Contact Us
RSS Feed

Secure Your Personal and Financial Information Now!

Monitoring your personal and financial information and accounts is more important than ever.

With the recent hack into major credit monitoring bureau Equifax, now is a good time to review your defenses against identity theft.

Even if you don’t have credit cards, you should be guarding yourself against credit opened in your name, and the use of your name and credit to make purchases, and for other illegal purposes.

What you should do:

  • MONITOR YOUR CREDIT: Staying on top of your credit reporting is key. You need to know if someone has tried to open a new loan in your name, or has used your information to default on a loan. Get your free credit reports from all three major credit bureaus at Do review all three reports—some lenders don’t report to every bureau, so each may have different information. Read through each report carefully and make sure you recognize the accounts. If something strange turns up, start by contacting the lender to investigate.
  • PUT A FREEZE ON YOUR CREDIT: Contact each credit reporting company, and have them put a freeze on your credit. This will keep people from opening credit in your name. When you want to apply for credit yourself, call the companies and unfreeze your credit.
  • ENROLL IN ONLINE AND MOBILE BANKING FOR YOUR CREDIT AND DEBIT CARDS: If you have internet at home, check your transactions from there. If you don’t, go somewhere with a very secure network (not your local coffee shop, a store, or while you are out and about).
  • SIGN UP FOR TRANSACTION ALERTS FOR ALL YOUR CREDIT AND DEBIT CARDS: Get notified by text or email each time a transaction occurs at each account.
  • CHANGE YOUR PASSWORDS NOW AND FREQUENTLY: Use upper and lower case letters, numbers, characters, and unusual phrases (^95walktoschool!6). Don’t give your user name or password over the phone, through email, or via text. Use a different password for each account. Or use a password manager to handle it!
  • LOCK AND UNLOCK YOUR CREDIT CARD THROUGH THE COMPANY’S MOBILE APP: Some companies have this feature—check to see if your company offers it.
  • BE SUSPICIOUS OF EMAILS OR PHONE CALLS ASKING FOR YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION: The caller may claim to be from your bank, a utility, your email service, or even the IRS (the IRS will never call, email, or text you to discuss your taxes!). Phishing has gotten pretty sophisticated, so be alert! If you think it might be a legitimate call with a legitimate concern, contact the company through their official website or phone number.
  • SHRED DON’T TRASH!: Shred any documents you want to get rid of that include personal and financial information.

TAX-RELATED IDENTITY THEFT: With tax season just a few months away, do what you can NOW to prevent tax-related identity theft. Not all data breaches or computer hacks result in tax-related identity theft, but it is a fraud you need to be on guard against.

Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen Social Security number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. You may be unaware that this has happened until you e-file your return and discover that a return already has been filed using your SSN. Be alert to possible tax-related identity theft if you are contacted by the IRS or your tax professional/provider about:

  • More than one tax return was filed using your SSN.
  • You owe additional tax, refund offset or have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return.
  • IRS records indicate you received wages or other income from an employer for whom you did not work.

If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return, even if you must do so by paper.

Data breach victims should submit a Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, only if your Social Security number has been compromised and your e-file return was rejected as a duplicate, or IRS has informed you that you may be a victim of tax-related identity theft.

By adopting these few simple habits, you can play a big part in safeguarding your identity and reducing the impact of fraudsters.

Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289
Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271

This entry was posted in Financial Education, Legal Matters, Smart Shopping and Budgeting, Tax Planning and tagged , , , , , , , , by sandynight. Bookmark the permalink.

Apply For Microcredit Online

Steps to Apply for Microcredit

Apply Now