Good is knowing your personal financial information is safe. Great is having a partner who provides you with resources to keep it that way.
Identity theft is a growing problem. In difficult economic times, it will only get worse as perpetrators prey on people who are having a difficult time.
Check your credit report
Your first indicator of trouble is likely to be your credit report. As you may know, there are three major credit reporting agencies, listed below. You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report each year from each of them. We encourage you to do so. To receive your free report, go to https://www.annualcreditreport.com
You can also contact the credit reporting bureaus directly through the numbers and links below:
- Experian 888.EXPERIAN www.experian.com
- Equifax 800.685.1111 www.equifax.com
- TransUnion 800.888.4213 www.transunion.com
Phishing typically involves a bogus e-mail message that seeks to look or sound legitimate—using official sounding language, or graphics and logos from a trusted organization—in an attempt to entice e-mail recipients to provide personal financial details, such as account information, credit card and Social Security numbers.
Take some simple precautions:
- Never respond to an unsolicited e-mail that asks for personal financial information.
- Report anything suspicious to the proper authorities. Alert the credit union or government agency identified in the suspect e-mail through a web address or telephone number that you know is legitimate.
- Contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov --a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center --if you think you have received a phishing e-mail or have been directed to a phishy-looking website.
Personal Information Resources
It's a good idea to check on your non-credit-specific personal information, too. Here are a couple of places to look:
"Opting out" can help decrease the number of offers you receive, and your chances of a solicitation resulting in identity theft:
Direct Marketing AssociationMail Preference Services
PO Box 643
Carmel, NY 10512
National Do Not Call RegistryFederal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20580