Keeping your identity to yourself is important. According to the Federal Trade Commission, Identity theft, "occurs when someone uses your personally identifying information, like your name, Social Security number or credit card number, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes." REMEMBER: Your Credit Union, will never call and ask for personal information such as your social security or credit card number. We take care to keep your information safe and would NEVER ask you to verify your identity using such sensitive information.
Simple Things You Can Do to Protect Yourself:
- Shred, Shred, Shred – buy an inexpensive shredder for your home and shred anything that has identifying information on it.
- Don't Leave Documents Lying Around – Credit Card Applications, Credit Union/Bank statements, birth certificates, drivers license…any document with sensitive information should be kept out of site. They even suggest having a locking file cabinet. Sadly, it is not uncommon for family and friends to commit identity theft.
- Computer Safe- Make sure your computer is password protected and that you have a current anti-virus installed. The internet is a constantly open door for scammers; a password and anti-virus work to keep your information safe at all times.
- Phone, Email and Text Safety - Never send sensitive information such as your Social Security number, credit card number or bank account numbers in an email or text message. Do not open links or attachments from unrecognized email sources. If you receive a phone call, verify their information just like they might verify yours.
- Online Shopping- Be sure to use a secure internet connection when using your credit card information to make purchases online or even to access sites like Amazon.com or Ebay that may already have your information stored. Check the internet address, if there is a "https" that is a great indicator the connection is secure.
- Awareness- Read the list of common scams below and keep an eye on your local news to be updated on scams happening in your communities.
- *More helpful information about protecting your identity can be found at www.experian.com.
Most Common Scams:
In the age of technology scammers have too many opportunities to take advantage of innocent people. Provided below is information on some common scams and tips on how to protect yourself.
- Use ATMs from institutions you know and trust.
- If the part of the ATM where you insert your card is tampered with at all, do not feed your card. There could possibly be a device hidden that could collect your data.
- Do not respond to URGENT texts or emails from someone requesting personal information. Financial institutions and large corporate employers will not ask you for this information.
- If you receive an urgent message call the institution and verify the claims. Most likely it is a scam.
- Keep your security software updated at all times.
- Never allow access to your computer to someone calling you. Be sure to verify their information before you move forward with computer fixes etc.
Victims - How To React:
- Notify your financial institutions or credit card companies. They should take it from there securing your information and accounts. Lost or Stolen Card Information.
- File a police report and if possible obtain a hard copy for your records.
- Have your computer cleaned by a professional and change every password you can think of –not just financial institutions and bill paying site but shopping logins as well.
- Initiate a 90 day fraud alert with credit bureaus. This will serve as added security in case the scammer tries to use your information at a later date. To place a fraud alert call any one of the three following major credit bureaus. Each of them can also provide you with a free credit report which is required by law annually.
- Equifax: 1-888-766-0008
- Experian: 1-888-397-3742
- Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289