What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft happens when a criminal gets access to your personal information and uses it to commit fraudulent activities, such as making unauthorized purchases, opening new credit cards in your name, applying for loans, and other crimes. Identity theft can damage your credit, leave you with unwanted bills, and requires a lot of time and frustration to clean up.
How You Can Protect Yourself
- Don't get hooked by a phishing scam
Some identity thieves sift through trash bins looking for bank account and credit card statements. Others use high-tech scams of stealing your identity. Phishers send an email or pop-up message that claims to be from a business or organization that you deal with - for example, your Internet service provider (ISP), bank, online payment service, or even a government agency and try to deceive you into disclosing your credit card numbers, bank account information, social security number, passwords, or other sensitive information.
The message usually says that you need to "update" or "validate" your account information. It might threaten some dire consequence if you don’t respond. The message directs you to a website that looks just like a legitimate organization’s site, but it isn’t. The purpose of the bogus site is to trick you into divulging your personal information.
Remember: We won’t ask for confidential information such as your user ID, password, social security number or other account information in a text message or email, or over the phone unless you call us about an issue, such as something to do with your account. In that case, we’ll ask you to verify your identity so we know you are who you say you are.
- Think before you open
- Be cautious about opening any attachment or downloading any files from emails you receive, regardless of who sent them. If you get an email or pop-up message that asks for personal or financial information, do not reply or click on the link in the message. Legitimate companies don’t ask for this information via email. If you are concerned about your account, contact the organization in the email using a telephone number you know to be genuine, or open a new Internet browser session and type in the company’s correct web address. In any case, don’t cut and paste the link in the message.
- Look for secure ways to transmit personal information
- Email is not a secure method of transmitting personal information. If you initiate a transaction and want to provide your personal or financial information through an organization’s website, look for indicators that the site is secure, like a lock icon on the browser’s status bar or a URL for a website that begins "https:" (the "s" stands for "secure"). Unfortunately, no indicator is foolproof; some phishers have forged security icons.
- Enroll in Online Banking
- At Selfreliance.com and on our Mobile App, you can bank comfortably and securely any time, any place. Our digital tools are designed with latest security features to protect your information, such as two factor authentication and the use of your unique biometrics. It’s important to be creative with your password the most secure passwords combine letters, numbers and special characters. Never use your child’s or pet's name, phone number, birth date or anything else that a fraudster could easily find out. Remember to change your password regularly, and avoid using the same password for multiple sites or financial institutions.
- Set up Account Alerts
- Our free account alerts are a great way to keep track of activities on your accounts and take prompt action when needed.
- Look over your statements regularly
- Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them to determine whether there are any unauthorized charges. If your statement is late by more than a couple of days, call your credit card company or bank to confirm your billing address and account balances. A great way to minimize paper trail is to sign up for e-statements. You can securely view, download and print your current or past statements and tax documents from your mobile banking app or online banking anytime.
- Look over your credit reports
- At least once a year, read through your credit reports carefully. You can request a free annual credit report from each of the 3 national credit reporting agencies, even if you don’t suspect any unauthorized activity on your account.
- Use anti-virus software and keep it up to date
- Some phishing emails contain software that can harm your computer or track your activities on the Internet without your knowledge. Anti-virus software and a firewall can protect you from inadvertently accepting such unwanted files. Look for anti-virus software that recognizes current viruses as well as older ones; that can effectively reverse the damage; and that updates automatically. A firewall helps make you invisible on the Internet and blocks all communications from unauthorized sources. It’s especially important to run a firewall if you have a broadband connection. Finally, your operating system (like Windows or Linux) may offer free software "patches" to close holes in the system that hackers or phishers could exploit.
Think You Might Have Shared Personal Information?
- Log in to digital banking and check for fraudulent activity
- If you think your accounts at Selfreliance FCU have been compromised, log into your online accounts and change your password. Check to see if there are any unauthorized transactions.
- Contact us
- Contact us at 888-222-8571 if you think you might have compromised your Selfreliance FCU account, and
inadvertently shared with anyone the following types of information:
- Your credit or debit card number
- Personal information about you, such as your Social Security number or taxpayer identification number
- Your selfreliance.com sign-in information, including your user ID and password
- Report suspicious activity to the FTC
- The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the
marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint
visit www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters
Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a
secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
- If you get spam that is phishing for information, forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.ftc.gov/spam to learn other ways to avoid email scams and deal with deceptive spam.
- If you believe you’ve been scammed, file your complaint at www.ftc.gov and then visit the FTC’s Identity Theft website to learn how to minimize your risk of damage from ID theft.