When my son Jake called me and told me his debit card number had been stolen, I asked him how he knew.
“I got an email that asked me to confirm a couple of weird transactions. I didn’t make them. So my card has been cancelled and they are mailing me another one right to my mailbox at Roger Williams University.”
“Amazing!” I replied. We then had a long conversation about identity theft and fraud. As I spoke to him about it, I realized that there is a lot to say on the subject and a ton to be aware of.
One place I would definitely turn to for advice is your local credit union. They have experts who look for fraud, help protect your identity and the money in your accounts.
Since we are all part of “the community”, I present The FSP Community’s thoughts on identity theft to get you started.
Identity theft is fraudulent and deceptive. Not only are your finances at stake, but your financial reputation is vulnerable as well. Your personal data, especially your Social Security number, your bank account or credit card number, your telephone calling card number, and other valuable identifying data can be stolen at your peril.
These are some of the most common methods for criminals to steal your personal information:
- Looking over your shoulder while you enter a pin
- Listening to your conversation on your cell phone
- Going through your garbage for discarded information with your data on it
- Going through your mail before you even receive it
- Using data supplied online in an unsecured manner
These are some of the best tips used to protect your personal information from criminals:
- Only give any information to organizations if they have a legitimate business need to know it.
- Ask for organizations to send information, etc. in the mail if you do not know and trust them.
- Do not let your mail build up if you are away on vacation.
- Do not speak in public if you are disclosing any personal information.
- Review transactions monthly in your statements.
- Confirm your addresses in your profile and make sure all mail comes to you.
- Ask for your credit report on an annual basis for your review.
- Keep all records of your banking relationships
Most financial institutions have relationships with reputable private organizations that monitor and protect your identity. Make sure you contact your credit union and ask them about their Fraud Protection Program. It is often said that it is not a matter of “if” you will suffer from some form of identity theft but rather it is a matter of “when” you will become a victim. In any room of people, most, if not all present will gladly share stories of their personal woes. By taking the time to become knowledgeable and vigilant, we can live safer lives and better protect ourselves from these terrible crimes.
PFP | The Family Security Plan® has been working in the credit union movement since 1973 and remains committed today to unite the nationwide community by bringing valuable information about the lives of over 400,000 credit union members who know us, like us and trust us to provide them and their families the foundation for a secure future.
For more information, email PFP | The Family Security Plan® at: email@example.com
Written By: David J. Sussman Esq. CLU