As our lives become more increasingly digitized, the threat of identity theft continues to grow. Hackers and cybercriminals are constantly developing new ways to steal sensitive online information and wreak havoc on a person’s financial and personal life.
So, now more than ever, it’s critical to take proactive steps to protect your identity.
October is National Cybersecurity Awareness month, and Nationwide is encouraging consumers to protect their identity in the age of cyber threats during retail transactions, social media, healthcare and other vulnerable situations.
To help protect consumers’ identities, Nationwide offers consumers the following tips:
- Take only what you need. Leave extra credit cards and your Social Security card in a secure place at home. It’s not necessary to carry all your credit cards with you when you shop – just take the ones you need for that trip.
- Make ATM transactions in secure locations. When using an ATM, make sure no one is looking over your shoulder to see your PIN, and always take your receipt. Sometimes it has vital information that criminals could use to access your bank account.
- Make sure your digital payment methods include consumer protection precautions. Use a credit card, not a debit card, when shopping online. Most credit cards protect you from having to pay for fraudulent purchases, whereas debit cards generally do not. Only shop with companies you trust or have done business with in the past. Make sure they are using a secure server to store your information.
- Sign your credit card. Always sign the back of your credit cards or write, “Ask for photo ID.”
- Protect your identity in advance. Make sure you have identity theft insurance coverage and the ability to monitor your personal information online.
- Options to consider if you become a victim. Consider freezing your credit information with at least the big three consumer reporting agencies – Transunion, Equifax and Experian. Recent changes to federal law make it easier and remove all fees for freezing and unfreezing credit reports.
For more tips and information about how to protect your identity, click here.
As the number one writer of ID theft insurance protection, Nationwide continues to develop innovative solutions for its members to provide a modified and improved version of the Identity Protection Portal (IPP). This enhanced offering can proactively monitor members’ identity, notify them if their information is being improperly used and adds credit score and monitoring services. Nationwide’s IPP combines human intelligence with leading-edge cybertechnology to proactively monitor members’ identities across a spectrum of vulnerable scenarios over the vast expanse of the web.
Some of the items monitored by the Nationwide product include credit-card numbers, social-security numbers and even loyalty-card information. IPP also will provide a library of useful information to educate members about protecting their identity and includes comprehensive restoration services.