r Beware of fraudulent e-mails or Web sites (known as 'phishing' or web 'spoofing') that appear to be from legitimate sites. Always go directly to a website by typing it directly into the browser address bar. Never click on unverified links in e-mails, in pop-up ads, or on other unknown sites. These emails and links may ask for personal information or redirect you to fraudulent sites.
r Be cautious about opening email attachments from unknown parties or downloading files from unverified locations. Many of these files contain spyware or key-logging programs that can send information back to a malicious site.
r Beware of using non-encrypted wireless connections with computers, phones, and portable devices to send sensitive information from public wireless locations or even from home wireless networks. Using scanning devices, individuals can intercept unencrypted signals and view or obtain your information.
r Beware of 'shoulder surfers' while using a computer in public areas who may be trying to intercept your passwords or information.
r If regular bills or statements stop reaching you, take action. Call the company's customer service number. Someone may have filed a change-of-address form to divert your mail.
r Beware of incoming phone calls from 'imposters' who ask you to disclose information by pretending to be fraud investigators or customer service agents calling with an urgent problem about your account. One fraud involves imposters asking only for the three-digit code on the back of your credit card to 'verify' possession. When you doubt a caller's identity, always ask to call back to a customer service number you know is valid.
r Review your credit report periodically.
r Maintain and run updated virus, firewall, browser, spyware, and security software on your computer.
r Review your Internet and email software's security settings.
r Use strong passwords with a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
r Change passwords periodically and always change pre-assigned temporary passwords.
r When creating PINs and passwords, do not use birth dates, addresses, telephone numbers, etc. These are easily guessed from personal information.
r Never use the 'save ID and password' option in your browser - especially on a public computer.
r Do not email personal and financial information to non-secure sites. Because of the potential for loss, avoid storing personal information on a laptop computer.
r Properly dispose of old computers and ensure all sensitive information is removed from the hard drive. Reformatting the hard drive may not be sufficient - use specialized software to erase information.
r Don't give out financial or personal information online or on the telephone unless you initiated the contact and know the party with whom you're dealing.
r Safeguard ATM, credit and debit cards - only carry cards you use. Report lost or stolen cards or checks immediately.
r Memorize personal identification numbers (PINs) and passwords. Never write them on access cards or store them where they can easily be found (e.g. wallets, purses, desks and computers).
r Use a crosscut shredder to destroy unnecessary financial documents, including old bank statements, invoices and unwanted pre-approved credit and other financial offers.
r Review account statements promptly and match credit card receipts. Don't ignore suspicious charges. If questionable or unauthorized charges appear on your bills or statements, call the issuing financial institution immediately to resolve the discrepancy.
r Keep personal information off your checks. Never pre-print your driver's license or Social Security number on your checks. Remove your Social Security number from your driver's license.
r Secure personal information in your home, especially if you employ outside help, have roommates, or are having work done in your home.
r Carry only the minimum amount of identifying information and credit cards in your purse or wallet. Keep your purse or wallet in a safe place at work.
r Do not leave bill payments in your mailbox especially if it's unlocked or is the type of mailbox with a flag to signal the box contains mail. Deposit them at your post office or use a post office collection box.
r Promptly remove incoming mail. If you are going to be away from home, notify your post office and ask them to hold your mail until you return or have someone collect it daily for you.
r Order copies of your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus once a year to ensure they are accurate.
r Password protect your credit card, bank and telephone accounts. Avoid using easily identifiable information like the last four digits of your Social Security number, your telephone number, consecutive numbers or your motherís maiden name.