Identity Theft

This is a compilation from may sources. This first part is edited from Bank of America information. This post is the first in a continuing series.

  • What you need to know:
    • Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information to commit fraudulent acts (like withdrawing money from your account, opening new credit cards or applying for loans or employment)
    • Common signs of identity theft include:
      • Unauthorized withdrawals from your account
      • Bills for unfamiliar debt or failure to receive bills
      • Suspicious charges on your account
      • New accounts or loans you didn’t apply for
      • Being denied credit unexpectedly
      • The IRS notifying you that more than 1 tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don’t work for
  • What you need to do:
    • Review your statements for unusual transactions or suspicious charges
    • Be sure to keep your contact information (especially your cell phone number and email address) current.
    • Enroll in Verify Your Visa Card is With You layer to allow us to approve transactions when you travel.
    • If you use the Bank of America Mobile Banking app, allow push alerts and be sure to review and respond to alerts promptly
    • Review our fraud prevention checklist for steps you can take to help establish a strong defense against fraud
    • Learn more about online security and privacy
    • Make the default ID for your internet router unique to you; change the password to make it more difficult for hackers to access your network

Taking proper precautions helps to make sure your personal and financial information — as well as your identity — remains safe.

  • What you need to do:
    • Use a strong, unique password for each of your accounts. Memorize them and use multi-factor authentication where available. Learn more about creating strong passwords
    • Only download software or applications from well-known or reputable sources, such as Apple, Google Play or Microsoft. Check the logos, developer names and reviews to spot fake applications. Scammers count on users being too busy to see differences that can make fake software easier to spot.
    • Install any operating system and software updates (sometimes called patches or service packs)
    • Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth services when you’re not using them, and avoid using public Wi-Fi for financial transactions unless you use a secure, private connection, like VPN software.
    • Back up your data regularly. If you use online or cloud storage, be sure you understand your provider’s privacy and security policies and keep your access codes safe.
    • Use the administrator log in on your home computer only for creating new users and installing software. If you use administrator accounts when browsing the internet, banking or reading email, the risk of malicious code entering your computer without detection is much greater. Create standard user accounts for yourself and everyone in your family to limit your exposure.
    • Review our fraud prevention checklist for steps you can take to help establish a strong defense against fraud

 

  • How you can help protect your smartphone
  • What you need to do:
    • Be sure to keep your contact information (especially your cell number and email address) current
    • If you use the Bank of America Mobile Banking app, allow push alerts, and be sure to review and respond to alerts promptly
    • Set a security code/PIN or fingerprint sign-in and enable remote wipe and find my phone features to make sure you’re covered if your phone is lost
    • Only download software or applications from well-known or trusted sources–and never click a link from an unknown source or sender
    • Install system and software updates (sometimes called patches or service packs)
    • Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth services when you’re not using them, and avoid using public Wi-Fi for financial transactions unless you use a secure, private connection, like VPN software.
    • Never root or jailbreak your own mobile device to gain access to unofficial applications. This practice may lead to security vulnerabilities and the inability to apply future software updates from the vendor.
    • Review our fraud prevention checklist for more helpful steps

 

  • How you can identify and avoid scams
  • What you need to know:
    • There’s a growing type of fraud called business email compromise. Learn about business email compromise on the FBI website
    • Business identity fraud has become surprisingly common because of the easy accessibility of business information, including website data, company name and staff rosters
  • What you need to do:
    • Minimize the risks by using your work computer for business, checking your domain name regularly and reviewing your business credit report
    • Know your customers’ habits, including their payment amounts, reasons and details. Look out for any significant changes to those habits – they might signal a fraud issue.
    • Ensure all business data is securely and regularly backed up. Test the recovery function of your backup procedures regularly to make sure your data is always retrievable.
    • Develop a plan for cybersecurity and fraud disaster recovery. For more fraud prevention best practices for small businesses, check out our Small Business Online Community.
    • For resources for larger businesses, explore information from our Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Banking and Markets fraud page
    • Engage a trusted advisor to review your security controls and policies on at least an annual basis

 

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