Protection Against Identity Theft


After a day at work, making dinner, washing dishes and folding laundry, I can finally sit down, relax and unwind for the day.   I put my feet up and grab my laptop.  I decide to quickly check my investment account to see how my portfolio is performing.  I go to the Legacy Trust website and enter my user ID and password, and anxiously wait for my account balance to appear.  Surely, I have gains with the recent rise in the market.   To my dismay, I must answer several security questions first.  If only I could remember how I answered the questions originally.   After numerous attempts, I eventually answer all five questions correctly.  I feel the excitement rising as I wait for my account balance to appear.  Again, to my dismay, there appears to be yet another step. I must now confirm the image and phrase displayed on the screen to match what I selected when I opened my account.   Once again, my eyes are glued to the screen waiting to see my balance, but no balance appears.  Instead I must re-enter my password for a second time.  FINALLY, after fifteen minutes or more I have successfully logged in.   So much for “quickly” and I am now more frustrated than excited.   Does this sound familiar?

I would guess most of you can identify with this lengthy and all too often frustrating process. Unfortunately, these layers of security are a necessary part of today’s technological world.   The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) estimates that as many as 11.5 million Americans have their identities stolen each year.  The total financial loss attributed to identity theft in 2013 was $21 billion.  Criminals are smarter and using more advanced technology to access your information.  The FFIEC (Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council) is fighting back with guidance focused on the risk management controls necessary to authenticate the identity of customers accessing Internet-based financial services.   This is known in the financial industry as “multi-factor authentication”.   It requires you the client and user to complete several steps in order to verify your identity before allowing access to your account.

Please remember the next time it takes you much longer than you feel it should to log in, it is a necessary step in today’s world.  Remember, the extra time and frustration far outweighs the alternative, the theft of your identity and compromise of personal information.