2017 has seen a significant rise in online security breaches and attacks, such as the IRS Data breach that exposed the information of 100,000 taxpayers; the Gmail phishing scam that affected up to 1 million users; and the Verizon data breach that placed nearly 14 million subscribers at risk - just to name a few. In September, Equifax, one of the three largest US credit agencies, experienced a security breach that put 143 million consumers information at risk.
We understand that these incidents’ affects are far-reaching and we want to help protect you. Below are five ways you can be proactive about your online security.
Check your credit report — for free — by visiting either annualcreditreport.com or creditkarma.com. Any unrecognizable accounts or activity could be an indicator of identity theft. Checking your credit reports regularly will ensure you are aware of any changes in your credit usage and help you to catch any potentially fraudulent account openings right away. Sites like Credit Karma send you email alerts if your credit score changes unexpectedly helping you to be vigilant. If you spot a discrepancy, visit IdentityTheft.gov to find out about next steps you should take.
Consider placing a credit freeze on your files. If you believe your information has been compromised, a credit freeze is a great course of action to consider. A credit freeze makes it more difficult for a thief to open a new account in your name. Keep in mind that a credit freeze won’t prevent them from making charges to any existing accounts. Be sure to safeguard your credit cards through the steps provided on our Online Credit Card Fraud page.
If you decide against a credit freeze, you may want to consider placing a fraud alert on your files. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim, and notifies them to verify the identity of anyone seeking credit in your name. You can also visit our Identity Theft Prevention page for simple steps on how to better protect your identity.
Monitor your existing accounts. Keep a vigilant eye out for credit card charges or bank transactions you do not recognize. Columbia Bank offers advanced security features to help you do this including:
As a new security precaution, we recently launched automated debit card fraud alerts. These alerts automatically notify you of any potentially fraudulent activity in real time.
Set up Account Alerts in Columbia Connect, our online banking platform, so you’re promptly notified of any suspicious card activity. You can monitor your transactions using Columbia Connect through any desktop or mobile device. We also offer zero liability when you report suspicious activity as soon as it’s detected.
File your taxes early — as soon as you have the tax information you need, before a scammer can. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. Respond right away to any letters from the IRS to prevent any discrepancies in your taxes.
Learn more about the Equifax breach from the Federal Trade Commission, read more about the biggest security breaches of 2017 here and be sure to visit our Fraud Prevention Center for a full suite of resources so you can stay safe.
We'll find a branch near you. You can also visit the locations page or contact us.
From checking to lending and everything in between, our personal banking options will make you feel right at home.
As a community-supported bank and locally operated business, we are proud to offer flexible and rewarding banking options to local businesses.
No matter what stage of the wealth cycle you’re in, we can help you plan ahead and think forward.
Follow Columbia Bank