Identity Fraud May Be Down, But Your Guard Needs to Stay Up!
Fraud comes in many shapes and sizes and unfortunately, it will never go away. Nor will the money and time spent fixing it. That’s why it’s vital to ramp up your security arsenal.
While fraud operators are constantly developing new viruses, spyware and online fraud schemes, the good news is that you can take action to protect yourself against online fraud. Delve into this site to find out how.
Take the Keys to Consumer Control: Prevention and Detection.
Prevention stops identity theft at the source and protects your private data before it is compromised by fraudsters. Taking advantage of online bill pay and even good old fashioned paper-shredding contributes to your own online safety.
Early Detection is equally important. Successful detection includes records consolidation and the regular review of your financial accounts for unusual activity. Banking online gives you quick access to your accounts, so that you can detect fraudulent activity sooner.
The impact of identity theft and online crimes can be greatly reduced if you can catch it shortly after your data is stolen or when the first use of your information is attempted. One of the easiest ways to get the tip-off that something has gone wrong is by reviewing your monthly statements provided by your bank and credit card companies for anything out of the ordinary.
If you know, or even think, you’ve been a victim of identity fraud, take immediate action and follow these five steps. More specifics can be found on the FTC’s Identity Theft Web site.
- Report the fraudulent activity. If the activity is related to our financial institution please contact us directly. If it is related to another financial institution, your credit card company, or any other organization contact them directly.
- Contact one of the three consumer reporting companies and have a fraud alert placed on your credit report. This will help stop fraudsters from opening any additional accounts in your name. Contact only one of the following (the others are required to contact the other two).
P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013
Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
- Close any accounts that you know - or even think – might have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Report the transgression to a security spokesperson at the relevant company. Ask them about any additional steps – they’ll probably ask you to send relevant copies of the fraudulent activity.
You can also use the FTC Theft Affadavit ID Theft Affidavit (PDF, 56KB) as formal certification of your dispute.
- File your complaint with the FTC. Use the online complaint form; or call the FTC’s Identity Theft Hotline, toll-free: 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338); TTY: 1-866-653-4261; or write Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580.
- Sharing your identity theft complaint with the FTC will help law enforcement officials track down identity thieves and stop them. Call or visit the local police or police in the community where the identity theft took place and file a report. Have a copy of your FTC ID Theft complaint form available to give them. Obtain a copy of the police report and the police report number.