Be aware and know how to spot threats to your personal information and identity.
More than 50 percent of all identity theft is discovered by the victim. Early detection minimizes the financial consequences to you and your credit. Protect yourself against fraud and identity theft by recognizing these signs of suspicious activity:
Regular bills or statements that do not arrive by mail as expected
Charges from unknown vendors or unexpected charges on your account
Checks that post to your account significantly out of sequence
Credit cards or new accounts on your credit report that you did not apply for
Unexplained instances of being denied credit or receiving less favorable credit terms
Calls from creditors or debt collectors about merchandise or services you did not purchase
Prevent fraud and identity theft by taking these steps to reduce your risk:
Your Social Security number
Be selective about providing your Social Security number. Do not offer it unless you have initiated the contact and confirmed the recipient's identity.
Do not write your Social Security number on a check, etc. unless required by law.
Do not use any part of your Social Security number as a Personal Identification Number (PIN) or password.
Do not carry your Social Security card in your wallet.
When disclosing your Social Security number, be cautious of your surroundings so as not to be overheard.
Switch to electronic statements to reduce the volume of mail and paper you receive. This will also give thieves less opportunity to steal your personal information from your mailbox.
Opt for direct deposit whenever possible to eliminate the need for paper checks.
Secure your computer
Safeguard your home computer with anti-spyware and anti-virus software to prevent thieves from electronically stealing your personal information.
Install a firewall to prevent unauthorized users from seeing confidential transfers of personal information, or gaining access to your computer.
Keep your operating system and software current by installing updates immediately.
Guard against credit card fraud
Sign the signature panel on your credit and debit cards as soon as you receive them.
Forgo paper statements; view and pay your bills online.
Save your receipts and verify charges to your billing or account statements each month. Report unauthorized transactions immediately. Once you have reconciled your billing statements, shred up all receipts.
Maintain a list of all card account numbers and telephone numbers. Keep this information in a separate, secure location, in case your cards become lost or stolen.
Never provide account information to anyone, unless you have initiated the call or transaction.
Safe use of ATMs
Use ATMs with surveillance cameras.
Stay alert! When using an ATM in an enclosed area, securely close the entry door behind you. Other authorized customers will be able to gain their own access to the area. Do not open the door to strangers.
Stash your cash and card before you exit the ATM area.
Cover the ATM keypad with your hand or body while entering your PIN.
If your identity is stolen:
Contact LGFCU immediately to close all affected accounts.
Contact the three major credit bureaus to issue a fraud alert on your credit file:
After a fraud alert has been activated, creditors will contact you before new accounts are opened in your name. Once one credit bureau confirms the fraud alert, the other two will be notified automatically. Then you will receive free credit reports from each of the three credit bureaus. Your credit report can also help you identify unauthorized activity.
Close all other accounts that you suspect or know have been compromised.
File a police report and retain a copy to send to creditors and others who require proof of the identity theft.