By Herb Weisbaum and the editors of Puget Sound Consumers’ Checkbook.
Stolen online data. Cyber hacking. Digital ID Theft. Criminals work nonstop to hijack our identities and steal our credit and assets. Massive data breaches at Accellion (latest WA state unemployment breach), Equifax, Facebook, First American Financial, Marriott, Twitter, Yahoo!, and many others in the last few years have affected tens of billions of individual consumers. At this point, assume your personal information has been compromised and is available for cyberthieves to use.
Here's advice from the nonprofit Puget Sound Consumers' Checkbook on the best ways to protect your credit, assets, and identity.
All About Passwords
Monitor & Be Vigilant
BECU Members have access to free cyber security courses from KnowBe4, an online cyber security training provider.
Advice for identity theft victims
If you've been the victim of identity theft, file a report with your local police department. Chances are it doesn't have the resources to investigate but doing so will document you took steps to prevent future criminal activity and possible financial losses.
Also file a report with the IdentityTheft.gov website run by the Federal Trade Commission.
Victims of identity theft have legal rights that can help them recover from the crime. Visit the FTC's Know Your Rights web page. You can also contact the nonprofit Identity Theft Resource Center to find out how to undo any damages and reduce your exposure to future criminal activity.
About Consumers' Checkbook
Puget Sound Consumers' Checkbook and Checkbook.org is a nonprofit organization with a mission to educate and help consumers. Checkbook also evaluates local service providers—home improvement contractors, doctors, dentists, veterinarians, stores, and more. It is supported by consumers and takes no money from the companies it evaluates. BECU members can try Consumers' Checkbook for 30 days for free.
BECU does not endorse nor accept liability for Consumers' Checkbook or the use of businesses, products, or services listed on their site. Any information provided by BECU regarding Consumers' Checkbook is provided without any representation, guaranty, or warranty as to its accuracy, quality, or completeness