Friday, August 17, 2007

Everything you NEED to know about Identity Theft

News stories continue to appear about fraud committed with stolen personal information. Why is this so important? In today's information era, it is quite simply easy to have your identity stolen. As your credit union, committed to your financial safety, we feel you need to have the latest information to keep your self and your accounts safe.

Remember Hawthorne will NEVER ask for your personal information, account number, PIN, or any sensitive account information via email. If you receive an e-mail that claims to be from Hawthorne and asks for your account information- you should consider it to be a fraudulent attempt to obtain your personal account data for an illegal purpose and you should not follow the instructions in the e-mail. If you are confused or would like to verify the request, simply call 630-369-4070, 800-848-1697 (outside IL).

Some tips to help you REDUCE YOUR VULNERABILITY are listed below.

  • Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put "PHOTO ID REQUIRED".

  • When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the "For" line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels won't have access to it.

  • Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO Box use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO Box, use your work address. Never have your SS# printed on your checks. You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have it printed, anyone can get it.

  • Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel in case your wallet is stolen. We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed on us in stealing a name, address, Social Security number, credit cards. But above all- put these photocopies in a safe place!

  • Never give your account numbers or Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) to someone who contacts you. The Credit Union (and most other financial institutions) will NEVER ask for your account information or PIN numbers in an email.

  • Shred anything with your Social Security Number, birth date, or account number and all credit offers.

  • Don’t carry your Social Security card, extra credit cards, passport or birth certificate in your purse or wallet if not absolutely necessary.

  • Reconcile your accounts immediately, and challenge any purchases that you don’t remember.

  • Cancel lost credit cards immediately. However, the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep a separate list where you can find it quickly and easily.

  • Report it to the Credit Union if your checkbook is stolen.

  • File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your purse or wallet was stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and it is a first step toward an investigation if one is required.

  • If you believe your Social Security number has been compromised, call the Social Security Administration’s fraud line to report it.

  • Contact credit-reporting agencies. This is perhaps the most important and least discussed step. Call the three national credit-reporting agencies immediately and ask them to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. With an alert in place, any company checking your credit knows your information was stolen and they must contact you by phone to authorize new credit.

No comments:

Post a Comment