Financial Tips

Seven Steps to Prevent Identity Theft

One of the most important things to protect is your personally identifiable information. Here are a few tips to help ensure that you are remaining vigilant and protecting yourself.

Use complex passwords – Avoid passwords containing personally identifiable information or simple words that can be easily replicated by fraudsters. Instead, utilize complex passwords or phrases that include letters, numbers and symbols. In addition, utilize a different complex password for each account to improve your protection and minimize the ability to compromise multiple accounts.
• Utilize payment methods that are protected and secure – Make purchases at terminals that accept chip cards which encrypt the data being transferred. You can also utilize other secure payment methods like ApplePay, GooglePay or SamsungPay. These payment methods are encrypted and card information is never transferred. Nearfield technology is used to transmit a signal to complete the transaction that must be approved on the users end by fingerprint or facial recognition.
• Be mindful of current financial industry scams – Scams are often complex and very convincing. Vigilance and knowledge are key to protecting your personal and financial information. Click here for information about current financial scams.
Keep personal belongings with you – Whether you are going for walk in the park, dropping a child off at daycare, running into a store, or watching a family member’s sports game, take all belongings with identifiable personal information with you. Leaving your personal belongings like a phone, wallet or purse in your car can make you a target for fraud. These locations are consistent targets for criminals to obtain information to conduct fraudulent transactions.
• Review your credit report annually – Remaining vigilant and reviewing this information for irregularities annually helps to keep your identity and personal information safe.
• Use secured Wi-Fi networks – When completing financial transactions, only use secured Wi-Fi sites. Using public Wi-Fi access can lead to your personal information being compromised since the firewall protection may not be sufficient to protect you.
Update your computer and cellular device software – Update your operating systems and anti-virus software regularly and consistently. There are often patches that help to protect you from vulnerabilities and new cyber-attacks.

Financial fraud attempts do not just apply to consumers. Businesses are often the targets as well. Fraud attempts have increased exponentially and have become even more sophisticated since the start of the pandemic. This requires additional due diligence to enhance your protection and preserve the financial stability of your business. With solutions available like Positive Pay and ACH Positive Pay, you can help to ensure that only legitimate transactions you authorized will be processed. 

Whether you are a consumer wanting to learn more about protecting your personal information or a business looking to discuss products and services that can help deter fraudulent transactions, Univest is here to help you protect your financial wellbeing. Visit univest.net, stop by your local Univest Financial Center or call 877.723.5571 for more information.

Univest Bank and Trust Co. is Member FDIC