How To Minimize Your Risk
Your actions can go a long way toward minimizing opportunities for fraud, identity theft, and other compromises of your account. Here are four crucial steps that you can take:
Protect yourself from identity theft
Safeguarding your personal information is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself from identity theft. Keep in mind this applies to both physical documents and online activities:
- Protect your social security number.
- Shared all documents that contain personal information.
- Create passwords that are unique and do not reveal personal information about you.
- Use a unique password for each account.
- Verify sources before sharing information.
- Store information in a secure location.
Routinely monitor your accounts
Make a habit of monitoring your financial accounts and billing statements on a regular basis. Check your credit report as part of your routine. Be alert to signs that require immediate attention:
- Bills that do not arrive as expected.
- Calls or letters about purchases you did not make.
- Credit cards arriving in the mail that you did not apply for.
- Inaccurate or fraudulent information on your credit report.
Respond immediately to any concerns
Take immediate action as soon as you suspect you may be a victim of identity theft. Maintain your records and follow these steps to respond and recover:
- Place a “fraud alert” on your credit reports, and examine your reports carefully.
- Close accounts which you know, or believe, have been compromised or opened without your permission. Contact law enforcement and file a police report.
- If you suspect you are a victim, call the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Identity Theft Hotline at 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338). For additional information from the FTC, please visit: http://www.ftc.gov/idtheft
Stay safe online
Here are some email guidelines to help you guard against identity theft and fraud:
- We will never email you with a request for information.
- If anything in an email prompts you to provide any private information — don’t do it.
Please use caution when reading email that may appear to have been sent by us. An increasingly common tactic used by criminals is called "phishing" (pronounced "fishing").
There are many variations, but in general, phishing often takes on one of the following forms:
- Warning of unauthorized access to your account.
- Threatening to suspend or deactivate your account.
- Notification of suspicious or fraudulent charges.
- Offers or rewards for completing a survey.
- Notification of changes or upgrades to our online services.
Some other ways to keep your information secure include:
- Memorize your Social Security Number and passwords.
- Don't use your date of birth as your password.
- Never leave your receipts behind when shopping, banking, or buying gasoline.
- Monitor the expiration date of your credit cards and contact the issuer if you don't receive a replacement card before it expires.
- Don't carry your Social Security card or birth certificate.
What To Do If Your Identity Has Been Stolen
What do I do if I suspect I have become a victim of fraud or identity theft?
Take action as soon as you suspect an issue.
- Contact American First Finance at 855-721-1188 to alert us of your concern.
- A member of our team will assist you in gathering the necessary information to open a claim.
- You may receive an Identity Theft Report Form within two weeks of notifying American First Finance that you have been victimized. Click here to view and download this form.
- To protect your rights, it is important that you return the Identity Theft Report Form to American First Finance via email, mail, or fax. Instructions are included with the form.
- Upon receipt of the completed form, we will thoroughly review the documents and request additional information if necessary.
- You can expect to receive a letter indicating the outcome of the investigation once a decision has been reached.
- Resolution of claims may take up to 60 days but we endeavor to resolve claims as soon as possible.
What happens after I have reported fraud on my American First Finance account?
If you have reported fraudulent charges on your account, we will investigate your claim. It is important to remember:
- You are still responsible for payments that are not related to fraudulent activity.
- Depending on the type of claim you submit, an Identity Theft Report Form may be required. If so, you will receive an Identity Theft Report Form within 2 weeks of notifying American First Finance of fraud charges on your account.
- It is important that you return the completed Identity Theft Report Form to American First Finance via mail or fax. Failure to return the form may affect your claim.
- Upon receipt of the form, we will review the documents.
- You will receive a letter from us indicating the outcome once a decision is reached.
- Due to the time it takes to gather all the documents relevant to your claim, it may take up to 60 days to complete the fraud investigation. However, we endeavor to resolve claims as soon as possible and a resolution may be reached earlier.
How do I fill out the Identity Theft Report Form?
When completing the form, please be mindful of the following:
- Please complete all required fields.
- Don't forget to sign the form.
- It is necessary to get the form notarized.
Besides notifying American First Finance about my account with them, what else should I do if I become a victim of fraud or identity theft?
If you become a victim of fraud or identity theft, you’ll want to respond and begin to recover as quickly as you can. The process should include working with your card issuer, local law enforcement, the Federal Trade Commission, state and local agencies, and the credit bureaus.
Notify the three major credit bureaus using the contact information below. Please remember that initial fraud alerts expire after six months, so it may be helpful to learn how to extend the alert if necessary. You may also consider filing a statement with the bureaus asking for notification to you before any new accounts are opened or any existing accounts are changed in your name. This could uncover illegitimate attempts to open additional accounts in your name.
Request and regularly review copies of your credit report from each credit bureau. If information contained in your report is not accurate, you may dispute it and request that it be changed. Regular reviews will help you confirm that the requested changes have been made and if your report has been changed without your knowledge.
A free copy of your credit report is available annually, at http://www.annualcreditreport.com.
Are there additional resources available to me that offer identity theft assistance?
Yes. You have various options, including contacting the Identity Theft Resource Center, a nonprofit organization, at 1-858-693-7935 or http://www.idtheftcenter.org.
How long does it take for my payment(s) / payment history to update with the major credit reporting agencies?
Customer account history is reported to credit bureaus on a monthly basis and may take up to approximately 30 days to reflect on your credit report.
What if there is incorrect information on my credit report?
If you believe that any information contained in your credit report is not accurate, you may dispute it and request that the information is reviewed for accuracy. Contact the appropriate credit bureau immediately to report the incorrect information. You may also notify American First Finance.