It’s tax season, and in case you haven’t heard, that’s prime season for identity theft. At Reliant, we are constantly investing in new fraud-detecting and -preventing technologies as they become available, and we update our Fraud/ID Theft page with information about new scams as we learn about them.
We know that we as a credit union must always be vigilant for our members — and we also know that a successful fight against fraudsters depends on our members being proactive, too. There are so many pointers I could provide on this topic, so rather than go into all of them today, I’ll be focusing my next few President’s Corner articles on steps you can take to minimize your risk of identity theft. Stay tuned!
Today, I want to focus on two extremely important —and truly easy— steps you can take to protect yourself.
- Never (and I mean NEVER) give personal information or computer access to anyone who contacts you over the phone. It sounds simple, but so many people fall victim to this sort of fraud each year. Fraudsters are very good at manipulating people into divulging personal information they can use for identity theft. We’ve also seen an increase in situations where fraudsters call members and ask for access to their computers, claiming they have viruses or need to be fixed in some way. Please know that Reliant will never contact you via phone and ask you to provide identifying information or ask to remotely gain access to your computer. If anyone calls you claiming to be from Reliant and asks for either of these things, please let us know right away.
- Choose strong passwords for your online accounts, and change them often. Most of us are online in some way or another every single day, and we grow a little complacent about our passwords. We don’t think it will happen to us or we think our passwords are just fine the way they are. Unfortunately, because fraudsters are constantly cooking up new ways to steal our identities, it’s important to shake that complacency and be cautious with your choices of passwords and diligent with your password updates. We’ve detailed some password pointers on our Fraud/ID Theft page that are always good guidelines to follow.
I wish I could say that progress was being made in eradicating identity theft, but as I mentioned above, those committing identity theft are continuously coming up with new ways to defraud people. With that in mind, I think it’s more important than ever for each one of us to take an active role in securing our personal information to try to stay ahead of the fraudsters!
Check back next month for more tips on what you can do to protect yourself and your accounts.
And thank you, as always, for your membership!
President & CEO