Protect Yo'self Before They Wreck Yo'self!

Keeping track of all personal information can be so overwhelming!  But, monitoring your personal information to uncover any problems quickly can help protect you against identity theft.

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal identifying information without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes.  In The crime takes many forms, such as renting an apartment, obtaining a credit card, or establishing a telephone account in your name.  You may not discover the theft until reviewing your credit report or a credit card statement, or worse, until you're contacted by a debt collector.

Some consumers who fall victim to identity theft may lose out on job opportunities; be denied loans for education, housing, or cars.  In worst case scenarios, victims may even be arrested for crimes they did not commit.

Identity theft typically begins with misusing information such as your name, Social Security number, credit card numbers, or other financial account information.  More skilled thieves perform other methods to get your information:

1.  Dumpster diving: rummaging through trash searching for bills or other paper with your personal
     information on it.
2.  Skimming: stealing credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when 
     processing your card.
3.  Phishing: pretending to be financial institutions or companies and send spam or pop-up 
     messages to get you to reveal your personal information.
4.  Changing your address: diverting your billing statements to another location by completing a 
     change of address form.
5.  Old-fashioned stealing: stealing wallets, purses, or mail, including bank and credit card
      personnel records; or bribe employees who have access.
6.  Pretexting: using false pretenses to obtain your personal information from financial institutions,
     telephone companies, and other sources.

The best ways to protect yourself from identity theft are monitoring your accounts and bank statements each month and checking your credit report on a regular basis.  If your identity has been stolen, there are a few tasks to be done.  Filing a police report, checking your credit reports, notifying creditors, and disputing any unauthorized transactions are some of the steps you must take immediately to restore any damage done.  A police report that provides specific details of the identity theft is considered an Identity Theft Report, which gives you certain legal rights when it is provided to the three major credit reporting agencies or to companies where the thief misused your information.

Legal rights that can be received through an Identity Theft Report:

  • Permanently blocking fraudulent information, such as accounts or addresses, from appearing on your credit report.
  • Making sure fraudulent debts do not reappear on your credit reports.
  • Preventing a company from continuing to collect any fraudulent debts, or selling them to others for collection.
  • Also necessary to place an extended fraud alert on your credit report.

In order for a police report to entitle you to any of those legal rights, it must contain specific details about the identity theft.  You should file an ID Theft Complaint with the FTC and bring this printed complaint to the police station when you file your police report.  (A police report is also necessary to get copies of the thief's application, as well as transaction information from companies that dealt with the thief.)

The length of time that the effects of identity theft may linger depends upon the type of theft, whether the thief sold or passed your information on to other thieves, whether the thief is caught, and problems related to correcting your credit report.  Victims should monitor financial records for several months after they discover the crime; and review their credit reports once every three months in the first year of the theft, and once a year thereafter.

All information on this page and much more can be found here.

 

Member Alert!

We want to remind you that no one from your credit union or any of our partners will ever contact you requesting your personal and confidential information.  If you receive any e-mails that appear to be from the credit union requesting this information, please contact us immediately at: (304) 722-2274,
(877) 888-9510, or email Chaz Ervin.

Sacemers use caller ID-spoofing technology so please do not rely solely on caller ID when verifying the identity of a caller.  If anyone contacts you and requests information, such as your account number, pin number, or mother's maiden name, hang up the phone!  If you receive an e-mail message requesting any of the same type of information, do NOT respond and do NOT click on any links within the message.  We would never require you to give us that information and you are under no obligation to give it to anyone else; no matter what business or organization they represent. 

Always remember if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is!

Free annual credit report

www.annualcreditreport.com
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA  30348-5281
877-322-8228

Three major credit bureaus:

Equifax - www.equifax.com
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA  30374-0241
800-685-1111

Experian - www.experian.com
P.O. Box 2104
Allen, TX  75013
888-Experian (888-397-3742)

TransUnion - www.transunion.com
P.O. Box 1000
Chester, PA  19022
800-916-8800

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