- Protecting Your Identity
Protecting Your Identity
- Theft: Stealing wallets and purses – including Social Security numbers, credit/debit cards and ATM PIN numbers
- Mail: Taking your mail from unprotected mailboxes – including bank account and credit card statements
- Trash: Digging through trash for receipts, statements, credit card offers, etc.
- Phone: Making unsolicited calls requesting private information
- Online: Receiving malicious software or fraudulent emails
Identity Theft Assistance Center (ITAC)
Free ID Theft Assistance
Safeguard Your Personal Information
- Carry only necessary identification; do not carry your Social Security Card.
- Shred papers with any of your personal information - especially credit card applications.
- If you have the option to choose a password on your accounts, don't use your mother's maiden name. Remember, online User ID's and password combinations are confidential and for your protection; they should never be shared.
- Use an online bill pay service to pay bills online. Retrieve incoming mail as soon as possible from your mailbox. If you must pay a bill through the mail, use a secure mailbox.
- A growing trend in identity theft involves criminals stealing checks out of mailboxes. When mailing your bills, don't leave payment envelopes containing checks in your mailbox; use a secure mailbox. Also, pay attention to the information that you write on your checks. For example, when you pay your credit card bill, don't list the entire credit card number on the "for" line. For even greater protection, use an online bill payment service.
- Don't give out your Social Security Number to anyone unless you have initiated the contact and know who you are dealing with. Don't carry your Social Security Card with you and don't print your Social Security Number on your checks.
- When providing your phone number, use your work telephone number instead of your home telephone number.
- Be suspicious of telephone, text message or email requests for personal information.
Monitor Your Personal Information
- Review your financial statements carefully and promptly upon receipt. Question transactions that look unfamiliar. Also, if you don't receive your statement when you're expecting it, contact your financial institution.
- Sign any debit cards and credit cards as soon as you receive them.
- Report lost/stolen checks, debit cards and credit cards immediately. To report lost/stolen checks, debit cards and credit cards associated with your BMO Harris accounts, call us at 1-888-340-2265.
- Check your credit report at least once a year. We've listed the three credit reporting agencies below. Consumers are eligible for a free credit report annually from each of the three major credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. For reports and additional information, visit the Annual Credit Report website. Once you get your report, look at it carefully.
- Is all your information correct?
- Are there any accounts or addresses that aren't familiar?
- Does the number of inquiries seem reasonable?
- Staying safe online
Staying Safe Online and on the Go
- Use Online Banking to reduce your risk of identity theft.
- Install and update anti-virus, anti-spy and firewall software. To learn more about security software, visit the "Secure Your Browser" section of this site.
- Don't reply to e-mails asking for confidential information.
- Don't click on unsolicited e-mail or download attachments from unknown sources.
- Protect your User ID and password by memorizing and changing them on a regular basis.
- Keep your Debit Cards and passwords/PINs (personal identification numbers) safe; do not disclose them to anyone.
- Change your Passwords regularly.
- Always log-off when you are done with accessing your online accounts and never leave your banking session "unattended". Any online session left idle for more than 10 minutes will time-out. Any unfinished transactions will not be completed.
- Avoid conducting your online banking in public areas. Never use public computers to make online financial transactions.
- "Contact BMO Harris" to report all incidents of unauthorized account access.
- Use up-to-date anti-virus spyware and personal firewall software (most new software will update automatically).
- Routinely update your operating software and other programs to get the latest security fixes.
- Information regarding maintaining access
- Guidelines on use of your personal information
- Never send any information online unless you are certain that you know the requestor.
- Never download files or attachments from the web, unless you are certain of their authenticity.
- Don't use "Remember Me" functions (which automatically input your User ID and Password) when you visit a website. If you do, your computer/mobile device will input this information even if someone else is using your computer/mobile device.
Bank smart while on the go
- Turn on wireless encryption immediately after installing a wireless device. Older routers only provide WEP encryption. If available, use WPA or WPA2 encryption for your home network.
- Change the SSID on your router from the default name to prevent easy access to your network.
- Disable SSID broadcast.
- Disable SNMP protocol, unless you need it.
- Your router likely has a built-in firewall; make sure it is on and configured as outlined in the owner's manual.
- Password-protect your mobile device – Many new mobile devices have built-in password protection. Enabling this option will protect your device if it is ever lost or stolen.
- Never store confidential information on your mobile device – Keep personal confidential information like a password, SSN or your PIN off your device.
- Report a lost or stolen mobile device immediately – If your mobile device is ever lost or stolen, alert your mobile service provider as soon as possible.
- Don't hack or modify your mobile device – Modifying the software on your device can leave you vulnerable to viruses and spyware. Protect your device by using it only in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations.
- Turn off Bluetooth function when not in use.
- Use a strong PIN code.
- Avoid storing sensitive data on your Bluetooth-enabled device.
- Keep your device(s) updated with the latest software.
- Secure your browser