In today’s 24/7 culture, where everything is electronic and moves at lightning speed, it’s essential to stay alert and protect yourself against fraud. Here are some tips that can help:
• Review your credit at least once a year from each of the three national reporting agencies. These are available to you without a cost here.
• Monitor your account activity as often as possible, easily and conveniently, with free Online & Mobile Banking. Check for unauthorized transactions, verify your purchases, and accomplish so much more.
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More and more, people are seeking employment online but some may be inadvertently placing themselves at risk of identity theft.
The FBI has investigated scams where criminals are searching job boards for personal information, particularly posted resumés with Social Security numbers and other details.
Here are some tips to help protect yourself:
•Don’t include your identifying data or physical address — simply list an email at which you can be reached.
•Never agree to wire a portion of a check or deposit back to a company representative who tells you this is required to be hired. Most times, the initial check or deposit is fraudulent and will be returned against your account, which means you’ll be liable for the entire amount.
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Summer is in full swing and, although there are lots of outdoor activities going on, it’s also a season when children remain tethered to electronic devices. To follow are a couple of tips for keeping your kids cyber-secure.
• Many youngsters carry smartphones these days, which keep them connected to each other and able to reach their parents in emergencies. It’s wise to be knowledgeable about the apps your kids are using on these phones and make sure they are downloaded from reputable stores, with the proper privacy disclosures and settings.
• Apps sharing locations with friends and family can be useful, but take care with these programs and understand the risks generated by putting any personal information online. That’s especially good advice for young people.
When you make a career switch, you also need to decide what you’re going to do with your 401k.
Should you leave the funds where they are or take your plan with you? Should you roll the money into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or transfer it to your new employer? Here are some choices:
• Take the money and run — You can withdraw your 401k in a lump sum and use the funds to meet expenses or invest elsewhere. Because these distributions involve complex tax issues, it’s always wise to consult a professional for more information.
• Another option is to simply leave resources in your old employer’s 401k and let them grow tax-deferred. However, you may not always have this opportunity, because some companies require you to take your money or withdraw it once you reach normal retirement age.