Fraudsters are constantly coming up with new ways to carry out identity theft. Identity theft can be the result of any number of actions. Some common methods include:
- Responding to a fraudulent telephone call, letter or email that asks for your personal banking information
- Having your purse, wallet, mail or any other personal information stolen
- Rifling through your garbage
- Posing as a landlord, potential employer, etc ...
- Visiting insecure websites
Armed with your personal information, a person may be able to access your accounts, establish credit and obtain services and benefits in your name.
You can help protect yourself from identity theft by educating yourself on how it occurs, and taking appropriate action to reduce your chances of becoming a target.
- Sign credit cards when they arrive
- Safely discard all personal materials. Consider purchasing a personal shredder for home use.
- Review your credit union statements and credit card statements when they arrives. Advise your financial institution of any discrepancies immediately.
- Practice safe banking online. Protect your computer with a firewall and anti-virus software.
- Memorize your PIN number. Do not write it down or disclose it to anyone.
- Never provide financial information such as personal passwords by phone or email.
- Perform an annual credit check. An annual credit check is available for a fee from the credit bureau, or through Equifax or TransUnion.
- Report any theft of personal information to your local police, your credit union, the credit bureau and any service providers that you use.