Identify Theft

Identify Theft
Identity theft is the theft of important information about you, like your:
  • Name
  • Address
  • Social Security #
  • Date of birth
  • Mother's maiden name
Use of this information enables criminals to take over your financial accounts, open new accounts, apply for credit cards or loans, social security benefits and use rental services. Identity thieves spend as much money as possible before the victim realizes there is a problem.

Protect Yourself
  • Don't give out personal information.
  • Shred any documents or credit cards that you discard of.
  • Keep track of your purse or wallet.
  • Retrieve your mail from your mailbox promptly.
Phishing
"Phishing" emails (pronounced "fishing") are fraudulent emails sent by identity thieves in an attempt to collect your personal information. These emails look authentic and appear to come from legitimate companies you may do business with. The good news is that you have the power to protect yourself!
  • Never provide personal & financial information over the phone or Internet if you did not initiate the contact
  • Never click on a link or provide information if an email looks at all suspicious to you
  • Do not be intimidated by an email or caller who suggests dire consequences if you do not provide or verify information
  • Don't trust an email just because it looks legitimate; images and logos can be forged 
The "Account Manager" Scam
An email or web advertisement offering you to "work at home" by being an "account manager" or "money transfer agent" and earn "commissions". They transfer money OUT of an unsuspecting person's account and into yours. Once the money is in your account, they ask you to send the money to them via Western Union. The lure is that they allow you to keep a percentage of the money. You have no idea where the money is coming from, where it's going to or the purpose it's being used for.

Online "Shoppers"
You list an item on an online auction and are contacted by a potential buyer from Nigeria or Africa. Once a deal is reached, they send you a cashier's check to pay for the item. The check is written for a considerable amount in excess of the price. You are to deposit the check and wire the excess funds back to the buyer. Within a week, the credit union is notified that the check is a worthless counterfeit and you are out a large sum of money.

Foreign Lottery
You receive an unsolicited letter, email or fax indicating that you've won the lottery in a foreign country. In order to receive your "prize", you must first remit a "contest fee". Needless to say, once the "fees" were remitted, the "prize" never arrives. What makes this worse is that, in some cases, victims may have given out personal or financial information in the process. 

What To Do if You Fall Victim
  • Alert your financial institution immediately
  • If you have disclosed sensitive information, contact the major credit bureaus and place a fraud alert on your file
  • to prevent new accounts from being opened in your name
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, or call their hotline at 1-877-IDTHEFT
  • Monitor your accounts and credit report closely