Return to The Money Mentor Blog

Help protect yourself from identity theft and account takeover fraud

online security tips
December 15, 2017

By Alliant Credit Union

You’ve seen it in the headlines—account takeover fraud is on the rise. We’re diligently monitoring your accounts for fraud, but there are important steps that you can take to protect yourself and your family. Here are some tips on easy ways to maintain your personal security and protect your identity:

Monitor your accounts and credit

Watch account activity closely.
It’s easy to monitor your Alliant accounts with our transaction alerts. Log in to online banking, click “Manage Alerts,” then use the + button to sign up for alerts.

Use fraud monitoring services.
Subscribe to a fraud monitoring service that will alert you when an account is opened in your name. You’ll know right away if someone else is using your identity.

Get your credit report.
Monitor your credit reports regularly. You can get three free credit reports a year from www.annualcreditreport.com.

Be smart online

Use smart passwords. 
Choose phrases or quotes instead of a single word and never use your phone number or family names. And try not to reuse a password on multiple websites or one breach of one password could jeopardize all your accounts.

Keep your devices updated. 
When using your PC, tablet or phone, don’t ignore notifications of operating system or application updates. They often fix bugs and vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. Install updates as soon as you can.

Avoid phishing emails and malware. 
Don’t click links in emails from unknown senders, and don’t open an attached file if you’re not sure what it is. You could infect your computer and/or compromise your personal information.

Guard physical documents and IDs

Mail securely.  
Thieves can take unsecured outgoing mail to get your address and checking account info. If paying bills by mail, drop your outgoing mail in a locked USPS mailbox.

Shred your documents.  
Thieves sometimes scavenge garbage and recycling in an effort to take over your identity or open accounts in your name. Buy a shredder and use it to destroy statements, bills and credit card offers.

Protect your license and social security number.  
Don’t carry your social security card it in your wallet. Instead, keep it at home in a secure location or in safety deposit box. Also, never have your license or social security number imprinted on checks. Instead, only imprint your name and address.

Guard your PIN.  
If you must write down your PIN, don’t carry it with you. Instead, keep it at home in a separate location from your account statements.

Switch to electronic statements.  
Printed statements can get lost in the mail and/or intercepted by thieves.

Recognize phone and wire scams

Phone and emergency scams.  
Don’t share your security or login info with any caller, even if they’re asking to “verify” your information. Likewise, if someone calls or texts asking you to wire them money for an emergency, ask to call their phone to verify whether it was really them calling. It could be a scammer pretending to be a grandchild, niece or friend. Ask what police station or hospital the caller is (supposedly) calling from, then call that location to confirm the crisis is real.

Wire scams.  
If a new online connection or potential employer asks you to wire them money, it’s likely a scam—especially if they suggest you send it via a storefront cash or currency store rather than through your bank or credit union.

How to report fraud

If you think you’ve been a victim of online, email, phone or credit card fraud or if you see new accounts on your credit report that you didn’t open, alert us immediately so we can help.

Call us: 800-328-1935 or 773-462-2000

Learn more about security

Learn more about security steps you can take at alliantcreditunion.org/security