Congratulations on that new car purchase!
Wait…what's that? You didn't just buy a new car??? Well
someone with your name and social security number just did!
And I can pretty much guarantee you that they will not be making a
single payment. You were just victim to a growing problem:
Criminals are getting smarter and smarter and are coming up with
more clever ways to wreck your hard earned good credit. It
used to be that criminals only used your credit to open credit card
accounts, now they are using your social security number to
purchase vehicles, buy homes and even find work.
So how do you keep yourself safe? How do you protect your
Here are a few tips to help you keep clean what you have worked
so hard for:
Keep your personal information safe:
- Keep personal and financial documents locked in a safe and
secure place in your home. When you go out, only take the
financial pieces that you will need: driver's license, debit
card, credit card. Ladies, when you keep financial
information in your purse be sure to keep your purse either on your
person or safely locked away when at work.
- When you are asked for personal information, ask why they need
it; and ask how they plan to keep it safe. With the rise in
security breaches, you always want to be on the safe side of who
has your personal information.
- Always shred receipts and junk mail that may contain your
personal information. Take outgoing mail to the post office
and drop it in their box instead of just leaving it inside of your
Be safe online:
- You should always make sure your virus protection is up to
date. Make sure that your subscription has not expired and
that it is currently protecting your computer. If you do not
currently have an up to date virus protection, you can always look
into loading a free version like
- Keep your passwords private; do not share your passwords with
others. Always establish safe, complex passwords.
Passwords should use a variation of letters, numbers and
- Be sure that when browsing the internet that your browser is
secure. Always look for "https:" in the address bar. A
"lock" icon on the status bar means your information is
These are just a few tips on how to keep your personal
information safe and keep you from being a victim of Identity
Theft. It is also a smart idea to view your credit report on
a regular basis. You may even want to subscribe to some sort
of credit monitoring service. American Gateway Bank offers
IDProtect® as a free service with some of our personal checking
accounts. For more information, visit our Education
Page or one of our 10 branch locations.