The information and links found on these pages can help you minimize your risk, help to prevent identity theft (ID theft), and help you should you become a victim. We encourage you to visit these links. The links offer a wealth of information. It’s important that you be very careful with your personal information and that you know what to do if you become a victim of ID theft.
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is the unlawful capture and/or use of another person’s identifiers (your name, address, Social Security number, financial institution or credit card account numbers, or other identifying information). The thief, impersonating you, uses your information without your knowledge to commit fraud or other crimes to gain financial benefit. Unfortunately, identity theft is a growing problem in this country. Victims number in the hundreds of thousands every year.
Protecting Your Identity
Please remember, FECCCU will not ask for your personal identification or financial information via email. If you receive any such email request, DO NOT click on any link or enter any information and notify us immediately at 906-632-4210 or 800-350-6760.
How Can I Avoid Identity Theft?
- Never give out personal information (Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden name, or financial account numbers) on the phone, through the mail, or on the Internet unless you’ve initiated the contact or you’re sure that you know you’re dealing with a legitimate organization. Confirm the contact by calling the company back using a phone number from a statement or from the telephone book (not a phone number the person who is calling gives you). You may check an organization’s website by typing its URL in the address line, rather than cutting and pasting it. Many companies post scam alerts when their name is used improperly.
- Before providing identifying information, especially your Social Security number, ask if the information is required. Also, ask if you can use other types of identifiers and only give your SSN when absolutely necessary.
- Remove your Social Security number from any identification you carry, such as checks, driver’s license, or health insurance card. Both your health insurance company and the Department of Motor Vehicles will give you a new number if you request it.
- Review your financial institution and credit card statements monthly for signs of suspicious activity. Immediately contact the company if an item looks suspicious.
- Limit what goes in and out of your mailbox. You can do this a number of ways. Sign-up for FECCCU Online Banking and e-statements. These secure sites can help you manage your account and will help guard your personal information by not using the mail.
- Know when your bills are due to arrive. If bills don’t arrive on time, they may have been diverted to a different address. For added security, instead of mailing your bills, pay them online safely by using our Bill Payment service.
- 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.
- Memorize all passwords and PIN numbers so no one can see them in writing. (When establishing PINs, avoid using your Mother’s maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of your Social Security number, your phone number, or a series of consecutive numbers.)
- Be cautious when responding to promotions. Identity thieves may create phony promotional offers to get you to give them your personal information.
- Be wary of anyone calling you to “confirm” personal or financial information. Often, these are criminals trying to obtain those facts under the disguise of “confirmation”.
- Be cautious about opening any attachment or downloading any files from emails you receive, regardless of who sent them. These files can contain viruses or other software that can weaken your computer’s security. If you receive an email or pop-up message that asks for personal or financial information, do not reply or click on any links in the message.
How Do I Know If I Am A Victim of Identity Theft?
If an identity thief is opening new credit accounts in your name, these accounts are likely to show up on your credit report. You can find out by ordering a copy of your credit report from the three consumer reporting companies. 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 accounts. Look for unexplained charges or withdrawals. Other indications of identity theft can be:
- Failing to receive bills or other mail. This could mean an identity thief has submitted a change of address.
- Receiving credit cards for which you did not apply.
- Denial of credit for no apparent reason.
- Receiving calls from debt collectors or companies about merchandise or services you didn’t buy.
What Should I Do If I Become A Victim?
Take action immediately to protect your good name and to prevent future fraud with your accounts and finances. Keep a log regarding the theft. The log should include the date, time, name, title, and telephone number of each person with whom you spoke, plus the substance of the telephone conversations and the address for correspondence. Follow each call with a letter confirming the conversation and any agreed-upon action. Send the correspondence by certified mail, return-receipt requested, and keep a file with copies of all your correspondence, the enclosures, and the return receipt.
- File a report with the police and keep a copy of the report in case you need proof of the crime later.
- Call one of the three major credit bureaus (numbers listed below) to tell them your identity has been stolen. Request that a “fraud alert” be placed on your file and that no new credit be granted without your approval. Be sure to request that each reporting agency sends you a copy of your credit report and check each report carefully for accounts, charges, inquiries, defaults, and delinquencies for which you’re not responsible. The credit bureau that you contact is responsible for contacting the other two bureaus.
- Equifax 800-525-6285
- Experian 888-397-3742
- TransUnion 800-680-7289
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). By sharing your identity theft complaint with the FTC, you will provide important information that can help law enforcement officials across the nation track down identity thieves and stop them. The FTC can refer victims’ complaints to other government agencies and companies for further action, as well as investigate companies for violations of laws the agency enforces. Theft Hotline 877-438-4338
- Call and speak with someone in the security or fraud department of each of your credit card companies and financial institutions. Credit card and debit card issuers should cancel their cards and provide a replacement with a new account number.