News and Events

What Is Identity Theft And How To Prevent It

As we continue to share information about National Cyber Security Awareness Month, Dakota West wants to make sure our members are recognizing ways to help prevent identity theft, such as implementing a three-layer security to our online and mobile account access.

Our partners at Kasasa want to share tips on how to help prevent identity theft.  While it may make sense to think avoiding the use of the Internet would reduce identity theft, there are still a variety of ways information can be compromised.  More importantly, accessing your accounts online on a regular basis is more likely to help you notice when a transaction occurs that you did not authorize.  The first line of defense for many users is having a frequent and regular review of your accounts, which is much easier to do using an online or mobile platform.

Reviewing your credit on a regular basis also helps you be aware of lines of credit that may be drawn in your name.  This scam can also happen to other family members, such as young children or seniors.  Helping our family members be aware of their personal finances by requesting a free annual credit report is another way to maintain control of you and your family’s personal finances.

Ethan Kobos, who is currently studying Cyber Security at the University of North Dakota recently shared with us one of the easiest/most common ways individuals can protect themselves from identity theft.

“By changing your password just once or twice a year, it can greatly reduce the chance that someone could acquire it.  This does not mean to add a number on the end and start counting, create a full password from scratch.  There are softwares that manage all your passwords and will create something that is hard to break, but you will not be able to remember easily.”   If you don’t know where to begin looking for password software, Kobos suggests applications such as LastPass.com.

Learn more about National Cyber Security Awareness Month and how to protect your family’s finances at the National Cyber Security Awareness website, or reach out to Dakota West to find out how we are providing additional security for your debit and credit cards or how we are securing your online identity.  Be sure to access your online accounts on a regular basis to maintain an active involvement in your personal finances and spending.  We want to make sure you have the tools you need to be safe and secure online.

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