Safety & SECURITY
It is important to learn about ID Theft and Fraud to help you prevent and protect your financial and personal identity.
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information such as name, social security number, driver’s license number, or credit card number without your knowledge to commit fraud or other crimes. Stealing an identity is, unfortunately, somewhat easy to do and happens when you least expect it. Be on your guard, the effect of identity theft can be costly to you in terms of time and money as well as have a negative impact on your credit report.
The use of your personal information can have a serious impact on your personal and financial life. Potential damage that can occur includes:
- Damaged credit record
- Loss of job opportunities
- Refused loans for education, housing or cars
- Large amount of time and money to clear your name and regain your identity
Identity theft can happen to anyone. ID thieves do not choose their victims based on age, sex or race. It is very easy to become a victim of identity theft if you:
- Don't take precautions with your personal information and who you give it to
- Are careless about using your ATM, credit cards and leaving receipts behind
- Throw away financial documents such as bank statements without shredding them first.
How to Prevent Identity Theft
The following steps are a good start to protecting your identity:
- Sign up for e-Statements to reduce mail fraud
- Don't give out personal information when asked over the phone or through email
- Protect your personal information (PIN numbers, birth certificates, passports, financial statements, etc.) in a secure place at home
- Shred documents with personal information including credit card offers that come through the mail
- Protect your social security number
- Instead of having checks mailed to your home, pick them up at the credit union
- Mail bills from locked mailbox or Post Office as your check and information can be stolen from an open mailbox
- Be on the lookout for those peaking over your shoulder when entering your PIN at ATM's and store checkouts
- Use electronic deposit for paychecks, and other payments
- In a safe place, keep a list of credit/share draft account numbers, expiration dates, and phone numbers to report theft
- Look out for suspicious or unknown activity
When protecting yourself from identity theft, it is important to be alert. By routinely checking your account and billing statements, you can be aware of any suspicious or unusual activity.
A few signs of suspicious activity include:
- Fraudulent charges on your monthly credit card or financial statements
- Not receiving your statements as usual or any mail for several days
- Receiving bills from unknown companies you did not open accounts with
- Credit collection agencies call regarding debts you do not have
What To Do if You Become a Victim
If you believe you have become a victim of identity theft, it is important to act quickly.
First, contact the fraud department from one of the three credit bureaus. Ask them to place a fraud alert on your accounts. It is also important to get a free copy of your credit report to see if and how many fraudulent accounts were opened in your name. If there are any opened, close them immediately.
Order Report: 888-397-3742
Fraud Unit: 888-397-3742
Order Report: 800-888-4213
Fraud Unit: 800-680-7289
Order Report: 800-685-1111
Fraud Unit: 800-525-6285
Next, file a police report and get a copy of the report for your records. This will help you get information from the creditors about the fraudulent accounts.
From there, close all the accounts opened or used fraudulently by contacting the company's fraud department. It is also important to follow up in writing and send copies of the documents that support your claim including the police report. Remember to send copies and not originals of the documents.
Once you have resolved a disputed charge, it is important to ask for a letter stating that the matter has been closed. Remember to keep all copies and originals of your documents and correspondence with companies where accounts were opened or used fraudulently.
Finally, file a complaint with the FTC (www.ftc.gov/idtheft) or 1-877-ID-THEFT. This will help law enforcement officials across the country with their investigations. In addition, the FTC provides counselors to help you through this difficult time.
What is Phishing?
"Phishing" is a method of fraudulently acquiring personal information using e-mail and pop-up windows disguised as legitimate requests from trusted sources such as credit unions, banks and even government offices.
The sender of these communications may include a company’s logo or tagline along with a message of urgency regarding a problem with an account or a need to validate personal information. The sender uses these methods in an attempt to fraudulently acquire passwords, account numbers, credit card details and other personal information.
The scam may go as far as "spoofing" or creating a false website to further gain the recipient’s trust. These scams also use automated phone calls in an attempt to gather personal information (sometimes called "vishing").
How to Prevent Phishing
Consider these tips while conducting online activities:
- People’s Trust Federal Credit Union does not and will never request personal financial information via e-mail or pop-up boxes. If you receive any suspicious e-mail regarding People’s Trust Federal Credit Union, please forward the e-mail in its entirety to firstname.lastname@example.org. Do not provide any information to any unknown source.
- Be suspicious of any unsolicited e-mail requesting personal financial information. These requests may ask for usernames and passwords, PINS, CVV and CV2 codes from the back of your credit and debit cards, social security numbers, account numbers, etc. Never provide this information unless you are using a known secured website or calling directly over the telephone.
- Do not use the links provided in suspicious e-mails. Rather, contact the company directly using phone numbers and websites provided via official statements or other documentation.
- When conducting online transactions, always ensure you are using a secure website. Your browser’s address bar should include "https://" in front of the web address.
- Consider the use of pop-up blockers and firewalls to protect your computer from unsolicited messages and uninvited software installations.
- Ensure that your internet browser and any security software are up to date by checking with their manufacturers.
Reviewing your financial institution monthly statements and credit card statements regularly will help to keep you informed of any unauthorized account activity. You should also log in to any online accounts periodically between statement cycles to correct issues as soon as possible.
What To Do if You Become a Victim
If you have been a victim of "phishing", take immediate steps to minimize the effects on your personal accounts and your identity:
- Report the theft to the three major credit reporting agencies:
- Request that they place a fraud alert and a victim’s statement in your file
- Request a FREE copy of your credit report to check whether any accounts were opened without your consent
- Request that the agencies remove inquiries and/or fraudulent accounts stemming from the theft
- Report the activity to your credit card, debit card or ATM card issuer. Many issuers provide toll-free numbers and are available 24 hours a day.
- Report the incident to your local police department
- Close your existing deposit and checking accounts and reopen them with new account numbers
- Obtain copies of your latest statements and carefully review them for any unauthorized activity. If you have online access to these accounts, you may be able to obtain activity not listed on your accounts.
- Update or install virus protection software on your PC and run a full scan
- Update or install a firewall to avoid any unwanted software installations
- Contact the Social Security Administration’s Fraud Hotline to report the unauthorized use of your personal identification information
- Notify the Department of Motor Vehicles of your identity theft: Check to see whether any unauthorized license numbers have been issued in your name
- Notify the passport office to watch out for anyone ordering a passport in your name