Identity theft or "ID theft," occurs when an individual learns that someone has used their Social Security number (SSN), bank account information or other details to go on a buying or borrowing binge. While law enforcement agencies, financial industry regulators, financial institutions and other organizations are working together to prevent ID theft and other financial crimes, we all need to take precautions.
Protect your Social Security number, bank account information, credit card numbers, PINs (personal identification numbers), passwords and other information. Never provide this information in response to a phone call, a fax, a letter or an email you've received - no matter how friendly or official the circumstances may appear.
Be especially careful with your Social Security Number. Don't provide it to any business unless you're convinced it's necessary and the information will be protected.
Also be aware that friends, family members, roommates and workers who come into your home make up a large percentage of identity thieves. They often are in the best position to find and use confidential information.
Guard your mail, which may include a credit cards, bank statements, a check, confidential documents or other items that if stolen from your mailbox will aid a thief in stealing your identity.
Keep your financial trash "clean." Shred everything before you put them in the trash. This includes ATM and credit card receipts, bank statements, tax returns and any documents containing personal information. ID thieves pick through trash bins looking for anything they can use to steal your identity.
Use extra care with personal information on a computer or over the Internet. Never provide bank account, credit card or other personal information when visiting a website that doesn't explain how your personal information will be protected, including its use of "encryption" to safely transmit and store data.
Beware of Phising E-mails. Phishing is a way of attempting to acquire usernames, passwords and credit card details by send emails that look like they came from your bank, government office or other trustworthy entity. These emails ask you click on a link and "update" or "confirm" personal information. Reputable organizations won't contact you to verify account information online because they already have it.
If you have been a victim of identity theft, please contact
Member Services at 305-887-9781 or email firstname.lastname@example.org