Every day, thousands of lives are turned upside down as a result of someone stealing his or her personal information, most commonly known as personal identity theft. In fact, according to a report by Javelin Strategy & Research, 11.1 million U.S. adults were victims of identity fraud in 2009 alone. In an effort to reduce the number of identity theft cases, Associated Bank offers an effective identity theft protection service, IdentitySecureSM, by ways of daily credit monitoring, credit/debit card monitoring, Social Security number Internet fraud monitoring, identity theft insurance and much more.
"Your first line of defense is to prevent identity theft by securing and monitoring your personal information," said Brad Miller, Information Security Engineer, Associated Banc-Corp. "But if you suspect identity theft, report it immediately. The sooner accounts can be closed and fraud alerts posted, the quicker the issues can be resolved."
Identity theft often occurs weeks or months before the victim realizes what damage has actually been done. It is extremely important to be vigilant about protecting all of your financial and personal information.
To reduce your chances of becoming a victim of identity theft, review the tips below:
- Only disclose necessary information. If someone requests your Social Security number, ask why and if there is an alternative method of identification you can provide.
- Your bank will never contact you for your Social Security number, account number or password. Never respond to unsolicited requests.
- Do not click on attachments or links online or in your email unless you know they are legitimate.
- Monitor your financial accounts daily.
- Use strong passwords, and do not store them by your computer.
- Shred all documents that contain personal information.
- Do not carry your Social Security number with you.
- Lock your mobile phones with a password.