Protecting Your Identity

The value of identity of course is that so often with it comes purpose. Richard R. Grant Author

We take the security of your accounts seriously and offer the tools, resources, safeguards and state-of-the-art technology necessary to fight fraud, identity theft and financial scams. Here are some tips and resources to keep you protected.

Identity theft is generally an isolated attempt to steal money from an existing account. Identity theft occurs when someone illegally obtains your personal information, such as your Social Security number, date of birth, or bank account number, and uses it numerous times to open new accounts or initiate transactions in your name. There are a number of ways you can help protect yourself and your accounts:

Tip #1: Be aware of the expiration date on your debit and credit cards.

If you do not receive a reissued card before the expiration date, notify customer service, as your mail may have been intercepted and your new card may have been stolen.

Tip #2: Closely monitor your bank account statements.

Washington Financial's Online Banking makes it easy to review your transactions daily. Contact Washington Financial immediately if there's a discrepancy in your records or if you notice something suspicious, such as a missing payment or an unauthorized withdrawal.

Tip #3: Use online banking to pay your bills.

The fewer personal documents sent through the mail, the less chance there is for identity theft.

Tip #4: Take extraordinary measures to destroy personal documents.

Take extraordinary measures to destroy personal documents containing personal information before placing them in the trash. The very best method is cross-cut shredding.

Tip #5: Employ anti-virus/anti-spyware software.

Equip your computer with up-to-date anti-virus/anti-spyware software to avoid intrusion into your records by unscrupulous hackers.

 

While there are no guarantees for avoiding identity theft, the more you know how to protect your identity and what to do if a problem occurs, the harder it is for identity thieves to commit crimes. If you are a victim of identity theft you should file a police report, check your credit reports, notify creditors, and dispute any unauthorized transactions. These are just some of the steps you must take immediately to restore your good name.

Remember, there are a number of ways to protect yourself from being a victim of identity theft. Washington Financial offers online banking as a safe and secure way to view up-to-date account information at your convenience. If you ever have questions about your accounts, you may visit any of our branch locations or contact us at 724.222.3120.

Visit the Federal Trade Commission's Identity Theft site to learn more »
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