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Tips to Safeguard Your Identity
What does placing a Security Freeze on your credit report mean?
A security freeze protects against identity theft and the opening of fraudulent accounts with a consumer’s personal information. It will block an institution or lender from accessing a report, unless a pre-set PIN is provided to access the report. This freeze is recommended when Identity Theft has been discovered or highly suspicious unauthorized inquiries or transactions have occurred.
What does a fraud alert on your credit report mean?
A fraud alert on credit reports requires potential creditors to contact the consumer and obtain permission to open new credit accounts or lines of credit. A fraud alert expires after 90 days. Consumers are required to renew the alert when expiration occurs.
To place a fraud alert or freeze with Equifax: call (800) 525-6285
To place a fraud alert or freeze with Experian: call (888) 397-3742
To place a fraud alert or freeze with TransUnion: call (800) 680-7289
To place a fraud alert or freeze with Innovis: call (800) 540-2505
How do I monitor my credit report?
- Credit monitoring – daily credit file monitoring and automated alerts sent directly to your email.
- Total Identity monitoring – continuous monitoring of over 1,000 databases including credit, Social Security, Public Records, Real Property Records, Telephone records.
- Access to your credit record – access to your merged credit report is updated every 90 days and available for review and printing.
- Credit Score – your credit score is updated every 90 days and available for review and printing.
- Alerts – immediate alert to your email when your credit report has been requested. Monthly alerts are generated to notify that no changes have occurred to your credit file.
- Debit and credit card registration is offered as a quick and easy way to block activity on all your registered cards with one call.
- Access the identity theft news center at www.idprotectme247.com.
How do I protect against Fraud scams?
- Handle your e-mail safely, use caution when clicking links within e-mails, as well as opening attachments. Use extra caution if you are not familiar with the sender.
- If you receive a request to verify personal information via phone, letter, or e-mail, do not respond. Contact institution with information available on statements or information on the back of a card, or account agreements.
- Be wary of offers that are too good to be true, require fast action or relate a sense of urgency to act. Watch for unexpected checks, lottery notices, money orders or electronic fund transfers with a request to return part of the funds. These are known scams that have cost consumers millions of dollars
- Set security and privacy settings on social network sites for friends only.
- Beware of scams that may be driven by current events covered by the news that appear to be from legitimate charitable organizations.
- Remove your name from pre-screened credit offers by calling (888) 567-8688.
- Add your telephone number(s) to the national do not call registry by calling (888) 382-1222.
- Place alerts on your Visa credit and debit card(s) to notify you when your card is used, at www.visalerts.com.
How else do I protect my financial information?
- Review monthly account and credit card statements closely and contact us immediately if any suspicious transactions occur.
- Use First Online and FNY On-The-Go for immediate access to account information.
- Do not use public computers or networks to access your account through First Online.
- Use “strong” passwords. These consist of:
- A minimum of 8 characters
- One upper case, one lower case, one number, and one symbol, such as “!”.
- Do not share passwords with others
- Do not use “remember my password” in web browsers
- Use a unique password for each of your critical websites or online accounts.
- Change passwords often.
- Do not write passwords down on paper. Consider use of a secure password manager.
- Secure your postal mail by installing a locking mail box. Monitor postal mail closely for unexpected new credit card accounts, or missing statements.
- Do not carry Social Security cards, birth certificates or passports, and un-needed credit cards.
- If you suspect that your First New York account or debit or credit card information are at risk, contact us immediately at (800) 734-7375, press “2”.
- Add a security challenge password to your account(s) that we will use to identify you when calling or transacting on your account
- Ask us to add a travel alert to your debit and/or credit cards, when vacationing or away for an extended period
- Elect e-statements to protect against the hazards of paper statements delivery
- Destroy sensitive documents via a cross-cut shredder. If you don’t have access to a cross-cut shredder, First New York offers periodic community events with free shred services.