Identity theft is the fraudulent use of a person’s personal identifying information.
Often, identity thieves will use another person’s information, such as a Social Security number, mother’s maiden name, date of birth, or account number, to open fraudulent new credit card accounts, charge existing credit card accounts, write share drafts, open share accounts, or obtain new loans.
They may obtain this information by:
- Stealing wallets that contain personal identification and credit cards.
- Stealing credit union statements from the mail.
- Diverting mail from its intended recipients by submitting a change of address form.
- Rummaging through trash for personal data.
- Stealing personal information from workplace records.
- Intercepting or otherwise obtaining information transmitted electronically.
Steps to Protect Your Privacy…
Do not share personal information, such as account numbers or social security numbers, over the telephone, through the mail, or over the Internet, unless you initiated the contact or know with whom you are dealing.
Store personal information in a safe place and tear up old credit card receipts, ATM receipts, old account statements, and unused credit card offers before throwing them away.
Protect your PINs and other passwords. Avoid using easily available information such as your mother’s maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of your Social Security number, your phone number, as identity thieves can use this information to access your accounts.
Carry only the minimum amount of identifying information and number of credit cards that you need.
Pay attention to billing cycles and statements. Contact the credit union if you do not receive a monthly bill. It may mean that the bill has been diverted by an identity thief.
Check account statements carefully to ensure that you authorized all charges, share drafts, or withdrawals.
Guard your mail against theft. If you have the type of mailbox with a flag to signal that the box contains mail, do not leave bill payment envelopes in your mailbox with the flag up. Instead, deposit them in a post office collection box or at the local post office. Promptly remove incoming mail.
Excerpt from mycreditunion.gov.