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Protect yourself against identity theft

Identity (ID) theft

ID theft occurs when someone gains access to your personal information such as name, date of birth and Social Security number (SSN), and uses that information to commit fraudulent acts.

 

Don’t let identity thieves cost you time and money

 

Know the warning signs of ID theft so you can act right away:

 

  • You notice unauthorized activity on your bank account or new accounts on your credit report.
  • You receive unexpected letters and calls from debt collectors about loans or other debt that you don’t owe.
  • You’re notified by the IRS that there’s a possible issue with your tax return, or that your return was previously filed in your name.
  • You’re alerted that your account was accessed from a new device you don’t recognize.
  • You’re billed for medical services you didn’t receive.
  • You no longer receive bills and bank statements in the mail.
  • You’re unexpectedly denied credit.

 

ID theft can happen to anyone

 

Taking these steps will help you reduce your risk of ID theft:

 

1. Keep your personal information secure

 

  • Never give out your personal information via email, text or to an unsolicited caller.
  • Switch to paperless statements.
  • Shred any documents, such as tax forms, bank statements and medical bills that contain sensitive information.
  • Avoid carrying your Social Security Number in your wallet and give it out only when necessary.
  • Don’t overshare on social media, and use privacy controls so that personal information is not made public.
  • Discuss internet safety with your children, and prevent them from sharing information online without your permission.

 

2. Protect your devices

 

  • Keep all of your devices updated with the latest security patches and software.
  • Secure your devices and home Wi-Fi network with a unique password of at least eight characters.
  • Enable biometrics such as fingerprint sign-on, retina/facial recognition where available.

 

3. Control access to your accounts

 

  • Create a strong password for each of your accounts, and never reuse the same password on multiple websites.
  • Use multifactor authentication to add an extra layer of protection when signing in to your accounts.
  • Activate account alerts to help you monitor your finances and keep your accounts safe.
  • Make sure your phone number and email address are up to date on your financial accounts.

 

Act quickly if you become a victim of ID theft

 

For steps you can take right away, visit our How to Report Identity Theft and Fraud page.

 

Read our Identity Theft brochure for more ways you can protect yourself against fraud and scams.

Together, we have the power to fight fraud

 

Knowledge is a powerful defense against fraud and we’re here to help you stay informed. Want to learn more? Here are additional resources we think you may find helpful and want to explore.

 

 

If you suspect you’re a victim of fraud, contact us immediately at 1.800.MERRILL (637.7455), or speak to your financial advisor for further assistance.

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