Take steps 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:
1) 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.
- Shred 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.
2) 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.
3) 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
4) 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.