Identity theft occurs when someone's personal information is used by thieves to fraudulently establish credit, open bank accounts, or engage in other criminal activities in the victim's name. The crime can destroy the victim's credit record and take months to resolve.
As a valued customer, First Federal wants to help you and your loved ones avoid becoming a victim of identity theft. By being proactive and diligent, you have the power to greatly reduce the likelihood of identity theft happening to you.
Safe Practices For Avoiding Becoming a Victim
- Don't give your Social Security number or financial information to anyone over the phone, unless you placed the call.
- Never respond to an email—even if it appears to have been sent by a familiar institution or a government agency—that asks you to provide personal, account, or login information.
- Thieves may steal information from your trash and use it to get credit in your name. Use a cross-cut shredder to destroy receipts, old bank statements, old utility bills, unused credit cards, and any other documents with your personal information.
- Review your bank and credit card statements as soon as you receive them to check for unauthorized transactions.
- Protect your PINs and passwords. Use a combination of letters, numbers and (if allowed) special characters such as !, @, #, or &. Change them often. Never write this information down or share it with anyone who does not have a need for it.
- You are entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the three credit-reporting agencies. To order copies of your credit report, go to www.annualcreditreport.com or contact each credit reporting companies directly:
- TransUnion / (877) 322-8228 / www.transunion.com
- Equifax / (800-685) 1111 / www.equifax.com
- Experian / (888) 397-3742 / www.experian.com
- After reviewing your credit information, report any suspected fraud to your bank and credit card issuers immediately.
Email, Telephone, & Phishing Scams
Identity thieves often use a high-tech scam that typically involves email spam to deceive consumers into disclosing their personal or financial information, such as credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security numbers, passwords, and other sensitive information. The practice is commonly referred to as "Phishing" or "Carding."
- Be suspicious if someone contacts you unexpectedly and asks for your personal information. Legitimate companies and agencies don't operate that way.
- Don't click on links in emails that ask you to provide personal information. To check whether an email or call is really from the company or agency, call it directly or go to its Web site (use a search engine to find it).
- Don't provide any of your personal information over the phone or on the internet unless you initiated the call or contact.
- Don't e-mail personal or financial information.
- Job seekers should also verify the person's identity before providing personal information to someone claiming to be a prospective employer.
- Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software, as well as a firewall, and update them all regularly.
- If you have provided account numbers, PINs, or passwords to a phisher, notify the companies with which you have those accounts immediately.
- Forward phishing emails to firstname.lastname@example.org — and to the company, bank, or organization impersonated in the phishing email. You also may report phishing email to email@example.com.
- For additional information on phishing scams, go to www.phishinginfo.org.
Want more information? The Federal Trade Commission is a wealth of information and resources concerning identity theft.
Think you may be a victim of ID theft? Contact the Michigan State Police or visit the Michigan State Police Identity Theft Unit for information and forms.