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Don’t Let Identity Thieves Haunt Your Finances This Halloween

As the leaves fall and the nights grow longer, a different kind of chill fills the air – the spine-tingling fear of identity theft. In a world where our lives are increasingly intertwined with the digital realm, it’s no surprise that identity theft has become a modern-day scare, lurking in the shadows, ready to strike when we least expect it. In this blog, we’ll illuminate the dark corners where identity thieves hide, arm you with the knowledge to thwart their sinister schemes, and ensure that this Halloween, the only scares you experience are the ones you choose. So, gather ‘round the virtual campfire, it’s time to learn how to protect your finances from the ghouls of identity theft.


How can someone steal your identity online?

It’s important to know how people can steal your identity, this way you can be on guard for any scams that pop up.


  1. Phishing scams – Thieves try to trick you by sending phony emails or messages that appear to come from reputable sources (banks, charities, etc.) The message tries to alarm you by suggesting that your account is compromised or closed, unless you respond. The message typically contains a link to a webpage or a request to call a toll-free number. There, you’re tricked into revealing financial or other sensitive information on a realistic (but fake) webpage or to a “representative”.
  2. Malicious software – Opening email attachments or clicking on a pop-up window may secretly plant harmful software on your computer that can let a thief collect your passwords or account numbers.
  3. Data breaches – Identity thieves may break into insurance, hospital, government, and other databases to steal the personal information of thousands.
  4. Oversharing – Social media can be a good thing. It’s a way to connect with friends and family. But, unfortunately, it makes it way too easy to share personal information and thieves can sometimes find that information and use it to help steal your identity.


Ways to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft & Fraud

Now that you know how people attempt to steal your identity, it’s crucial to know how you can defend you and your information.


  • Don’t access financial information or shop online using public wifi/unsecured networks.

When logged-in to public wifi, hackers have the ability to gather data. It’s almost like they are looking over your shoulder to access your information. Instead, you should use secure networks and apps to check your personal finances.


  • Don’t give out your social security number or any financial information to people calling, emailing, or texting you.

Like we mentioned earlier, thieves try to gather your financial information from you by pretending to be a charity, bank, or debt collector. As a rule of thumb, never provide your financial information to anyone who contacts you. Organizations and institutions that you’re already affiliated with, would already have most of your private information (i.e. birth date, address, etc.). You can research the companies online to get the real phone number – or find out if it’s a scam by typing in the business name along with words like: complaints, review, scams, etc.


  • Access your credit report regularly.

Make sure to check each of your credit reports at least yearly. This is to ensure all the data is accurate and no one has opened up accounts under your name. If possible, pull one report every four months so that you’re looking at your reports throughout the year. If you notice a problem, make sure to dispute it with the lender and the bureau.


You can get your Experian, Transunion, and Equifax credit reports for free at


  • Avoid clicking unsolicited links in your email to avoid malware, computer viruses, or hackers gathering your data.

It can be difficult to avoid clicking on links in emails – especially ones from friends, or emails that appear to come from your bank asking you to reset your password for security purposes. To protect yourself, it’s always best to search on Google to find the same site – instead of clicking on a hyperlink that might misdirect you somewhere else. Even if you roll over the link with your mouse – and the destination URL looks legitimate – it’s safer for the content yourself. It may take a few seconds longer, but it is safer.


  • Create strong passwords and change regularly.

It’s easy to get into a habit of using the same passwords on every website, but this strategy can get you into trouble if one of those sites gets breaches – or you accidentally use that password on an unsecured network. It’s always best to use unique, strong passwords (using numbers, symbols, uppercase and lowercase letters).


In a world that grows more interconnected every day, the threat of identity theft is an ever-present threat. By staying vigilant, following the tips outlined in this blog, and maintaining a watchful eye on your digital presence; you can ensure that your financial future remains free from the haunting grasp of identity thieves. This Halloween, as you celebrate the spooky and the supernatural, let it be a reminder that with knowledge and proactive measures, you hold the power to keep your finances safe from the clutches of those who seek to steal your identity. So go forth with confidence, protect your online identity, and enjoy a Halloween season filled with treats, not tricks. 


If you are suspicious about a phone call, text, or email regarding your Legacy account, please do not reply. Hang up and call Legacy at (205) 930-5000 or send us an email at [email protected].

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