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Preventing Identity Theft

The threat of identity theft is ever-changing, but because threat actors are always looking for new ways to steal your information, protecting yourself against it should be a priority. While identity theft can happen to anyone, there are several ways you can take action to lessen the risk.

Secure Your Information

In a primarily digital world, protecting your personal information is paramount. While most people are aware of this, it can be easy to become lackadaisical about it. And with that, it’s also important to keep physical paper records secure, such as Social Security cards and other personal documents.

Firstly, never share personal information with anyone over the phone, by email, or by mail that has initiated contact with you unprompted. This includes bank account information, Social Security numbers, login details to any account — even things like Venmo or Zelle. Anyone who requests urgent action because of fraud or scams should be heavily investigated before taking action. It has become much easier for threat actors to dupe phone numbers and emails to match the actual contact information of an institution or government agency, so be diligent about contacting them on your own to verify any requests.

You should also be diligent about creating strong passwords for your login information, as well as setting up two-factor authentication whenever possible. Many mobile apps also offer biometric authentication where you use fingerprints or facial recognition to sign into an account or authorize a debit or credit card transaction.

Identity theft can also be committed through physical mail or other paper documents. Be sure to shred or adequately dispose of any financial documents, insurance forms, or any other document that displays personal information. For the documents you need to keep that contain personal information, store them in a safe place.

Stay on Top of Your Credit Report and Financial Accounts

Keeping up with your credit report, bank accounts, and/or credit accounts can help you stop identity theft before it becomes serious. By actively monitoring your credit status and other accounts, you can quickly identify any suspicious transactions or knocks on your credit score. If you report suspicious behavior immediately you have a much higher likelihood of getting the issue resolved through the associated institution.

You are able to receive three free credit score reports each year through Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.

Set Up an Online Account With the IRS

To help ensure the security of your information, the IRS recommends taxpayers set up an online IRS account. Through this account, you can view important information about your federal taxes, such as your payoff amount, the balance you owe in taxes for each year, payment history, and more. This allows you to review and manage that information in real-time and lessen the risk of phone, email, or other scams.

The IRS also warns taxpayers that they will never call or email you regarding the status of your tax returns or to request information. You will only receive notices by direct mail with instructions on how to respond.

At Republic Bank, we do everything we can to help you in preventing identity theft and other forms of fraud. Call us today at 800-526-9127 to speak with one of our bankers and feel confident in your financial and personal security. Plus, visit our library of resources for more helpful financial tips.

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