What does Identity Protection mean to me?
Protecting your identity and your personal information is crucial. An identity thief can obtain a piece of your sensitive information, whether hard copy or online and use it without your knowledge to commit fraud or theft.
What do they typically steal?
- Account Information
- Debit and Credit Card Numbers
- Your Income
- Social Security Numbers
- Your name, Address, and Phone Numbers
Identity Theft is the fastest growing crime in America affecting, on average, a new victim every 2 seconds!
People whose identity has been stolen can spend months or years and their hard-earned money cleaning up the mess.
Identity theft can result in lost job opportunities, being refused loans for housing, cars, credit cards and education or even being arrested for crimes they did not commit.
How to help Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
- Review your credit report from the three credit bureaus annually.
- Place passwords on your credit card, bank, and phone accounts.
- When asked for mother’s maiden name-use a password instead.
- Don’t give out personal information on the phone, through mail, or over the Internet unless you’ve initiated the contact or are sure you know who you’re dealing with.
- Guard your mail and trash from theft.
- Place outgoing mail in a post office collection box.
- Remove mail from your mailbox promptly.
- Stop your mail if you’re going to be away from home.
- Be conscious of when you normally receive routine financial statements.
- Set up electronic statements.
- Contact the sender if they are not received in the mail.
- Before revealing information, ask how it will be used and secured, and if it will be shared with others.
- Keep your Social Security number in a secure place and only give out your number when absolutely necessary.
- Limit the identification and the number of credit and debit cards that you carry to what you actually need.
- Cancel cards that you don’t use and maintain a list of the ones you do.
- Keep your purse or wallet in a safe place at work.
- Secure personal information in your home.
- Shred all critical information.
- Keep track of your paperwork. Never leave receipts lying around. Destroy what you no longer need.
- Memorize your Social Security number and all your passwords.
Credit and Debit Cards
- Sign all new credit/debit cards upon receipt.
- Save all card receipts and match them against your monthly bills.
- Notify card companies and financial institutions of any change of address or phone number.
- Never loan out your cards.
- If you applied for a new card and it has not arrived in a timely manner, call the financial institution or credit card company.
- Report lost or stolen cards immediately.
- Closely monitor expiration dates on cards. Contact them if replacement cards are not received prior to the expiration dates.
- Be aware of solicitations disguised as promotions.
How to Report Identity Theft
If you suspect that your personal information has been used to commit fraud or theft, take the following steps right away.
Be sure to:
- Follow up all calls in writing
- Send your letters by certified mail, return receipt requested
- Document what the company received and when
- Keep copies in your files
- Place a fraud alert on your credit reports and review your credit reports. As soon as the credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the other two credit bureaus will automatically be notified to place fraud alerts on your credit report, and all three reports will be sent to you free of charge.
Equifax —To report fraud, call: 800-525-6285, and write: PO Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
Experian —To report fraud, call: 888-397-3742, and write: PO Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013
TransUnion —To report fraud, call: 800-680-7289, and write: Fraud Victim Assistance Division, PO Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
Once you receive your reports, review them carefully.
What to look for:
- Inquiries you didn’t initiate
- Accounts you didn’t open
- Unexplained debts on existing accounts
- That your SSN, address(es), name or initial, and employers are correct.
- Alert the Credit Union to note your accounts and contact you to confirm any unusual activity. Request a change of PIN.
- Close any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
- File a police report with your local police or police in the community where the identity theft took place.
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.