Identity Theft Protection
The number of Americans who have experienced identity theft has surpassed 27 million, with the incidence rate increasing every year. Substantial measures are in place at People First to protect your identity and your accounts against theft and fraud.
Identity Theft Prevention Tips
The following are preventive measures you can take to avoid being a victim of identity theft:
- Invest in a document shredder, then shred documents with any personal or financial information.
- Never carry your social security number with you.
- Never give out personal information over the telephone or by e-mail, no matter who calls to solicit you or who they say they represent. See Scams and Fraud for more information.
- Take all outgoing mail to a mail drop box.
- Never pre-print your social security number or driver's license number on your checks.
- Insist that your ID be checked whenever you write a check or use your credit card - if it is not checked, complain to management.
- Always sign the back of your credit cards; you can write "Check ID" next to your signature. If you do not sign your card you void any protection rights you have with the credit card company.
- Know what's on your credit report. You have the right to one free credit report per year. To order your free annual report from one or all the national consumer reporting companies, go to www.annualcreditreport.com or you can call the toll-free number 877.322.8228.
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act) will help reduce identity theft according to the Federal Trade Commission. One provision requires the three major credit-reporting agencies to provide consumers with a free copy of their own credit report.
Credit Reporting Bureaus:
- Place a fraud alert: 1.800.525.6285
- Place a fraud alert: 1.888.397.3742
- Place a fraud alert: 1.800.680.7289
Are you a Victim?
The following is a list of the steps to take if you discover you have been a victim of identity theft:
- Contact the fraud departments of each of the three national credit bureaus, and ask to have a victim's statement inserted into your credit report, alerting creditors of the problem.
- Contact your creditors to close any accounts fraudulently opened or accessed.
- Report the loss to your credit union or other financial institution. Close checking and savings accounts and open new ones. Stop payment on outstanding checks.
- File a police report and get a copy of it in case your bank, credit card company or insurance company needs proof of the crime.
- Report your missing driver's license to the Department of Motor Vehicles and request a new license with a new number.
GreenPath Financial Wellness
There are preventative measures you can take to substantially reduce the chance of identity theft occurring, as well as steps to recover from any damage if you are a victim. GreenPath Financial Wellness has some articles you can read to help you understand more about Identity Theft.
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