Protect Your ID
YOU CAN PROTECT YOURSELF BY TAKING THESE BASIC PRECAUTIONS:
- Shred or tear up credit card & ATM charge receipts, credit card solicitations & bills, cancelled checks, account statements, expired cards & similar documents.
- Outgoing mail should be deposited at the post office rather than the mailbox, and incoming mail should be promptly removed to avoid thieves from gaining access to your personal information, especially in rural areas.
- Review your monthly bank & credit card statements promptly and carefully for any unauthorized activity. Report anything suspicious immediately. With the age of electronic transactions, fraudulent activity can easily slip by.
- Do not put the complete credit card account number on the memo of your checks when paying your bill. Instead, write only the last 4 numbers. This is all the information necessary for your payment to be applied correctly, and limits the information to those who might abuse it.
- Never give your personal information over the telephone! Be especially cautious of anyone posing as a law enforcement individual, bank representative, or someone from “prize headquarters”. A good rule of thumb is to never give information to anyone if you did not instigate the telephone call. Once a crook has access to your account number, they can create and issue drafts with your account number to steal funds directly from your account. Never “verify” your account number or social security number over the telephone or Internet.
- Avoid sending sensitive information such as account information via unsecured e-mail. Passwords and PINs should be used when accessing an online account. Use up-to-date virus protection & access controls regularly.
- Guard your social security number. Never carry it in your wallet, and avoid having it printed on your checks.
- Protect your password & PIN. Never lend them to anyone even if it’s someone you trust, they may be careless and leave it in plain view for a scam artist. Be mindful around the ATMs for “shoulder surfers”, persons watching to steal your PIN to gain access to your account(s).
- Question credit card denials that you receive for no apparent reason.
- Periodically check your credit report to see if there are any credit cards and or loans in your name that you didn’t generate. A free credit report is available at www.annualcreditreport.com.
Phishing is an attempt to steal confidential information from consumers via the computer, through the use of "pop-ups" or emails. These emails have Internet links to deceive you into disclosing sensitive information such as bank account numbers and social security numbers. Oftentimes the email appears as if it comes from a trusted source and unknowingly directs you to a "spoof" website that encourages you to divulge sensitive personal information.
Skimmers are devices used to read the magnetic strip from your credit card or check card. They are often hidden in places where you legitimately use your card to make a transaction like an ATM or a restaurant. Your information is typically used within 24 hours of the skim to make online purchases.
If you think you are a Victim of fraud or identity theft, take action immediately. Click here for a step-by-step worksheet to assist you in protecting yourself NOW.
See our Fraud Worksheet for more information.