Tips on how to avoid the Internet scam known as phishing.
- If you receive an unexpected e-mail saying your account will be shut down unless you confirm your billing information, do not reply or click any links in the e-mail body.
- Before submitting financial information through a Web site, look for the "lock" icon on the browser's status bar. It means your information is secure during transmission.
- If you are uncertain about the information, contact the company through an address or telephone number you know to be genuine.
- If you unknowingly supplied personal or financial information, contact your bank and credit card company immediately.
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personally identifying information, like your name, Social Security number, or credit card number, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.
The FTC estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. In fact, you or someone you know may have experienced some form of identity theft.
Here are steps you can take now to stop thieves from stealing your good name:
|1.||Do not give out personal Information, such as account or credit card numbers, on the phone or over the Internet unless you have initiated the contact, Identity thieves could pose as credit union officials, Internet providers or credit card company representatives. Remember: If someone has a right to this information (such as your credit union) they should already have it...and shouldn’t need to request it over the phone!
|2.||Report lost or stolen checks immediately, and properly store cancelled checks. Examine new checks to be sure none were stolen during shipment, and store them in a safe and secure location.
|3.||Destroy unused financial solicitations before discarding them, and tear-up other financial documents such as statements or receipts before discarding them.
|4.||Guard your Automated Teller Machine (ATM) number, and treat your receipts with care. Leaving them behind or throwing them in the trash could leave them vulnerable to thieves, who could use them to access your accounts.
|5.||Make sure your mailbox is secure, and promptly remove mail when it has been delivered. Identity thieves often raid mailboxes to obtain credit card offers and financial statements.
|6.||Contact the major credit reporting companies at least annually to review your file. A copy of your credit report is available for a small fee.
|The three major credit bureaus are:
Detect suspicious activity by routinely monitoring your financial accounts and billing statements.
- Inspect your credit reports, financial statements and bills regularly for activity you did not authorize or expect
Defend against ID theft as soon as you suspect it.
- Place a “Fraud Alert” on your credit reports
- Close the affected accounts
- File a police report
- Report ID theft to the FTC
For more information, visit ftc.gov/idtheft