Protecting Yourself From Fraud
Identity theft is a serious crime. People whose identities have been stolen spend time and money cleaning up the mess thieves have made of their good name and credit.
Thieves can attempt to:
- Steal your wallet or purse.
- Provide a “change your address” to divert your mail to another location.
- Steal your personal information through email or the phone by saying they're from a legitimate company and claiming that you have a problem with your account. This practice is known as "phishing."
- Steal your credit or debit card numbers by capturing the information in a data storage device in a practice known as "skimming." They may swipe your card for an actual purchase, or attach a device to an ATM machine where they may enter or swipe your card.
- Access your credit reports by abusing the authorized access that was granted to their employer, or by posing as a landlord, employer, or someone else who may have a legal right to your report.
- Rummage through your trash, the trash of businesses, or public trash dumps.
- Steal your mail, including bank and credit card statements, credit card offers, new checks, and tax information.
- Check your credit reports regularly for new credit accounts in your name. If you have lost any personal information - or if it has been stolen - you may want to check all your reports more frequently for the first year
- Monitor the balances of your financial accounts. Look for unexplained charges or withdrawals
- If you fail to receive bills or other mail. This could mean an identity thief has submitted a change of address.
- Receive credit cards for which you did not apply.
- Denial of credit for no apparent reason.
- Receive calls from debt collectors or companies about merchandise or services you didn't buy.
If your personal information or identification becomes lost or stolen, you can minimize the potential for identity theft if you act quickly.
- Financial accounts: Close accounts, like credit card and bank accounts, immediately. When you open new accounts, place passwords on them.
- Social Security number: Place a fraud alert on your credit reports, and review your credit reports. Fraud alerts can help prevent an identity thief from opening any more accounts in your name.
- Driver's license/other government-issued identification: Contact the agency that issued the license or other identification document. Follow its procedures to cancel the document and to get a replacement. Ask the agency to flag your file so that no one else can get a license or any other identification document from them in your name.
- Don't give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or on the internet unless you've initiated the contact or are sure you know who you're dealing with.
- Treat your mail and trash carefully. Deposit your outgoing mail in post office collection boxes or at your local post office, rather than in an unsecured mailbox. Promptly remove mail from your mailbox. Stop your mail if you plan to be away from home for an extended period of time.
- Deter a thief who may pick through your trash or recycling bins to capture your personal information, tear or shred your charge receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, checks and bank statements, expired credit or charge cards that you're discarding, and credit offers you get in the mail.
- Opt out of receiving offers of credit in the mail that are based on your credit report, call: 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688). The nationwide consumer reporting companies use the same toll-free number to let you opt out of receiving credit offers based on their lists. Note: You will be asked to provide your SSN, which the consumer reporting companies need to match you with your file.
- Don't carry your SSN card in your wallet; store it in a secure place.
- Give your SSN only when absolutely necessary, and ask to use other types of identity. If your state uses your SSN as your driver's license number, ask to substitute another number. Do the same if your health insurance company uses your SSN as your policy number.
- Carry only the identification information and the credit and debit cards that you'll actually need when you go out. If your wallet is stolen - or if you lose it - report it immediately to the card issuers and the local police.
- Be cautious when responding to promotions. Identity thieves may create phony promotional offers to get you to give them your personal information.
- Keep your purse or wallet in a safe place at work; do the same with copies of administrative forms that have your sensitive personal information.
- When ordering new checks; pick them up from the bank instead of having them mailed to your home
- Avoid using the same password for multiple online accounts.
- Update your Online Banking password regularly. Changing your password once a month is a good habit to start.
- Don't open links in emails; links should be copied and pasted into an internet window.
- Install a firewall. A firewall protects your computer from hackers and intruders.
- Use anti-virus software. Anti-virus software can protect your computer against most viruses. Viruses destroy stored information and interrupt operations.
- Use anti-spyware software. Spyware is software that gathers information electronically about people without their knowledge or consent. It then relays that information to an unauthorized third party.
- Take advantage of security updates. Your Internet service provider and your Internet browser manufacturer (e.g. Microsoft) periodically issue security updates. These updates patch holes that allow viruses to get through. If you don't have or don't use auto-update mechanisms in your software, visit the manufacturers' websites regularly to make sure you have the latest fixes.
- Do not store your password in an insecure place. In your wallet, in a file, in your dresser ... these are all terrible places to keep your "secure" password. The most secure place to keep your password is in your head.
Vishing, is version of Phishing, utilizes phone calls instead of email to lure members into giving criminals their personal information.
We have heard that random phone calls, pretending to originate from Blue FCU, have been spreading around town asking the recipient to call a 1-800 number (usually hosted in Canada) and give personal information over the phone.
These calls are completely bogus and Blue FCU would never ask members and even non-members for information.
Additionally, you could:
- Opt out of receiving telemarketing calls at home from the National Do Not Call Registry.
- Use the secure registration form. https://www.donotcall.gov/
- Call toll-free: 1-888-382-222; TTY: 1-866-290-4236
If your information has been misused, file a report about the theft with the police, and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
Internet: Visit http://www.ftc.gov/
Phone: Call our toll-free helpline: 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357)
Write to: Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580