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Keeping your accounts safe from thieves starts with being proactive. This may sound simple, but detecting fraud early helps reduce threats to your personal information and your good credit.

How to detect account takeover fraud

Fraud occurs when someone uses your account information or credit card to make unauthorized purchases. Identity theft (ID theft) occurs when a thief uses your personal details to commit fraud or other crimes.

Protect yourself against fraud and identity theft by recognizing the signs of suspicious activity. Take note if bills that routinely arrive on time suddenly go missing. When checking your account statements, ensure there are no unexpected charges or charges from unknown vendors. Look to see if there are checks that post out of sequence.

In addition, make sure that when bills do arrive, they belong to accounts you recognize. Also take note of calls or letters from creditors or debt collectors about outstanding balances on accounts you didn’t open (or didn’t know existed). Unexplained instances of being denied credit or of receiving less favorable credit terms could mean someone else is trying to use your account information or identity.  

Review your credit report often to uncover early signs that something isn’t right with your credit accounts. You can get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies at Annual Credit Report, the official site operated by Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.

An ounce of prevention can go a long way toward reducing your chances of being a victim of fraud and identity theft. 

How to avoid being a victim of fraud

Try to stay ahead of thieves by reducing your risk of account fraud. Be cautious when sharing your personal details, like your credit card or Social Security number. Don’t offer either number unless you have initiated the contact and confirmed the recipient's identity. If you must share your card number by phone, be aware of your surroundings so as not to be overheard. Avoid using any part of your Social Security number as a Personal Identification Number (PIN) or password. Finally, leave your Social Security card at home instead of carrying it in your wallet.

Switch to electronic account statements to prevent thieves from stealing your personal data from the mailbox. Combine that effort with using Direct Deposit whenever possible to eliminate the need for paper paychecks.

As soon as you receive your LGFCU Visa® Credit Card or Visa Debit Card, sign the signature panel on the back. Merchants may want to match the card signature against the one on your receipt.

Keep your Social Security card and a list of your credit card numbers in a fire-resistant safe or a Credit Union safe deposit box.

What to do if you think you’re a victim of fraud

It’s important to act right away if you think your identity is stolen or your account is compromised.

  • First, contact the Credit Union at 888.732.8562.
  • Next, close affected accounts where possible.
  • Change online PINs and passwords to prevent thieves from doing further damage.
  • File a police report and keep a copy for creditors and others who require proof of the identity theft.

Credit Bureaus

If your account becomes compromised, contact one of the three major credit bureaus to add a fraud alert to your account.


After that, contact one of the three major credit bureaus (see contact details above) to add a fraud alert to your credit file. This step can be especially helpful if you're unsure how your account was compromised. Whichever credit bureau you contact will notify the other two of your request.

Once the credit bureaus activate the alerts, your creditors will contact you before opening any new accounts in your name. Be sure to file an identity theft complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Once on the FTC site you can find resources for making an identity theft recovery plan.

The advice provided is for informational purposes only.

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