Review and monitor your bank activity and credit status frequently. Identity theft can happen despite your precautions. Prompt detection allows you to take defensive action quickly and minimize the damage.
- Monitor Transaction Activity Online
- Review bank and credit card activity frequently, daily if possible.
- You can review your Boston Private Bank account(s) activity with Boston Private Bank's Online Banking Service.
- Watch Your Credit Report
- Individuals can request a free annual credit report using AnnualCreditReport.com.
- Consider ordering one every four months from a different Credit Bureau to keep tabs at different points during the year and use an online credit monitoring service as an extra precaution.
- Reconcile all of your bank and credit card statements in a timely fashion.
- Report any purchases you did not make to the bank, as soon as possible.
- Call your Private Banker immediately if you find any discrepancies or suspicious transactions on your bank statement or if you receive suspicious phone calls and emails soliciting information on your accounts.
Safeguard your physical records and information. Identity theft often results from stolen documents and records containing personal information. Keep this information secure.
- Protect Your Mail
- Retrieve paper mail promptly and never place checks or mail containing your personal information in a personal outgoing mailbox, unless it is a lockable mailbox; mail theft is a leading cause of identity theft and fraud.
- Beware of Receipts
- Take credit card, debit card and ATM receipts with you.
- Never toss them in a public trash container.
- Shred, Shred, Shred
- Destroy (using a criss-cross shredder) all statements, cancelled checks, checks on closed accounts, bills, and other such documents.
- Do not toss pre-approved credit offers in your trash or recycling bin without shredding them.
- Protect Purse and Wallet
- Never leave your purse or wallet unattended at work or in church, restaurants, health/fitness clubs, parties, or shopping carts.
- Do not leave your purse or wallet in open view in your car, even when your car is locked.
- Minimize What You Carry With You
- Never carry Social Security Card, birth certificate or passport in your wallet or purse except when necessary.
- Minimize the number of extra credit cards you carry.
Other tips for protecting your identity include:
- Take computer precautions
- Beware of unsolicited email or internet phishing scams.
- Be sure to use and update firewall and anti-virus software on your personal computer.
- Do not discard a computer without deleting all sensitive data.
- Never give any private information (credit card, bank account, PIN, or Social Security Number etc.) to anyone by telephone unless you can positively verify that the call is legitimate.
- Make sure your driver’s license number is not your Social Security Number.
- Never write your Social Security Number on a check.
- Eliminate or reduce the use of paper checks. Use electronic payment methods where possible.
- Opt out of preapproved credit card offers.
- Keep a list of all your credit accounts and bank accounts in a secure place so you can quickly call the issuers to inform them about missing or stolen cards
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has produced a multimedia presentation to help consumers secure their computer and protect themselves from identity theft. The presentation also includes actions consumers should take if they become a victim of identity theft. The presentation is on the FDIC's website: here.
If you are the victim of identity fraud, Boston Private has developed an Identity Theft Tool Kit, which contains guidance from law enforcement officials as to what a person or business should do to mitigate the risk or consequences of identity theft.
Additional Fraud Prevention Tips for Businesses
In addition to the recommendations above, businesses can help prevent fraud by implementing these controls:
- Use quality checks from reputable printers. The check stock and MICR encoding carry essential information used to protect your account.
- Secure your checkbook supplies, including facsimile signature stamps.
- Shred checks and statements you no longer need.
- Notify your Private Banker immediately of any changes to signing authorities on your account.
- Conduct background checks of employees involved in issuing checks or reconciling checking accounts.
- Institute dual internal controls over your check issuing and reconciliation processes. The employee reconciling the account should not be a signer on the account.