Identity theft is the second most reported consumer complaint to the Federal Trade Commission, and this has led to a booming industry of paid protection services. Before you decide to pay extra for this security, consider these tips that can help you protect yourself.
- Your bank account may already give you identity theft protection.* Bank of the Ozarks customers with Bonus Checking accounts already have identity theft protection and up to $2,500 identity fraud expense reimbursement coverage with no deductible. My Choice Checking account customers with direct deposit can opt to receive identity protection too as part of the regular account features. Registration and activation of identity theft protection is required.
- File your taxes early. Last year, the IRS received over 230,000 reports of tax refund fraud. By filing your taxes early, you may prevent thieves from claiming your refund before you do.
- Check your credit regularly. One of the best features of many identity theft protection services is credit monitoring. If you don’t have an ID protection service, at least pull your free credit report yourself annually.
- Think before you share personal information online. It’s not a good idea to have your birth date, birth place, current address, or phone number on social media.
- Keep sensitive documents secure. Store paper documents in a Safe Deposit Box and remember you also need to keep any electronic devices that store this information secure using strong passwords and a secure network.
- Beware of phishing scams. Bank of the Ozarks will never ask you to send personal information to them in an email. It’s a good idea to have the same expectation of any other company you do business with.
*Special Insurance Program Notes: The descriptions herein are summaries only. They do not include all terms, conditions and exclusions of the policies described. Please refer to the actual policies for complete details of coverage and exclusions. Insurance is offered through the company named on the certificate of insurance. Refer to Guide to Benefit for complete details of coverage. Insurance products are not a deposit of or guaranteed by the Bank or any Bank affiliate and are not insured by the FDIC or any federal government agency.
By Adam Lucas Adam Lucas holds a Finance degree and an MBA from the University of Kentucky. His work has appeared in many major outlets including Yahoo, AARP.org, and GoBankingRates.com.
Monday on the Money is a weekly commentary from Bank of the Ozarks providing financial advice and solutions important to you and your family.