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Fraud Prevention

Steps you can take to protect yourself or your business.

Personal

Monitor your credit report. You should closely review the information on your credit report. If there are any suspicious accounts, you should contact the creditor immediately. You are entitled to a free credit report from each of the three national credit reporting agencies once a year. To obtain a credit report visit annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.

Carefully monitor your bank account, credit card and other statements for any unusual transactions. Review your statements as soon as you receive them. If you notice anything unusual, contact the bank, credit card issuer, or other company that issued the statement right away.

Request a free initial fraud alert on your credit report. An initial fraud alert lasts for 90 days and warns any creditor who orders a credit report during that period that they must not extend new credit in your name without first verifying that you are the applicant. You can renew the initial fraud alert for additional periods of 90 days. If you are a victim of identity theft, you can request an extended fraud alert. To request a fraud alert, call any one of the three national credit reporting agencies: Experian (888-397-3742); Trans Union (800-680-7289); or Equifax (800-525-6285).

You only need to contact one of the three companies to place a fraud alert. The company you call is required to contact the other two, which will place an alert on their versions of your report, too. If you do not receive a confirmation from a company, you should contact that company directly to place a fraud alert.

You can get more information and guidance from the Federal Trade Commission. If you want additional information or if you suspect someone is using your information for fraudulent activity and want to file a complaint, call the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft Hotline at 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338) or go to ftc.gov/idtheft.

Business

Train employees in security principles. Establish basic security principles within your business for employees - such as strong passwords and Internet guidelines. Establish rules describing how to handle and protect customer information and confidentiality.

Protect information, computers, and networks from cyber attacks. Keep clean machines: having the last security software, web browser, and operating systems are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.

Carefully monitor your bank account, credit card and other statements for any unusual transactions. Review your statements as soon as you receive them. If you notice anything unusual, contact the bank, credit card issuer, or other company that issued the statement right away.

Limit employee access to data and information, and limit authority to install software. Do not provide any one employee with access to all data systems.

For more information on precautionary steps to protect your business with cybersecurity, visit fcc.gov/cyberforsmallbiz.

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