Identity Theft is an ever growing and ever-changing threat in the financial industry. Below are several reminders and some useful information outlining what to do should you become a victim of identity theft. This information is helpful in the event that you or a loved one have to deal with this type of crime.
The importance of knowing what’s in your credit report can’t be stressed enough. After providing your personal information and answering questions designed to verify your identity, you can access your current credit report. There are three consumer reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax and Trans Union) and if you request a report from one of the three companies every 4 months, you can keep tabs on your credit year-round! But keep in mind, Annualcreditreport.com is the only website that offers truly free access to your credit report.
Did you know that you can freeze your own credit file so that no one can access your information without permission? Since 2018, the power to freeze access to a credit report has been in the hands of the consumer. Anyone can freeze their own credit report, regardless of whether or not they have been the victim of identity theft. There’s no cost to place a freeze on your credit and it will remain in place until you remove it. A credit freeze restricts access to your credit report, which would prohibit anyone (including you) from obtaining new credit in your name unless the freeze is removed. To get started, contact each of the three credit bureaus mentioned above at their website or through the U.S. mail.
If you suspect or confirm that your identity has been compromised, you can place a “fraud alert” on your credit report. This type of alert lasts for one year and will require potential creditors to verify your identity further before extending credit. Like the credit freeze, a fraud alert is free to establish. To set up a fraud alert, contact one of the three credit bureaus and ask them to notify the other two bureaus on your behalf.
Credit Monitoring Services
Credit monitoring services come in all shapes and sizes these days. And while they can’t claim to prevent ID theft, they can alert you sooner to potential fraud resulting from ID theft. Should you decide to sign up with a credit monitoring service, the key is to keep your contact information current, in case they need to alert you about suspicious activity.
If you become a victim of identity theft, it is recommended to contact local law enforcement. At the very least, you will obtain an official record documenting your run in with this type of fraud. This record can then be shared with debtors trying to collect debts established in your name.
ID Theft Resources
There’s a vast amount of information and resources available on the Federal Trade Commission website. If you suspect your identity may have been compromised you can follow their step–by-step guide to answer questions about your situation and create a personal recovery plan.
At First Keystone, we have a dedicated Fraud Department to help prevent, detect and assist with ID theft situations. Our Fraud Department can provide informational materials concerning safe guarding yourself from or reacting to identity theft. You can request these free resources through your local branch.
First Keystone Community Bank is always here to help. Contact your local branch to speak with a friendly Keystone Banker who can assist with your questions so you know what to do about identity theft.