and World Report - http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2013/12/18/5-things-you-probably-didnt-know-about-identity-theft