Tips to keep your personal information and your finances safe.
Information Vulnerable? Be Proactive.
- Keep contact information updated so your financial institutions can notify you quickly of any suspicious activity.
- Keep PINs and passwords private; use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols, and change them periodically.
- Protect identifying information, such as your Social Security number, account numbers, birthdates, etc., from anyone who contacts you by phone or email.
- Shred sensitive documents, such as receipts, financial statements and credit card offers.
- Monitor the mail so you know if bills or statements are late or missing, and use a locked mailbox to send checks or personal identifying information.
- Monitor your credit report with free reports from the three major reporting agencies.
- Use online banking to check on financial accounts and spot suspicious activity; sign up for text or email alerts for certain types of transactions, such as charges exceeding $500.
- Protect your computer with virus protection software, and ensure business is conducted on secure sites (look for “https” and a locked padlock in the address bar).
- Secure your mobile device with a passcode lock, and use caution when downloading apps, tapping links or opening attachments – they may contain malware.
- Wipe your device before donating, selling or trading; try doing so remotely if it’s lost or stolen.
- Limit social sharing – such as birthdays, addresses, mother’s maiden name, etc. – as hackers can use social media to figure out passwords and security question answers. Engage privacy settings, and be wary of connecting with people you don’t know.
- Add passwords or dual-factor authentication to your accounts when possible for extra layers of protection.
- Report suspected fraud immediately.
Information Compromised? Get Reactive.
Immediately call Washington Trust Bank’s Priority Service number at 800.788.4578. Report instances of identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission at identitytheft.gov, and file a report with local police.
Trigger a fraud alert status
Each credit bureau offers fraud alert status, requiring potential creditors to contact you before opening new accounts or lines of credit. The alert is valid for 90 days, unless you re-engage at expiration or provide documentation (such as a police report) to extend it up to seven years.
Place a security freeze or lock
Enact a security freeze or lock to prevent access to your credit report until you unlock or suspend the freeze. All credit bureaus offer the feature, but cost and options for placement and removal vary. Some bureaus offer independent online controls free of charge:
credit bureaus that provide free security freezes or locks Bureau Tool Website Allow lock? Equifax TrustedID www.trustedID.com Yes TransUnion TrueIdentity Membership.trueidentity.com/tucm Yes
Obtain free credit reports
Each credit bureau provides one free report annually. Stagger your reports, obtaining one from a different bureau every four months to catch anomalies quickly.
File taxes early
Identity thieves may use personal information to file false tax returns, so file as early as possible if you think your data has been compromised.
Research protection options
Monitoring services can provide another layer of security. Third-party services provide credit monitoring services for free (Credit Karma for Equifax and Transunion) or a fee (Identity GUARD and Lifelock).
Credit Bureau Contact Details
The three credit bureaus operate independently. Contact each one to complete any action.
Call Priority Service at 800.788.4578.
Call Priority Service at 800.788.4578 and follow the prompts to Card Services to block your card.
WTB Mobile: Suspend your card or report it lost or stolen from within the WTB Mobile app.
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