Seven Tips to Prevent Identity Theft
By T'yanna Ridgeway, Fraud Manager, Georgia United Credit Union
Do you know if there is another person pretending to be you? This could be happening if you are not paying attention to your financial accounts and credit reports. Fraudsters are very busy trying to gain access to your personal and financial information through different means such as data breaches, computer hacking, unshredded documents, phone calls and lost items, such as debit and credit cards. To protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft fraud, consider these seven tips:
1. Review your financial statements regularly.
Ensure that you are reviewing all financial statements on a regular basis. Taking the time to do so will help you to identify any transactions that you did not authorize. Identifying unauthorized transactions sooner rather than later helps to stop additional fraudulent activity.
2. Regularly Utilize Online Banking.
Online banking helps you to review your transactions as they are processed instead of having to wait on your monthly statements. When using online banking, set up online account alerts to know when certain transactions have taken place or each time a new device is set up on your account.
3. Use Different Passwords.
Using the same password for different accounts allows a fraudster to gain access to all your accounts. Use passwords that are not easily guessed and be sure to change the passwords regularly.
4. SAFEGUARD Passwords and PINs.
Avoid writing your passwords or PINs where they are visible to others, or on the back of your debit or credit cards. If you were to lose a piece of paper or card with this information, fraudsters can easily access your accounts. Fraudsters are notorious for impersonating representatives from businesses. Be cautious and don’t provide this information to unexpected callers. If you are unsure a call from a business is legitimate, hang up and call the business back using a phone number that you know is accurate.
5. Protect your Social Security Card.
Keep your Social Security card in a safe place and carry it only when needed. If this card is lost, it gives fraudsters the ability to open accounts under your Social Security number.
6. Review Your Credit Report.
Reviewing your credit report helps you to identify any new accounts that may have been opened in your name. Consumers are entitled to one free credit report every 12 months from each of the three credit bureau agencies - Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. There are also credit monitoring services that allow the review of your reports more often, such as IdentityIQ.
7. Add a Fraud Alert or security Freeze on Your Credit Report.
Fraud alerts and security freezes can also prevent fraudsters from using your information to open new accounts. If a fraud alert has been placed on your credit report, a business must verify your identity before issuing credit to you. Fraud alerts remain in place for one year and can be renewed after the year expires. If your identity has been stolen, consumers may add an extended fraud alert, after filing an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission or filing a police report. This report is the same as a fraud alert but lasts for seven years.
A security freeze, also called a credit freeze, prevents access to your credit report until you remove the freeze. If applying for new credit, you can have the freeze removed temporarily. Anyone can freeze their credit report, even if their identity has not been stolen by contacting each of the three credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
protecting YOUR ACCOUNT INFORMATION is our priority.
Maintaining the security of your personal and financial information is our top priority. Remember that Georgia United will never call, email or text you to request your account password or PIN. If you are prompted for this information, do not respond and contact us directly.
Georgia United members can manage their checking and savings accounts 24-hours a day with Online Banking and our Mobile App. Easily access your tax documents, view your account balance, pay bills, apply for a loan, deposit checks* and more, all from the comfort of your home. You can also receive alerts when credits or debits post to your account with online account alerts. To set up a new alert, log in to your account and from the navigation menu, select ‘Services’ and click ‘Alerts’.
Content provided for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as legal advice on any subject matter.
*Items transmitted using this service are not subject to the funds availability requirements of the Federal Reserve Board Regulation CC. Deposits accepted using this service will be available within two business days. Georgia United may make such funds