ID theft prevention
Identity theft is the fraudulent use of an individual’s personal identifying information to commit a financial crime like credit card, check, loan, or mortgage fraud. It has become the fastest-growing crime in our nation today.
In 2017, identity theft claimed 16.7 million victims with $16.8 billion stolen, an increase of 12 percent from 2016†. It happens easily because any identifying number you possess (SSN, credit card, DOB, driver’s license, etc.) can be used to unlock your funds for someone else to use. That said, we’ve listed some ways to help, as well as what to do if someone steals your identity.
†Source: Insurance Information Institute
To minimize your risk
- Shred all personal documents and unwanted mail. Destroy any unneeded financial documents such as bank statements or invoices before disposing of them.
- Report lost or stolen cards or checks immediately. Review new cards or checks to make sure none have been stolen in transit.
- Protect your SSN (Social Security Number), account numbers, and other personal information. Do not give out personal information unless you’re sure with whom you are dealing with. Do not put your Social Security Number on your checks.
- Be creative when selecting your PIN (Personal Identification Number). Don’t use birth dates, part of your Social Security number, address, or children’s or partner’s names. Memorize your PINs and don’t write them down for others to find.
- Review your monthly account statements as soon as you receive them. Investigate any suspicious transactions before fraud can occur. Be aware of billing cycles, and be sure to call us if you stop receiving your regular mailings.
- Protect your mailbox. If your residential mailbox is not secure, don’t put outgoing mail in the box. Drop it into a secure, official Postal Service collection box. Promptly pick up incoming mail or obtain a secure postal mailbox.
If your identity is stolen
Sometimes an identity thief can strike even if you’ve been very careful about protecting your personal information. If you suspect that your personal information has been stolen and used to commit fraud or theft, take action immediately to minimize the damage to your personal funds and financial accounts, as well as your reputation.
To assist you, we’ve created the following informational packet for you to download and use:
- Identity Theft Victim Checklist
- Identity Theft Care Worksheet
- Sample Follow up (Dispute) Letters
If you are the recipient of email phishes, please forward them to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can investigate them and take proper action. To help aid investigation, please do not change the subject line or edit the email in any way. You should delete the email immediately afterward. Do not respond to it or click on any of the links in the email message. If you clicked on a link or attachment, immediately scan your computer for malware.
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