1. Never provide personal financial information over the phone or internet, especially Social Security and account numbers or passwords, unless you initiated the contact.

2. Never click on the link provided in an email that appears fraudulent. It may contain a virus.

3. Don’t be intimidated by an email or caller warning of dire consequences if you don’t provide or verify financial information.

4. If you believe the contact is legitimate, visit their website by typing in the site address or using a bookmarked page instead of a link provided in the email.

5. If you fall victim to an attack, act immediately to protect yourself. Alert your financial institution. Place fraud alerts on your credit files. Monitor your credit files and account statements closely.

6. Call the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-IDTHEFT to report any suspicious emails, calls or text messages.

1. Report lost or stolen cards immediately.

2. Keep card details (account numbers, expiration dates, card issuers and contact info) in a safe place with easy access in case a card is lost or stolen.

3. Treat your debit and credit cards like your house keys: Don’t let them out of your sight.

4. Watch out for ATMs that appear altered. If anything looks crooked, loose or damaged, it could be a sign that someone attached a skimming device.

5. Cover the ATM pad when entering your PIN.

6. Never write your PIN on your card.

7. Choose debit and credit card PINs that are difficult to guess but easy for you to remember.

8. Do not reply to any email, text or phone requests for your social security number, debit or credit card account number or any other personal information.

9. Monitor your credit report, debit and credit card accounts and statements for unauthorized transactions. Cancel any inactive credit accounts.

10. Shred all debit and credit card statements or financial documents before you throw them away.

11. Before making purchases online with your debit or credit card, make sure the website is secure. Look for “https” in the URL and check for security icons before keying in your account number.

12. Update anti-virus and spyware software regularly.

13. Visit the federal Annual Credit Report agency to request a free credit report from one or more of the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experianand Trans Union – or call the bureaus directly. For added security, sign up for Credit Sense for free credit monitoring.

Equifax: 800-685-1111

Experian: 888-397-3742
Trans Union: 800-888-4213

If you prefer, you can mail the Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.