Anyone can fall victim to identity theft and fraud, which can cost you both time and money. Learn how to identify fraud and protect yourself against identity theft by creating strong passwords, recognizing the signs of fraudulent emails, and taking proactive steps for a safe mobile and online experience.FIND AN ADVISOR Click here to find an advisor.
Signs of Fraud
- New accounts or credit cards you didn't apply for
- Debits on your account you can't explain
- Inaccurate information on your credit reports
- Missing bills or other mail, indicating your account information may have been stolen
- Receiving calls or letters from debt collectors for things you didn't buy
- Medical records that report a condition you don't have
- Notification of a data breach at a company that involves your information
Identity Theft Protection Tips
- Don't share personal information online, such as your address, phone numbers, Social Security number, birth date or birth place.
- Store sensitive personal and financial documents in a secure location, and shred them prior to disposal.
- Never carry your Social Security card or share your number unless absolutely necessary.
- Never carry unnecessary credit or debit cards and cancel cards you don't use.
- Promptly retrieve your mail, arrange a hold with USPS or use Informed Delivery to track mail being delivered to you.
- Opt out of prescreened credit and insurance offers by calling 888‐567‐8688 or go to optoutprescreen.com
- Delete all personal information on electronic devices prior to disposal.
- Monitor financial statements and credit reports for signs of unauthorized or suspicious activity.
Request a free annual copy of your credit report at annualcreditreport.com.
- Never use your Social Security number as a username or password.
- Change your password frequently, using a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters when allowed.
- Never use the same password on multiple sites.
- Don't write down or share your password with anyone.
Look for these signs indicating a fraudulent email:
- Requests for specific personal information
- Urgency – often threatening to close your account
- Money reward offers in exchange for personal information
- Typos and poor grammar
- URLs that are different from the sender – for example, links and sender email addresses that do not include johnsonfinancialgroup.com
Computer & Mobile Tips
- Protect your devices with password security and the phone lock feature to prevent unauthorized users from remotely accessing your devices or home network.
- Ensure your operating system, software, browser versions and plug‐ins are current to be sure you have the latest security protection in place.
- Only download programs and apps from reputable sources, such as the store built into your device.
- Use multi-factor authentication for apps that offer the option.
- Install a personal firewall on your computer and keep anti‐virus software installed and updated.
- Public computers and Wi-Fi should be used with caution. Banking, downloads, and other private activities should be conducted, when possible, on a private computer or secure connection.
- Never text personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, passwords, etc.
- Remember to remove or change your mobile number from banking systems if you lose or replace your mobile device and service.
- Always log off apps when you are finished using them.
- Never store personal information on your mobile device.
- File early. Filing your tax return as soon as possible gives criminals less time to use your information to file a false return.
- File on a protected Wi-Fi network. If you use an online service to file your return, be sure you're connected to a password-protected personal network. Avoid using public networks like a Wi‐Fi hotspot at a coffee shop.
- Use a secure mailbox. If you're filing by mail, drop your tax return at the post office or an official postal box.
- Find a tax professional you trust. If you hire someone to do your taxes, get recommendations and do your research before handing over your financial information.
- Shred what you don't need. Once you've completed your tax return, shred the sensitive documents that you no longer need and safely file the ones you do.
- Beware of phishing scams by email, text or phone. If the IRS needs information, they will contact you by mail first. They will not contact you by email, text or social media.
- Watch for missing mail. Contact the IRS immediately if you don't receive your W‐2s, and your employer indicates they've been mailed, or if your mail has been previously opened upon delivery.
Lost or Stolen Debit Card
Learn more about recent scams and how to protect yourself.READ MORE about recent scams and how to protect yourself.
Learn how to protect yourself from scams and stay up-to-date on the latest tricks from scammers.LEARN MORE about how to protect yourself from the Better Business Bureau.