How to Protect Yourself and Your Finances

How to Protect Yourself and Your Finances

 

Everyone knows identity theft is often costly in a financial sense. Along with any financial loss incurred, having your identity stolen also takes an emotional toll. It’s a harsh reminder that in today’s digital age, even the most careful consumers can fall prey to fraud.

If you’re looking to protect yourself against identity theft, read ahead to learn how Fifth Third can protect you—and what you can do to protect yourself.

Protecting Your Finances with Fifth Third

  • Create a complex password and reset it regularly. Setting calendar reminders every few months can help you remember to reset your password on a regular basis. The Fifth Third app, which offers multi-factor authentication to prevent logins from unrecognized devices, can help you create a complex password that deters fraud.
  • Switch to paperless billing. By going paperless, you decrease the likelihood of identity theft via the mail. Plus, you won’t have to change your address if you move.
  • Scan your fingerprint for mobile access. Fingerprint scanning is no longer reserved for high-security vaults and restricted areas—the Fifth Third mobile app allows you to log to your account in by scanning your fingerprint on mobile devices that offer the feature.
  • Set up customized alerts with Fifth Third. You can establish alerts to send a notification if your balance dips too low, a large transaction clears, an international transaction is posted to your account and more. Alerts can help you enjoy clearer visibility into your finances, even if you don’t check your statements regularly.
  • Enroll in Now Balance. A new feature of the Fifth Third app, Now Balance allows you to check your balance with a quick swipe on your mobile device. This means you can check your balance at any time, which makes it easier to manage your budget on a day-to-day basis.
  • Respond to fraud alerts. Fifth Third sends two-way fraud alerts when questionable account activity is suspected. If you receive one of these alerts, respond promptly to verify whether the transaction is fraudulent or not. If it was, Fifth Third will shut down your account and send new cards immediately.
     

Other Methods

  • If you suspect your digital identity has been compromised, freeze your credit so no one can access your report or open a new account in your name. Remember: you have to contact each credit bureau individually and ask them to freeze your account. When you’re ready to apply for new credit, call the bureaus again and ask them to thaw your credit.
  • Check your credit regularly. If someone has opened an account in your name, your credit report will show it. This may not prevent the initial identity theft, but it will give you the ability to deal with it promptly. You can check your credit as often as you want, though some services charge a fee every time you request a new report.
  • Purchase a monitoring service. If you’re afraid of identity theft, you can purchase a separate service that will verify new accounts with you. Experian and TransUnion offer their own monitoring products, and outside companies such as Identity Guard, Lifelock and IdentityForce offer alternative options.
  • Protect your computer. Internet viruses can replicate your keystrokes, which can lead to the theft of your personal passwords and other sensitive information. Purchase and update security software regularly to prevent these attacks.
  • Shred your trash. Thieves can go through your trash to find bank and credit card statements, which often contain secure information. Before you throw out any financial documents, destroy anything that has your name, address, social security number, phone number or bank account information. When in doubt, shred.
  • Beware of unsecured wireless networks. Don’t log on to your bank or credit card accounts while you’re on an unsecured internet network. You can also use a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, which protects your information even while using public WiFi.
  • Use different passwords. Remembering passwords is a pain, but using the same password for every account increases the likelihood that anyone who gains access to one account will be able to access others. Browser extension LastPass allows you to store passwords safely without having to retype them every time you log in.
     

As adoption of mobile banking apps continues to grow, the need for identity protection grows as well. These tips, and generally staying vigilant about your online activity, can help you protect your finances in today's digital landscape.

The views expressed by the author are not necessarily those of Fifth Third Bank and are solely the opinions of the author. This article is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute the rendering of legal, accounting, or other professional services by Fifth Third Bank or any of their subsidiaries or affiliates, and are provided without any warranty whatsoever. Deposit and credit products provided by Fifth Third Bank.