Protecting Your Identity This Holiday Season




Protecting Your Identity This Holiday Season

It’s easy to remember to lock our doors and cars, but what about locking access to our personal information?  Identity protection is often put to the side until it actually happens to you.

Identity theft is the fastest growing crime of the 21st century. December is National Identity Theft Prevention and Awareness Month. The holiday season is a busy time of year for scammers. Consumers are preoccupied with events, shopping, and more which creates an opportunity for fraudsters. They may attain access to accounts, credit cards and social security information.

Here are some helpful tips to keep your personal information safe:

Use strong passwords
Choose passwords that are unique to each of your online accounts. Strong and hard to guess passwords should consist of letters, numbers, and characters. Passwords should be updated regularly, such as every 90 days.
Use two-factor authentication when available
This safety measure adds an extra layer of security that requires two different forms of identification in order to gain access to your online account.
Avoid public Wi-Fi and computers
Be cautious when using public Wi-Fi networks for online banking and other sensitive activities. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) if you are using a public Wi-Fi network to avoid breaches.
Sign up for alerts
Get notifications when transactions occur on your account to prevent fraudulent activity.
Never give out personal information
Unless you’re certain that you’re communicating with a trusted company, do not give any sensitive information over the phone. It may be a phishing scam. Provident Credit Union will never contact you to ask you to verify your account and security information.

Shop on secure sites
Before entering any personal information, make sure the website is legitimate and secure. An indicator that your information will be encrypted includes a URL that begins with "https:" instead of "http:" and a locked padlock icon next to the URL.

Don't click on links or open attachments from unknown senders
If you receive an email or a text message with a link from an unknown sender, do not click on the link. It is possible that the link may contain malicious content or lead to a malicious website. Poor grammar and typos are indicators of a fraudulent message. 

Be aware of scams and phishing attempts
Phishing is a type of cyberattack that attempts to steal personal information by sending a fraudulent email disguising itself as a trusted company. Smishing is a type of phishing attack that uses SMS text messages to portray itself as a legitimate company to gain access to your account. It is best to report or delete messages you were not expecting. If you need to contact a company after receiving a message, you should contact them using information from a trusted source, such as the company’s own website.

Protect your devices
Always use strong passwords. Use security software such as antivirus protection and firewalls. Keep your operating system and browsers up to date since these updates can fix security vulnerabilities.

Download the official banking app
Only use our official mobile banking app linked from our website to your Android or Apple app provider. Never download our app from an open source.

You can protect your private information with Provident’s Identity Theft Protection service. This service provides 24/7 monitoring of your accounts and personal information, as well as other family members, and offers you the most comprehensive and affordable tools to protect you against fraud.