Protect Yourself and Avoid Identity Theft

In the age of data breaches, phishing scams and fraudsters using technology to steal identities, we have to be so careful with our personal information.  Criminals take the information they steal and sell it on the Dark Web.  Not just once, but, many times over.  What is the Dark Web?  It’s a whole different side of the internet that is anonymously used by criminals to buy and sell stolen identities for illegal profits. Once your identity has been stolen, it can take up to 6 months or longer to fix and cost thousands.

Follow these tips to protect your identity and keep your money in your pocket not a fraudsters:

Do not trust caller ID:

Why not trust Caller ID?  Because it can easily be manipulated or spoofed to read what the caller wants you to see. If someone claims to be from We Florida Financial and calls asking to verify personal account information, hang up and call us directly at 954-745-2400 to verify.

What we won’t ask for when we call you:

We Florida Financial will never contact you and ask for any personally identifiable information, your debit card personal identification number (PIN), online banking user ID, or password.  We already know your social security number, date of birth and address because you gave it to us when you opened the account.  You create your own PIN and password and only you known them (and it should stay that way).  Remember financial institutions or government agencies will never ask for this type of information.

Report your stolen identity:

If you think your identity has been stolen report it.  Call your financial institution immediately.  Often you will be required to file a police report to claim unauthorized transactions.  Also report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  Their website can help guide you through the process of recovering your identity.

Set up account alerts:

Take advantage of the security features offered by your online banking service and debit or credit card by setting up alerts.  You can set up login and transaction alerts to notify you of any unauthorized activity on your accounts.

Watch out for Work at Home or Secret Shopper scams:

Avoid responding to ads, emails, text messages or phone calls from someone offering you a job for pay that just seems too good to be true.  More than likely they aren’t true.  Fraudsters will claim they are from a legitimate company such as, Secret Shopper, and say they will pay you to work from home.  They send out a large cashier’s check or business check and tell you to cash it and send the majority of money back to them by wire, money orders or prepaid gift cards.  You get to keep the rest as pay for your work.  By the time you find out the check is counterfeit or forged you have already sent the scammer the money.  Unfortunately, you will be out the money and on the hook to your financial institution if it overdraws your account.  

Talk about your experience:

Warn your friends and family - tell people about the calls you are getting so they are aware. Your experience can save them from becoming victims.