Identity theft occurs when someone uses your bank account number, Social Security number, credit card, or other personal information to commit fraud or other criminal acts. Months can go by before the theft has been discovered.
Has Identity Theft or Fraud happened to you?
If you answered 'yes' or 'I'm not sure' to the question, there are steps you need to take:
Step 1: Notify law enforcement. Identity theft is a crime. A Police Report may be needed for some of the following steps. Be sure to get a copy of the report as proof of the crime.
Step 2: Contact the fraud department of any of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud aleart on your credit file. The fraud alert requests creditors to contact you before opening any new accounts or changing information on existing accounts. The first credit bureau you contact is required to notify the other two bureaus after confirmng your fraud alert.
Step 3: Contact Heart of Louisiana Credit Union and any other financial institutions with whom you have a financial relationship.
Step 4: File an online report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
877-438-4338 (TTY) 866-653-4261
Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft
- Sign your credit cards when you receive them.
- Only carry cards you need.
- Do not carry your Social Security card.
- Never write your PIN or Social Security number on anything you are going to throw away.
- Do not release personal information such as your Social Security or bank account number over the phone unless you made the phone call and understand why the information is necessary.
- Review your bank account and credit card statements, at least, monthly.
- Sign up for text or email alerts thru Mobile Banking.
Protect Yourself Against Scams
- Do not trust any offers that ask or 'require' you to pay anything back. If it's free, you shouldn't have to pay for anything back.
- Avoid getting involved with any foreign lotteries. It is illegal to play a foreign lottery via mail or telephone.
- Never send money to strangers and know who you are dealing with.
- If you are selling something, do not accept a payment more than the agreed amount no matter how tempting it is.
- If you accept a check as a payment option, be certain to ask for a check drawn on a local financial institution or a cashier's check.
- If the buyer insists you send funds back, this should raise a red flag and you should consider ending the transaction immediately.
Read our most recent articles to help keep you prepared:
Helping Harvey Victims without Getting Scammed (published 9/1/17)
Beware of Inheritance Scams (published 7/21/2017)
Beware of Fake Checks (published 7/13/17)
Check Your Online Presence for Identity Theft (published 6/28/2017)
Safety in Online Gaming (published 6/20/2017)
ATM Fraud On The Rise: Staying Safe While Getting Cash (published 6/15/2017)
Protecting Your Identity While On Vacation (published 6/5/2017)