Here are a few good rules to follow to avoid becoming a victim:
- Never provide your personal information in response to an unsolicited request. Whether it is over the phone, by text, or on the Internet. Emails and Internet pages created by phishers can look exactly like the real secure emails and Internet pages they are impersonating. If you did not initiate the communication, do not provide any information.
- If you are unsure whether a contact is legitimate, contact the financial institution. You can find phone numbers and websites on the monthly statements you receive from your financial institution, or you can look up the company in a phone book or on the Internet. You should be the one to initiate contact, using information you have verified yourself.
- Never provide your account information or password over the phone or in response to an unsolicited Internet request. A financial institution would never ask you to verify your account information or confirm a password online. Thieves armed with this information and your account number can help themselves to your money.
- Review account statements regularly to ensure all charges are correct. If your account statement is late arriving or does not arrive, call your financial institution and find out why. If your financial institution offers electronic account access, check your account activity online regularly to catch suspicious activity.
- Check your credit report regularly – get your free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com
Put your home and cell phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry at www.donotcall.gov.
Opt out of the pre-screened credit card offerings that clog your mailbox daily by registering at www.optoutprescreen.com.
Install a reputable antivirus software program on all computers and keep them current.
Make your password as long and as complex as possible. With VSB Online Banking, you can create a password that is up to 8 characters long! Throw in symbols and numbers too for an added bonus of security! Avoid anything that is predictable and in sequence.
Use more than one password. Using a simple password for the local newspaper website is one thing but when it comes to your bank account you want to be as secure as possible.
Only use trustworthy computers. Shared public computers like those in internet cafes, public libraries, and hotel lobbies could be connected to keystroke loggers or infected with viruses.
If you suspect that you have been the victim of identity theft or a scam, contact your financial institution immediately.