Banking Alerts and Tips
Along with all the convenience new technology gives us comes the threat of identity theft. If someone possesses your personal information, they could use that to commit fraud or ruin your credit. Here are some tips on how to prevent it, how to spot it, and what to do if you suspect it.
- Shred financial documents and paperwork before discarding them.
- Protect your social security number. Don’t carry your card with you.
- NEVER give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you are sure who you are dealing with.
- Never click on links in unsolicited emails. Use firewalls, anti-virus and anti-spyware to protect your computer.
- Don’t use an obvious password like your birth date, your mother’s maiden name, or the last few digits of your social security number.
- Keep your personal information in a secure place at home.
Watch out for these:
- Bills that don’t arrive when expected.
- Unexpected credit cards or account statements
- Denials of credit for no apparent reason
- Contacts about purchases you didn’t make
- Inspect your credit report. By law you are entitled to one copy of your credit report yearly. Visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1-877-322-8228 to order yours. The major credit bureaus have created this service just to provide these for you. You can also mail a request to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P O Box 105281
Atlanta GA 30348-5281
- Place a “Fraud Alert” on your credit reports, and review them carefully. This alert tells creditors to follow certain procedures before opening new accounts in your name or changing existing ones. Just call one of the following credit bureaus to place a 90-day alert.
Experian 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)
- Close any accounts that you suspect, and keep all paperwork.
- File a police report. This will help you with creditors who may want proof of the crime.
- Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission.
Your report helps investigations across the country.
Online: ID Theft
By phone: 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338) or TTY, 1-866-653-4261
By mail to: Identity Theft Clearinghouse
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20580