Financial Literacy for Everyone

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What steps are you taking to protect your identity? Credit and debit cards give you flexibility and purchasing power, but as with any sensitive information, they require extra security precautions. You wouldn't leave cash lying around, so it's important to secure your financial information as well. In order to lower your chances of becoming a victim of identity theft, review these basics.

Identity Theft Basics

Know your rights in the event of fraud.

  • Credit or debit? Credit cards make security breaches easier to address. With a credit card, you have plenty of time to notice unauthorized charges, notify their issuer, and have them removed.
  • What about cash or prepaid cards? Unfortunately, if your cash is stolen, there's little that can be done except filing a report with the police. Prepaid cards are similar to debit cards, but instead of being linked to a bank account, they are linked to reloadable prepaid accounts. Treat your prepaid card like cash, and keep it in a secure place.

Take steps to safeguard your personal finances.

  • Protect financial documents and mail. Do you shred old bills or credit card statements? Shredding your documents helps protect any personal information from getting into the wrong hands. Similarly, if you are on vacation, place a postal hold on your mail until you return.
  • Practice smart online security. Are you using the same password or a variation of the same one for several accounts? If so, that can make multiple accounts vulnerable. Use secure passwords, do not share them with others and change them regularly. If you need to enter financial information online, disclose it only on secure websites. Consider applications to generate passwords and store your sensitive online information.