6 tips to protect your identity online

6 tips to protect your identity online

JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KAIT) - To avoid the onslaught of shoppers in the malls and stores, many people will do their holiday shopping online.

Even though you may be in the safety of your home, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander urges people to beware of thieves lurking about.

"The high volume of online transactions makes the season attractive to online identify theft scammers," Kander said in a news release Wednesday. "These six simple tips can help you protect yourself from fraud."

  1. Protect your passwords. Create passwords for your computer, tablets and mobile devices unlike those associated with your bank, email or social networking accounts. Never save your password on financial institution or credit card company websites and avoid using your name or other easily identifiable words or phrases for access to your accounts.
  2. Don’t email sensitive information. Never send your credit or debit card or your Social Security Number over email. Instead, use the company website to confirm they’re using a verified and secure means for transacting business online.
  3. Reveal only necessary information. When creating an online account, user name or registration, complete only the fields marked as required (typically designated by an asterisk*).  This will generally help reduce the amount of personal information within your profile that could be shared. Read your account disclosure information and privacy policies closely to determine the level of security of your private information.
  4. Check website security. Be sure to verify that “https://” (not just “http://”) is in the browser’s address bar for the site you are viewing. All legitimate financial institutions and retail establishments use this security feature to protect their customer data.
  5. Monitor credit reports. Use the security features available from your bank or financial institution to alert you to potentially fraudulent charges and request free copies of your annual credit report to ensure no accounts have been opened in your name without your authorization. Under federal law, you are entitled to three free credit reports annually which can be obtained through www.annualcreditreport.com.
  6. Report suspicious transactions immediately. If you have any concern or suspect fraudulent activity in your account, call your bank, financial institution and the Secretary of State’s Investor Protection Hotline at (800) 721-7996.

For more information, visit www.MissouriSafeSavings.com or call (800) 721-7996.

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