Identity theft is when someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission. There are several different types of ID theft, and they all affect a person in a different way. No one is immune to identity theft and information can be compromised in any number of ways. Here's one example:
You’ve found 3 unauthorized transactions on your last statement for your checking account. Someone used your routing and account number to make several purchases overseas. You are missing $2,000 from your account. “My identity has been stolen! What do I do?!” - The words you hope you never have to say. Having your identity stolen is a disturbing and unfortunate occurrence. Copper State Credit Union is here to help. Follow this identity theft protection checklist for help!
If you’ve already detected the fraud, take a breath and know that a big, important part of the process is taken care of. You detected the fraud, which is a key step to stopping identity theft in its tracks. Fraud reports are only investigated and compensated if you notice them or find them within a certain window of time (60-180 days, usually). If you’re noticing a fraudulent charge a year later, you’re much less likely to get a resolution or to get your money back.
Wherever you know the fraud has taken place, start there. You can contact Copper State Credit Union to report fraudulent activity at 623.580.6000. Make sure to take notes about this call. If you download the checklist, you'll have access to a notes section where you can document date, time, and action steps taken, among other things.
Here’s what to look for:
-Charges you did not authorize
-Modified phone or email address
-Modified PIN numbers
-Any new debit or credit cards that have recently been ordered
It’s likely that affected accounts, or maybe all accounts, will be closed and replacements opened to avoid further theft. This is especially the case for the most prevalent type of financial fraud in 2021 - Card Cracking.
Consider a password manager for encrypted storage of your online banking information. Never reuse passwords for more than one site, and never use your email address or account number as part of your password. Hackers love to find a Word document full of usernames and passwords. Writing them down on a notebook isn’t much better!
You'll place a “fraud alert” on your file and request a copy of your free credit report. Other options include a free “credit freeze” as well as a paid option for a “credit lock.” You can discuss these with the bureaus directly to see what the best fit is for your situation.
• Equifax: 1-800-525-6285 or www.equifax.com
• Experian: 1-888-397-3742 or www.experian.com
• TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289 or www.transunion.com
Be sure to take notes on these interactions with the bureaus. If you download this checklist via the form above, it provides space for notetaking for each bureau.
A police report will lend credibility to your case when dealing with creditors who may require proof of criminal activity in order to initiate the reimbursement.
Make sure to take notes and write down the police report number!
Call 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338) or file your complaint online at www.consumer.gov/idtheft
Even after the fraud has been resolved, this is a key step. Setting up account alerts, as well as two-factor authentication within Online Banking will be helpful. You can also turn on a free feature within online banking that will show daily credit score updates and monitoring. Read more about Free Credit Score here. A close eye will help prevent these things from happening in the future - plus, you can research identity theft protection services or an identity theft monitoring service if that sounds like something you're interested in. (These can also be called credit monitoring services or identity theft protection companies, but many services come with a fee!)
One of the top money scams recently is called Card Cracking. If you're a victim of card cracking, contact us right away! And If you have kids, it's a great idea to teach them how to protect themselves and their financial futures from identity theft. Get them started on these educational and fun free online games for kids.
If you would like more information on how to protect your identity, be sure to check out our webinar, Ask Our Experts: What To Do If Identity Theft Happens To You.
Always know two things: You can contact us if you need any further assistance, and we have tons of other resources we'd love to share with you. Visit our Resource Center and filter by topic or content type to find what you need.
This article is intended to be a general resource only and is not intended to be nor does it constitute legal advice. Any recommendations are based on opinion only. Rates, terms and conditions are subject to change and may vary based on creditworthiness, qualifications, and collateral conditions. All loans subject to approval.