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Check your statements. Carefully review your bank and credit card statements, including periodic reviews online whenever possible, and immediately report any suspicious activity.
Keep financial contact info handy. Make a list of phone numbers and other contact info corresponding to each credit and debit card and keep it in a safe but accessible place in the event the cards are compromised and you must call to cancel.
Use chip-based payment cards. If you have not received an updated credit or debit card with an embedded chip, contact your financial institution regarding availability. Chip technology provides an additional layer of security for each transaction and the cards are difficult to counterfeit or copy.
Be on alert. Set up alerts for your credit and debit cards — whether it’s a call, text, or e-mail — to let you know about suspicious activity or to simply alert you when the card has been used.
Change your PIN or passwords. Periodically change your personal identification numbers and passwords, never use the same password or PIN on multiple sites or accounts and consider using a phrase as your password.
Mix up your answers. Consider using a wrong answer for your selected security question that only you will know.
Two is better than one. Use two-factor authentication for account access when available, which provides two checkpoints as opposed to a single password or security question.
Internet security is a must. Be sure you have an internet security suite installed on your computer to provide virus protection, spam filters and other safeguards to block access to your information.
Visit secure websites. Even with internet security, only visit websites you trust, particularly if you are making a financial transaction. Look for “https” before the web address and a padlock icon in the address bar.
Delete suspicious e-mails. Beware of unsolicited spam e-mails offering “great deals,” or asking for, or promising, money, as well as phishing emails posing as banks or other companies asking for sensitive information, including passwords, social security numbers, etc. Never respond to, or click on links included in suspicious e-mails as they can open a direct path to you and your information.
Check your credit report. Be sure nobody is attempting to use your identity. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com to access a federally mandated free credit report once a year from each of the three U.S. consumer credit reporting agencies — Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Check one agency every four months, rotating them, so you can monitor on a regular basis.