The Basics of Banking: Part 6

In this series, Origin Bank has discussed the importance of financial education and developing good habits that improve financial security and help avoid debt.

Yet, all of this work can be lost in an instant if you don’t guard against fraud and identity theft. These aren’t the only financial threats you’ll face, but they are the most common and require you to remain vigilant throughout your life.

Understanding how vulnerable your personal information is and being cautious with how you share it is critical. Anytime you give your financial information to someone else, make sure it will be kept private. Here are a few tips to keep yourself protected:

1. Always be on the lookout for phishing scams. Among the most common are emails and text messages that trick you into entering your information into a fake website. Verify that the email or text you receive is from a legitimate person or business before handing over your data.

2. Protect your most sensitive information. Thieves constantly target people for their Social Security, driver’s license or bank account numbers. Keep those guarded at all times, and be extra careful when giving them out.

3. Never give out the PIN number for your bank card. It might be tempting to let someone borrow your debit card. But every time you do, you’re increasing the chances that your card will be abused, and your money might be stolen. It’s also a good idea to change your PIN every few months.

4. Get into the habit of checking your account daily and set up automatic alerts. Monitoring your account activity is an easy habit to develop and one of the best ways to catch fraudulent activity early. Enable debit alerts to help keep track of charges in real-time. If you notice anything unusual, contact your bank immediately.

5. Know how to freeze your credit. If you think your identity has been stolen, you’ll need to contact at least one of the country’s three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – to prevent any credit files from being opened in your name. Origin Bank has information to help you learn more here. If your identity has been stolen, it’s wise to set up a fraud alert, a free service available through the Federal Trade Commission’s website.

6. Never log into your bank account on someone else’s device. Whether it’s a laptop, phone or tablet, this puts your information at greater risk of abuse and theft. Stick with devices you control, and keep them password protected.

7. Go paperless. Thieves often look for financial records tossed in the trash. Sign up for email statements and text alerts, and use secure online sites or mobile apps offered by your bank or credit card to check your accounts and pay your bills. If you do have documents with your account data on them, store them securely and shred them before tossing them out.

Origin Bank encourages everyone to stay on guard against scams and identity theft. We offer a number of tools and security measures that give you control and protect your account.

This completes the Origin Bank Basics of Banking series, we hope you found it helpful. Let us know what you learned and what you’d like to know more about. Origin is committed to improving financial literacy in all of our communities.