A rash of credit card fraud has hit Central Oregon recently. Business owners and consumers can play an important role in reducing this crime and preventing themselves from becoming the next victim.
Here are six tips we recommend to help you D-E-F-E-N-D yourself and your company against fraud and identity theft:
1) Don’t provide sensitive personal or account information to anyone you don’t know over the phone, in response to an unsolicited email or through text messaging. This includes, but is not limited to your Social Security number, online credentials (username and password), account numbers, personal identification numbers, driver’s license or state-issued ID numbers. Don’t over share information on social media sites.
2) Evaluate your PC and smart phone and install anti-virus and anti-spyware software and a personal firewall. Update your anti-virus and anti-spyware software as updates become available. Install operating system patches as they become available.
3) Feel confident about the information in your credit report. Request a copy of your credit report at least annually and review it carefully. Follow up on items you do not recognize and dispute erroneous items.
4) Examine your account activity often through online or mobile banking to monitor for unauthorized transactions. Sign up for automatic alerts to quickly spot suspicious activity. Services are also available that notify you of activity detected in your credit file.
5) Notify your financial institution immediately if you identify suspicious account activity. If the activity is determined to be fraudulent, you may be advised to file a police report.
6) Destroy documents containing personal or account information by using a shredder before placing them in the trash. This includes credit card solicitations of all types, cancelled checks and old bank statements. Dumpster diving is still widely employed by fraudsters to steal your confidential information.
Based in Bend, Coby Horton manages Wells Fargo’s Business Banking team for Central Oregon. For more fraud prevention tips, visit Wells Fargo’s online Fraud Information Center at www.wellsfargo.com.