Updated: Sep 8, 2021
If you suspect that an unauthorized person is using your identity or credit information, please report it to us as soon as you can. An important step in catching the person and protecting you from further financial liability is to file a report with your local police. We can help.
Credit Fraud Protection
Credit Fraud is committed when a person attempts to and/or succeeds in using another person’s credit information to obtain credit so that the fraud criminal can receive goods and services in the fraud victim’s name. While some credit fraud is committed over the long term, most credit criminals only utilize a specific person’s credit for a short period of time and then move on to the next victim.
Criminals look for personal information, such as your driver’s license, credit cards, social security cards, telephone calling cards, and birth certificates. Other sources of identification include credit solicitations that are mailed to the victim’s home and improperly discarded, cancelled checks, bank statements, and mail which the criminal steals either before or after the potential fraud victim has read it.
Credit Fraud Prevention and Protection Tips
Here are some simple ways you can significantly reduce your chances of becoming a fraud victim:
Contact the three main Credit Bureaus (Equifax, Experian and Trans Union) and request to add a protective statement to your credit file. With this statement on your credit file, credit grantors will know that you always need to be contacted directly before credit is granted in your name.
Install a lockable mailbox at your residence to reduce mail theft.
Cut up, shred, or otherwise destroy pre-approved credit offers that you don’t intend to accept as well as credit card receipts, statements, bank statements, or any other documents that have personal information on them.
Carry the essential identification pieces in your purse, wallet, backpack, automobile, etc. Try to avoid carrying such documents as a social security card, birth certificate, or passport unless needed.
Reduce the number of credit cards that you have and carry to a minimum.
Do not keep ATM personal identification numbers (PIN) or other passwords in your purse or wallet – please memorize them. Additionally, avoid using easily discovered passwords or PIN codes such as your birthday, phone number, address, etc.
Keep a list or photocopy of all your credit accounts and bank accounts in a secure place, such as a lock box or locked file cabinet if possible. Include account numbers, expiration dates and telephone numbers of the customer service and fraud departments. Use these numbers if your credit cards or checks are ever lost or stolen.
Avoid giving out your credit card or other personal information over the telephone or Internet, unless you are certain of the caller’s identify.
Do not conduct banking or other personal business on cordless or cellular telephones. These conversations can be easily intercepted via scanner, two-way radio, or baby monitor.
Do not have your social security number or driver’s license number printed on your checks.
If your credit cards or checks have been stolen, notify your creditors and banks immediately. Request that your bank account number be changed and new checks be issued.
Order your credit reports from the three credit bureaus at least once a year to ensure that the information on your credit report is accurate.
Consider only listing your name and number (no address) on contact lists or having an unlisted telephone number.