Don’t Be Scammed: 5 Ways to Safeguard Your Accounts

Keep these five critical pieces of information sacred.

from Reader's Digest | August 2009

     

  • 1.

    Your credit card number

    Danger: A thief goes on a spending spree with your account.
    Protection: Scrutinize every statement, and report all suspicious charges.

  • 2.

    Your Social Security number

    Danger: Using your SSN and a bit of “social engineering,” a crook can take out loans, and even commit other crimes, in your name.
    Protection: Place fraud alerts on your credit reports. Refuse to give out your SSN as an ID.

  • Social Security Card© 2009 Jupiterimages CorporationDon't let thieves commit crimes in your name! Refuse to provide your social security number as a form of ID.
  • 3.

    Your mother's maiden name

    Danger: Mom’s maiden name might be all a crook needs to open your bank’s vaults.
    Protection: Use an answer only you know.



  • 4.

    Debit card number and PIN

    Danger: With hidden devices at purchase or by hacking into retailers’ computers, scammers harvest and drain victims’ debit cards.
    Protection: “I never use my PIN unless I’m at a bank ATM,” says Avivah Litan, an analyst at Gartner, an IT research firm. Shopping with your debit? Say “credit” at checkout and sign, or use a signature-required debit card.

  • 5.

    Bank passwords and log-ins

    Danger: Your life savings evaporates in an instant, remotely, and with little trace.
    Protection: Never click on a link to your bank that arrives in your e-mail. Visit your bank online only by typing in the URL.

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