Protecting yourself against identity theft
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal or financial information without your consent for their own
financial gain. For example, a fraudster may conduct a phishing scam where they disguise themselves as a
legitimate entity and request your personal information. This information could include your social security number,
date of birth, Digital Banking login credentials or credit/debit card information. These requests are often made
via text message, phone call or email. They can then use your information to make unauthorized purchases on
your account or even open new accounts in your name. Another tactic used by fraudsters is to impersonate
someone in authority such as the IRS, FBI, local police, a financial institution or computer security officer.
The common thread in these scenarios is that the fraudster is trying to get enough personal information about
the victim to impersonate them. Identity theft can have a drastic impact on you emotionally and financially so
it’s important to be cautious and keep your information safe.
How to protect yourself:
- Beware of any unsolicited phone calls, emails or text messages requesting your personal information. Keep in mind that reputable organizations will not contact you to request private information.
- Never pay anyone who calls you requesting a credit card or gift card.
- Don’t send cash or wire money to anyone who calls you.
- Carefully inspect your account statements and transaction activity. Securely store or shred any documents with account numbers or any financial information.
- Set up account alerts via Digital Banking to notify you of transactions on your account.
- Sign up for eStatements instead of receiving paper statements in the mail.
- Create strong passwords for all online accounts and keep them private. Use two-factor authentication when available. If a fraudster attempts to log in to one of your online accounts, they will not be able to proceed without the second verification step.
- Don’t provide personal information online while using public Wi-Fi.
- Request your credit report for free each year at AnnualCreditReport.com, and review for errors or suspicious activity.
What to do if you fall victim:
- Contact the Credit Union and any other financial institutions you do business with immediately and change your account passwords.
- Report the fraud or scam to the Federal Trade Commission. Visit IdentityTheft.gov or call 877.438.4338.
- Place a fraud alert on your credit report by contacting at least one of three credit bureaus. If you contact one agency, they will contact the other two. But, it doesn’t hurt to contact all three agencies yourself.