Protect yourself from Identity Theft

July 9th, 2019

Article Image

The harder you make it for scammers to steal your identity, the less likely you are to become an identity theft victim.

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America. Credit identity theft is the unauthorized use of your identifying information to open new financial accounts. 

Identity thieves can also use your existing accounts to steal your money or charge items, leaving you with the bills. It's important that you take steps to avoid becoming a victim.

Protect your personal information.

Identity thieves are most interested in information that enables them to pass as you. The most crucial information thieves seek includes your Social Security number, date of birth, and mother's maiden name. Avoid carrying your Social Security card, and don’t include your Social Security number on checks. 

That includes account information.

Make your personal identification numbers (PINs) and passwords hard for someone else to guess. Don't use your birth date, phone number, or last four digits of your Social Security number. Guard your PINs carefully. 

Scammers may pose as a representative of your financial institution on the phone and ask about your account number or PIN. It's important to remember that First Interstate will never contact you by phone or text message and ask for card numbers, account numbers or your PIN. If you receive a call or text from someone claiming to work for First Interstate asking for your debit or card number, account number or PIN, please call our Client Contact Center at 1-855-342-3400 to report the call. 

Watch out for online phishing.

Phishing scams use fraudulent emails and websites to trick users into disclosing private account or login information. Do not respond to emails or phone calls asking for personal information, such as account number, usernames and passwords, Social Security Number, etc. Do not open a program, file, or attachment unless you know it is legitimate. Delete emails from unknown sources. Many email scams will use dramatic subject titles, counting on recipients to be curious and open these emails.

Stay safe on social media.

Hackers can use social media profiles to figure out your passwords or answer security questions in the password reset tools. Lock down your privacy settings and avoid posting things like birthdays, addresses, and information that will reveal your mother’s maiden name.  Be wary of requests to connect from people you do not know. Never share personal account information on social media, even with your own financial institution.

Protect your paperwork.

Shred all important papers that contain financial information before disposing of them. Dispose of credit card and ATM receipts properly. Guard against mail theft by mailing payment envelopes from a collection box instead of raising the flag on your home mailbox.

Get a credit report—or three.

Review account activity and statements regularly and report errors immediately. Periodically order credit reports from the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). The Federal Trade Commission established a program with these credit agencies that enables consumers to receive a copy of their credit reports from each of the three agencies once a year. You can request and receive reports at or by phone (1-877-322-8228). These reports should show any unauthorized accounts that exist under your name.

The harder you make it for scammers to steal your identity, the less likely you are to become an identity theft victim. These simple steps can help keep you—and your identity—safe.