Home Fraud Protection
Home is a safe place, and we've got some tips to help keep it that way. It's easy to put these simple suggestions into practice, you can get started today, and you'll feel good knowing that your financial information is secure.
Reduce your risk
Be sure to take these everyday precautions for the general well-being of your financial information.
- Monitor your accounts online at least once a week so you'll have early notice of any suspicious activities. In addition, paying and monitoring your bills online will eliminate the risk of having printed statements lost, misplaced or removed from your mailbox.
- Get your credit report, and make sure everything appears correct. You're entitled to a free copy every 12 months, so there's no reason to hold off.
- Opt in to your financial institution's offer to have "account alerts" delivered to your cell phone or email. It's another way of staying on top of your account activity so you can respond promptly if you notice anything amiss.
- Don't give out financial or other personal information over the phone, unless you initiated the call and have confirmed the identity of the party on the other end. Don't be afraid to ask questions, including asking for a callback number. Get more information about how you can protect yourself from mail and phone fraud.
- Store important documents in a secure, locked box – preferably a strongbox that cannot be damaged by fire, flood, or other disaster.
- Keep personal records, payroll information, insurance files, and other sensitive information stored securely out of sight to minimize the chances that your papers end up in the wrong hands. Half of all identity fraud is committed by friends, family members, relatives, employees, live-in caregivers, and other individuals working in or around the home.
Check the mail
Your mailbox is an extension of your home and is, therefore, another channel you should protect from unwanted intruders.
- Never give out personal information in a reply envelope. Identity thieves may send out official-looking letters, often posing as banks.
- Beware of notices announcing that you've won a prize, such as an expensive TV or car. Some scams request for victims to pay substantial “shipping” fees for delivery, but the prize never arrives. A similar scam is an invitation that asks you to send money in order to participate in a foreign lottery.
- Watch out for bills that do not arrive as expected, unexpected credit card account or account statements, denial of credit for no apparent reason, and letters about purchases you did not make.
- Notify your Post Office or fill out the online form immediately if you change your address. You should also make sure your mailbox is secured, promptly remove delivered mail, and put your postal delivery on hold before you go on vacation.
- If you receive any suspicious correspondence or if a forwarding order has been placed on your mail without your knowledge, contact your Post Office right away. To file a complaint about mail theft or fraud, notify the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.