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Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

Posted in Security

It’s no secret that instances of identity (ID) theft are on the rise. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the steps they can take to help prevent it from happening to them. To help protect your identity and personal information, we encourage our members to follow the steps below.

  • Frequently review your account activity and immediately report unauthorized transactions. Don’t forget, you can monitor your accounts 24/7 with Digital Banking by logging in online or using our free mobile banking app.
  • Review your credit reports for accuracy. You are entitled to one free credit report each year. Click here to get started.
  • Don’t respond to emails, text, or telephone calls asking for personal or financial information. Note that attackers like to use news about a breach to form an attack via phishing and other types of scams. If you are approached, be cautious and seek out information through a trusted source.
  • Set up alerts on your account so you can be notified when suspicious transactions are detected. At CCU, you can enroll your CCU credit and debit cards in our text messaging fraud alert service. Learn more here.
  • Always use multi-factored authentication when available. Multi-factor authentication is a login approval process that helps protect your information. It is a layered approach that requires more than one method of authentication outside of your username and password to access your account.
  • Update Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) and passwords, including email passwords, and follow best practices (i.e. using long and complex phrases, and never re-using a password).
  • Consider enrolling in an identity theft protection service to help monitor your accounts and personal information.

Have you experienced identity theft? Here’s what to do.

  • Contact each of the three credit reporting agencies to notify them of the suspected ID theft or fraud.
  • Consider placing an initial fraud alert on your credit report. Doing this will require potential creditors to contact you to obtain permission to open new accounts or lines of credit. Keep in mind that an initial fraud alert only lasts for 90 days.
  • Consider putting a freeze on your credit file. This will block an institution from being able to access a report, lowering the risk of ID theft and the opening of fraudulent accounts in your name. Note that you must freeze and thaw at each credit agency separately. If you are applying for a new loan or line of credit, you must thaw the freeze by using a PIN/password ahead of time or the process may be delayed.

  Learn more about fraud alerts and credit file freezes, and which option may be the best for you.

We know that this can be an overwhelming and frustrating topic, but if ignored, there can be greater implications that could impact you and your credit. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.


What is Identity Theft?

ID theft is a crime where someone steals your personal information (name, address, birthday, or social security number) to commit fraud. Once the thief has this information they can use it to apply for credit cards, apply for a loan, file taxes, get medical services, and more, all in your name. As the victim of this theft, your credit could be damaged and you could lose time and money in an attempt to restore your name. To make matters worse, you may not even know you are a victim of ID theft until these acts have already occurred.