How to Respond to Identity Theft
You never think it will happen to you. And we hope it never does! But, in 2022, more than 1.2 million Americans reported experiencing fraud or identity theft. Be proactive about protecting your identity from would-be thieves with our tips below.
Millions of dollars are lost every year to fraud. According to the Department of Justice, identity theft and identity fraud refer to “crime where someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person’s personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, usually for economic gain.” Often, when someone’s identity is compromised, we’re left wondering how this information was obtained. It could be the result of a low-tech method like mail theft or a large data breach from a retailer.
Simple Steps to Protect Yourself
Regardless of the fraudster’s tactic, there are simple precautions you can take that will go a long way in protecting your information from identity theft. First, never carry your social security card in your wallet or purse. Subscribe to USPS Informed Delivery and check/collect your mail daily. A locking mailbox can also help prevent mail theft.
Review your credit report for suspicious activity or accounts you don’t recognize. To get started, obtain your free credit report at annualcreditreport.com. Don’t trust any other credit reporting sites: There are many imposters. If you cycle between Equifax, Experian and Transunion, you can check a version of your credit report once every four months. Check your credit card and bank account statements promptly. Buy a quality shredder and shred statements, receipts and bills.
Reporting and Responding to Identity Theft
If you find that your identity has been compromised, you are not alone! We are here to help you get everything back in order. Additionally, to limit the amount of damage, take the following steps. First, contact the company where fraud has occurred. If your Rogue account was compromised, we can close impacted accounts to ensure no additional unauthorized charges are made. Then contact each credit bureau and place an initial fraud alert. Your initial alert will last 90 days. Also request a copy of your credit report from each bureau to review.
After reporting fraud to your credit reporting agencies, you will receive a copy of your credit report from all 3 bureaus. Review inquiries, open accounts and other personal information. Access the free resources at www.identitytheft.gov to view recovery plans and notify the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of your identity theft. You’ll need to obtain an FTC fraud affidavit. The FTC will also help you create a plan to resolve any issues clouding your credit report. You may want to contact local law enforcement to notify them of the crime as well.
If you find unauthorized accounts in your credit report, send a copy of your identity theft report to the appropriate creditor and request that they cease reporting. Also request documentation that shows fraudulent transactions or account openings. Make sure to change your existing passwords for bank, credit and other online accounts. Use a complex password to ensure security.
At Rogue Credit Union, we take the safety and security of our members’ accounts very seriously. If you have any questions or suspect fraudulent activity in your accounts, we’re here to help. Give us a call at 800.856.7328, chat with us online or stop by your local branch.