Identity theft is when someone steals your personal or financial information (like your name, address, credit card, credit union account numbers, Social Security number, or medical insurance account numbers) and uses it to commit fraud. Here are three ways to escape becoming victim of identity theft.
Your First Line of Defense
Important information like your credit union account and credit card statements, Social Security numbers, and passwords should never be shared and kept in a safe place that isn’t easy to access. Even if you handle most things online, there are times you’ll receive paper documents with sensitive information. If you need to dispose of these documents, use a paper shredder to make sure your information is destroyed properly.
Strengthen passwords, using a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and characters. Getting in the habit of changing your passwords often makes it harder for someone to guess your credentials. Add an extra layer of security by using multi-factor authentication to access accounts whenever available.
Rethink That Link
Organizations like financial institutions need your Social Security number to identify you, open accounts, and provide loans. However, they’ll never reach out and solicit this information from you.
If you receive an urgent email, text or even a phone call appearing to be from a legitimate company regarding your account or asking you to “update” or “verify” personal information – do not click any links or give out your information without verifying its legitimacy first. Never click links or call the number provided to you in the message. Always go to the organization’s website and use the information listed there to contact them.
Check Your Accounts Like You Check Social Media
Checking your financial accounts on a regular basis gives you a better chance of catching something out of the ordinary.
While you’re online scrolling through your feed or watching Tik Tok videos, take a moment and check your credit union accounts too! If you notice any unusual activity on your Peach State accounts, contact us immediately. Our mobile app makes it quick and easy to check your accounts.
Another good habit to get into is reviewing your credit report and checking for suspicious activities like any new accounts opened or credit inquiries as this may indicate identity fraud. If you notice something odd, you can place a freeze on your credit through the three major credit bureaus and set up activity alerts.
Contact each of the three major credit bureaus individually to freeze your credit:
Financial Security is Our Top Priority
At Peach State, your financial security is our number one priority. If you or a loved one falls victim to identity theft, follow these steps immediately.
- Report it to the Federal Trade Commission on ftc.gov immediately.
- Contact the fraud department at all your financial institutions and credit card accounts.
- File a police report with your local agency.
- Contact companies that issued your stolen credentials and where these credentials may have been used.
- Freeze or put an alert on your credit, and change your passwords.
Remember, neither Peach State nor our third-party vendors (i/e: Visa) will ever call, text, or email you asking to disclose account or other personal information.
If you believe you were contacted from someone pretending to be from Peach State or another legitimate agency, please contact us immediately at 855.889.4328, stop by your local branch, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more ways you can protect yourself and your loved ones from fraud, visit www.peachstatefcu.org/identity-theft-and-fraud-prevention.