Identity Theft Precautions
Identity theft is a crime perpetrated by a criminal who uses another's personal information to establish credit, purchase goods and services with existing debit or credit cards, apply for new cards in the victim’s name, drain bank accounts, or commit other crimes. Identity theft affects consumers in several ways; fortunately there are steps you can take to protect your identity.
A. How to Protect Your Personal Information:
- Never give out personal information, especially your Social Security number, to anyone you can’t confirm has a legitimate purpose in asking for it.
- Do not give your Social Security number over a cellular or cordless phone.
- Do not carry your Social Security card, Social Security number, birth certificate or passport, unless necessary.
- Do not put your address, telephone number, Social Security number, or driver’s license number on personal checks or credit card sales receipts.
- Shred old receipts, credit applications, bank records, and any other personal documents before discarding them.
- Check your credit report at least twice a year. Three major credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion) are required to provide you with one free credit report a year. Visit http://www.annualcreditreport.com to obtain yours.
B. How to Protect Your Financial Information:
- Exercise your rights under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act and review your credit report regularly to be sure it’s accurate and up to date.
- Never give out your password or PIN for your check card, credit card or ATM card.
- Keep important documents in a safe place. Fraudsters are just as interested in credit card, bank account, and investment statements as they are in your other valuables.
- Obtain your bank statements through Online Banking instead of receiving paper statements in the mail to reduce likelihood that financial information will be stolen from your mailbox, or inadvertently exposed or accessible to people who may have access to your home.
- Keep a list of all credit cards and bank accounts including the account numbers, phone numbers, and expiration dates in a safe place.
- Provide personal information only on websites that are secure and only when you have initiated the contact.
- Shred financial or confidential information such as credit card pre-approvals, credit card receipts, and bank statements.
- Carry only the credit cards you plan to use. If you have credit cards you do not use, store them in a safe place. If you no longer use a particular card, cancel the account and destroy the card.
- Place payments and financial mail in a secured post office box, not in your home mailbox.
- Pick up your mail as soon as possible after it’s delivered, and keep track of when your bills are supposed to arrive. If your monthly bank and credit card statements do not arrive in the mail, call your bank or lender immediately.
- Always check credit card bills and bank statements for accuracy.
- To help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, federal law requires all financial institutions to obtain, verify, and record information that identifies each person who opens an account.
C. If you think you are a victim of Identity Theft
When you open an account at Sunwest Bank, we will ask for your name, address, date of birth, and other information that will allow us to identify you. We may ask to see your Driver’s License or other identifying documents. If you think you are a victim of identity theft, take action immediately. Contact the local police, your bank(s), the three major credit reporting agencies and the Federal Trade Commission at (877) IDTHEFT (438-4338). Check these resources for more information on identity theft and your credit report:
Annual Credit Report Website: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC): http://www.ftc.gov
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC): http://www.fdic.gov
Major Credit Reporting Bureaus:
- Equifax: 800.685.1111
- Experian: 888.397.3742
- TransUnion: 800.916.8800