If You Become a Victim of Identity Theft
If you believe that someone has stolen your lists “inquiries” and request that any
identity, you should: inquiries from companies that opened the National Credit Union Administration
fraudulent accounts be removed.
• Contact the fraud department of each of the
three major credit bureaus to report the • Contact any credit union or other creditor
identity theft and request that the credit where you have an account that you think
bureaus place a fraud alert and a victim’s may be the subject of identity theft. Advise
statement in your file. The fraud alert puts them of the identity theft. Request that
creditors on notice that you have been the they restrict access to your account, change
victim of fraud, and the victim’s statement your account password, or close your
asks them not to open additional accounts account, if there is evidence that your
without first contacting you. account has been the target of criminal
activity. If your credit union closes your
The following are the telephone numbers for account, ask them to issue you a new credit
the fraud departments of the three national card, ATM card, debit card, or share drafts,
credit bureaus: as appropriate.
Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289 • File a report with your local police
Equifax: 1-800-525-6285 department.
• Contact the FTC’s Identity Theft Hotline
• You may request a free copy of your credit toll-free at 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338).
report. Credit bureaus must provide a free The FTC puts the information into a secure
copy of your report, if you have reason to consumer fraud database and shares it with
believe the report is inaccurate because of local, state, and federal law enforcement
fraud and you submit a request in writing. agencies.
• Review your report to make sure no
additional fraudulent accounts have been
opened in your name, or unauthorized
changes made to your existing accounts.
Also, check the section of your report that
What is Identify Theft ? Here are a few basic steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft and pretext calling:
Identity theft is the fraudulent use of a person’s mail, or over the Internet, unless you live in a state that requires the credit
personal identifying information. Often, initiated the contact or know with whom bureaus to provide you with one free copy of
identity thieves will use another person’s you are dealing. your report annually).
personal information, such as a social security
number, mother’s maiden name, date of birth, or • Store personal information in a safe place • If you prefer not to receive pre-approved
account number to open fraudulent new credit and tear up old credit card receipts, ATM offers of credit, you can opt out of such
card accounts, charge existing credit card receipts, old account statements, and offers by calling (888) 5 OPT OUT.
accounts, write share drafts, open share unused credit card offers before throwing
accounts, or obtain new loans. They may obtain them away. • If you want to remove your name from
this information by: many national direct mail lists, send your
• Protect your PINs and other passwords. name and address to:
• Stealing wallets that contain personal Avoid using easily available information
identification information and credit cards. such as your mother’s maiden name, your DMA Mail Preference Service
birth date, the last four digits of your social P.O. Box 9008
• Stealing credit union statements from the security number, your phone number, etc. Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008
• Carry only the minimum amount of • If you want to reduce the number of
• Diverting mail from its intended recipients identifying information and number of telephone solicitations from many national
by submitting a change of address form. credit cards that you need. marketers, send your name, address, and
telephone number to:
• Rummaging through trash for personal • Pay attention to billing cycles and
data. statements. Inquire of the credit union, if DMA Telephone Preference Service
you do not receive a monthly bill. It may P.O. Box 9014
• Stealing personal identification information mean that the bill has been diverted by an Farmingdale, NY 11735-9014
from workplace records. identity thief.
• Intercepting or otherwise obtaining • Check account statements carefully to
information transmitted electronically. ensure all charges, share drafts, or
withdrawals were authorized.
Pretext calling is a fraudulent means of
obtaining a person’s personal information. • Guard your mail from theft. If you have the
Pretext callers may contact credit union type of mailbox with a flag to signal that
employees, posing as members, to access the box contains mail, do not leave bill
members’ personal account information. payment envelopes in your mailbox with
Information obtained from pretext calling may the flag up. Instead, deposit them in a post
be sold to debt collection services, attorneys, and office collection box or at the local post
private investigators to use in court proceedings. office. Promptly remove incoming mail.
Identity thieves may also engage in pretext
calling to obtain personal information to create • Order copies of your credit report from each
fraudulent accounts. of the three major credit bureaus once a
year to ensure that they are accurate. The
• Do not give personal information, such as law permits the credit bureaus to charge
account numbers or social security $8.50 for a copy of the report (unless you
numbers, over the telephone, through the