Are you at risk of becoming a victim of Identify Theft?
Identity (ID) theft is a crime where a thief steals your personal information, such as your full name or Social Security number, to commit fraud. Identity theft affects millions of people each year. The identity thief can use your information to fraudulently apply for credit, file taxes, or get medical services. These acts can damage your credit status and cost you time and money to restore your good name.
You may not know that you are the victim of ID theft until you experience a financial consequence (mystery bills, credit collections and denied loans) down the road from actions that the thief has taken with your stolen identity.
How Thieves Get Your Information
Identity theft affects people of all ages, races and nationalities. Anyone can be a victim. Thieves use many tactics to get your information. Some of the most common are:
- Stealing wallets that contain personal identification information 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 identification information from workplace records.
- Intercepting or otherwise obtaining information transmitted electronically.
Preventing Identity Theft
- Do not share personal information. Whether over the telephone, through the mail, or on the Internet, do not share your financial account information or Social Security numbers unless you know the person requesting the information is who he or she claims to be.
- Control access to your financial information. Store your personal information in a safe place and tear up or shred old credit card and 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, or 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.
- Monitor billing cycles and statements. Contact the credit union if you do not receive a monthly bill. It may mean that an identity theft diverted the bill. Sign up for APCI eStatements and access your accounts and card statements securely through APCI eBanking.
- Check account statements carefully. Ensure that you authorized all charges, share drafts, or withdrawals on the statement. Setup APCI eAlert notifications when certain events you specify occur within your accounts.
- Guard your mail from 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 raised. Instead, deposit them in a post office collection box or at the local post office. Remove incoming mail promptly.
- Monitor your credit report. Consumers are entitled to one free credit report from each credit reporting agency annually. Visit annualcreditreport.com to request your free credit reports.
- Opt out of pre-approved credit cards, direct mail lists and telephone solicitation.
To stop receiving pre-approved credit card offers, request to opt out online or call 888-5-OPT-OUT (567-8688).
To reduce the number of phone solicitations you receive from national marketers, register for the National Do Not Call Registry.
To remove your name from many national direct mail lists, visit the Direct Marketing Association’s DMA Choice tool.
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