ID Theft Protection
Steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft and pretext calling.
Identity theft is the fraudulent use of a person’s personal identifying information.
Identity thieves use another person’s personal information, such as a Social Security number, mother’s maiden name, date of birth, or account number to open fraudulent new credit card accounts, charge existing credit card accounts, open accounts, or obtain new loans.
They may obtain this information by:
- Stealing wallets that contain personal identification information and credit cards.
- Stealing bank statements from the mail.
- Diverting mail from its intended recipients by submitting a change of address form.
- Rummaging through trash for personal data.
- Stealing personal identification information from workplace records.
- Intercepting or otherwise obtaining information transmitted electronically.
Steps to Protect Your Privacy
Do not share personal information, such as account numbers or social security numbers, over the telephone, through the mail, or over the Internet, unless you initiated the contact or know with whom you are dealing.
Store personal information in a safe place and destroy old credit card receipts, ATM receipts, old account statements, and unused credit card offers before throwing them away.
Protect your PINs and other passwords. Avoid using easily available information such as your mother’s maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of your Social Security number, your phone number, as identity thieves can use this information to access your accounts.
Carry only the minimum amount of identifying information and number of credit cards that you need.
Pay attention to billing cycles and statements. Contact the bank if you do not receive a monthly loan bill or statement. It may mean that mail has been diverted by an identity thief.
Check account statements carefully to ensure all charges, purchases, and withdrawals were authorized.
Guard your mail from theft. If you have the type of mailbox with a flag to signal that the box contains mail, do not leave bill payment envelopes in your mailbox with the flag up. Instead, deposit them in a post office collection box or at the local post office. Promptly remove incoming mail.
Consumers are entitled to one free credit report from each credit reporting bureau annually. Go to https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/ to learn more.
If you suspect you are a victim of Identity Theft, you may file a report and obtain guidance from the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/