Fraud can come in many forms. It is important as a consumer to protect yourself to avoid becoming a victim. One of the most common types of fraud attempts is to steal your identity. Identity theft starts with the misuse of your personally identifiable information such as your name and Social Security number, credit card numbers, or other financial account information. For identity thieves, this information is priceless.
There are many ways to try and steal this information, which include but are not limited to the following:
- Dumpster Diving. Rummaging through trash looking for bills or other documents containing your personal information.
- Skimming. Stealing credit/debit card numbers by using a special information collection/storage device when processing your card information.
- Phishing. Acquiring information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity usually via email. The email often instructs users to enter details at a fake website that looks and feels like they are on the legitimate website. Communications purporting to be from popular social web sites, auction sites, online payment processors or IT administrators are commonly used to lure the unsuspecting public. To view samples, click here.
- Mail Theft. Stealing your mail from your mailbox hoping to find bank statements or payroll/social security checks mailed to your home.
FIGHT BACK AGAINST IDENTITY THEFT
DETER identity theft by safeguarding information
- Be careful of how you disclose private information, such as displaying your Social Security Number on checks.
- Shred documents such as credit cards, insurance & other financial statements before discarding.
DETECT suspicious activity by monitoring accounts
DEFEND against identity theft as soon as you suspect a problem
- Follow reporting procedures shown below to speed your recovery.
Unauthorized Access to Your Personal/Private Information
If you know or suspect that an unauthorized party has your personal/private information, such as information relating to or which can be used to access your financial accounts, funds or assets, such as your bank, credit card, debit card, or investment account numbers or statements or any passwords or security codes, then you should take the following actions.
Notify the financial institution/company immediately.
Be vigilant over the next 24 months and promptly report to your financial institution/company any incidents of suspected identity theft.
Review your account statements and immediately report to your financial institution/company any suspicious activity or unauthorized transactions.
Consider placing a fraud alert on your consumer/credit report by contacting one of the three nationwide credit bureaus/reporting agencies: Equifax, 1-800-685-1111, www.equifax.com; Experian, 1-888-397-3742, www.experian.com; TransUnion, 1-888-909-8872, www.transunion.com. You only need to contact one of the credit bureaus, as each of them are required to notify the others. A fraud alert is free and can help notify your creditors and also make it harder for an identity thief to open accounts in your name.
Consider filing a police report.
Periodically obtain credit reports from each of the three nationwide credit bureaus/reporting agencies and have information relating to any fraudulent transactions deleted. You may obtain credit reports free of charge (once every 12 months, upon request) from www.annualcreditreport.com, or by calling 1-877-322-8228, or by completing an Annual Credit Report Request Form and mailing it to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, Georgia 30348-5281.
For information on what additional steps you can take to protect yourself against identity theft please visit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website at www.identitytheft.gov. Report incidents of identity theft to the FTC at www.identitytheft.gov or by calling 1-877-438-4338.
To report a phising and/or fraud attempt, contact us