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Getting Cybersecure: How to protect yourself from a data breach

With the recent news of yet another major data breach targeting over 100 million people, it’s a good time to take stock of your online information. As technology becomes more ingrained in our economy, instances of hacking are also becoming more frequent. 

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect yourself against future data breaches and be on guard if you have been a target in the past.

1. Freeze your credit

If you suspect that your personal information was compromised, freezing your credit might be the best way to protect yourself. When you freeze your credit, no one is able to access or use your credit or open a loan under your name. But remember that you also won’t be able to access the credit. If you’re unsure whether it’s time to put your credit on ice, you can learn more about the pros and cons of freezing your credit.

2. Take advantage of a free credit report 

Your free credit report will keep you informed of any suspicious charges or other unauthorized uses of your information. Look over the report carefully to ensure that your information has not been used without your consent.

3. Use biometrics, such as thumbprint or facial recognition, if available

Many credit card companies and financial institutions offer this heightened level of security. Take advantage of it. While it’s always possible to hack a password, your fingerprints are entirely unique to you, and impossible to replicate.

4. Make all new passwords different and difficult to guess

No more using “password” for your password. There are thousands of hackers around the world preying upon you, waiting for you to slip. Don’t make it easy for them. We recommend using upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and other symbols to make your password more difficult to crack.

5. Be careful with security questions

If you forget your password, you have the chance to recover it by answering a series of security questions. Make sure these questions are not easy to guess or find online. For example, a simple Google search can reveal your address or your mother’s maiden name.

6. Use two-factor authentication if available

Two-factor authentication (also known as 2FA) uses two or more pieces of evidence to gain access to your account. You use two-factor authentication every time you take money out of an ATM machine by using both an ATM card and a personal PIN. Many financial institutions and credit card companies allow you to require two-factor authentication to access your account. Often this means you’ll receive a one-time verification number sent via text message. Since this only goes to your phone, you’ll be the only person to see this. Two-factor authentication is an excellent way to keep your information under wraps, and away from hackers.

How Vantage West keeps your identity protected

It’s always a good idea to go the extra mile to protect your sensitive information. That’s why Vantage West encourages our Members to access our ID Theft website, powered by CyberScout©. This page provides you with daily updated information on the latest scams and how to avoid them, along with data breach notifications and other helpful tools to keep your identity protected.

In addition, Vantage West offers resolution services through CyberScout© with both of our Essential and Premium Rewards checking accounts. If that wasn’t secure enough, we also offer FraudScout© ID monitoring with our checking accounts (sign-up and enrollment required). See the details here.

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