After a recent report of more than two dozen Google Android apps caught stealing your data, I’m reminding all Floridians to continuously monitor your personal and business accounts and know the warning signs of identity theft, fraud and scams.
While technology has improved and enhanced our everyday lives, far too often we hear of hacks or data breaches leaving us vulnerable to fraud. The Federal Trade Commission ranks Florida second in the nation for fraud and ID theft reports and estimates that Florida fraud losses totaled nearly $90 million in 2019 alone. Identity theft and imposter scams are the top two forms of fraud reported. It is vital that Florida consumers and businesses remain informed about data breaches and protect and monitor their accounts for fraudulent activity.
Below are four tips to help protect your personal and financial information. For a list of the malicious Google Android apps, click here.
1. Check your credit card activity often. Reviewing your recent account activity is fundamental to credit card safety. Most companies allow you to review transactions online or by phone. If your credit card company offers email or text alerts regarding unusual activity, consider signing up now.
2. Monitor credit reports. Periodically review your credit report for any accounts that scam artists may have opened in your name. Credit reports are available free of charge from each of the three national credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) every 12 months.
3. Be extra careful about emails and attachments. Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from suspicious emails, especially emails claiming to be connected to a data breach.
4. Consider a credit freeze. If you believe you’ve been the victim of identity theft or as an additional precaution, consider placing a free credit freeze on your credit file with each of the three credit reporting agencies to further prevent unauthorized activity.
If you feel you’ve fallen victim to fraud, report it immediately at FraudFreeFlorida.com. Always remember, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.