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Protect Against Identity Theft

If someone uses your personal identifying information for financial gain, for example, uses your existing credit card or checks to make purchases at a retail store, or uses your personal identifying information to open or create new accounts or credit for financial gain, you are... the victim of an identity theft. In order to protect your good credit, you must implement some basic safeguards.

 

Ways your personal information can be obtained:

  • Removing mail from your mailbox, such as bank statements, and pre-approved credit card applications, new checks or tax information.
  • Stealing your purse or wallet.
  • Going through trash to find credit card receipts or other financial documents, or other type of paper with personal information on it.
  • Posing as your employer, a loan officer, or a landlord to obtain your credit report.

Protect Your Cards:

  • Try to carry only one card. If your purse or wallet is lost or stolen, it will be a much easier process to have to report only one card stolen.
  • Immediately report a lost or stolen credit card to the issuing company. By making a prompt report you are limiting your personal liability. Also, this helps the company to stop unauthorized charges by canceling your credit card number.
  • Don’t write your Personal Identification Number (PIN) on your credit card. Also, don’t put your PIN on a piece of paper in your purse or in your wallet. This prevents a thief from using your PIN to make cash withdrawals using your stolen credit card.

Don't Reveal Your Number:

  • A thief only needs your credit card number to make unauthorized purchases. Some businesses do not require to see an actual credit card or verify a signature to authorize a purchase. There are theft rings where new credit cards are made using your stolen number. You can protect your card number by following these basic security precautions:

      • Don’t give out your credit card number over the telephone, or over the internet, unless you initiated the telephone call transactions, and then only if you trust the company that you are doing business with.
      • When you are making a purchase at a store, shield your credit card from the people in line behind you. Some thieves look over the shoulder of customers to obtain credit card numbers.
      • Don’t throw your credit card receipts in the trash. If possible, obtain a personal shredder and shred all discarded financial documents. Insist on being given your credit card receipt and carbon copies at stores.
      • Check your monthly credit card statement to make sure that all purchases are legitimate. If there are any purchases that you did not make, contact the credit card company immediately.
      • Make sure that the amounts charged on your statement are accurate. Most merchants are very honest, but there are exceptions to every rule. Be alert to cases where your credit card slip was altered after your signed it. To avoid this possibility, always total your charge slip before signing. Don’t leave blank spaces where additional amounts can be added in.
      • NEVER sign a blank charge slip.

Related Links:

 

21 Credit Card Fraud Prevention Tips

Better Business Bureau

Consumer Action 

Credit Reporting Agencies

Federal Trade Commission Hotline for victims to report identity theft and obtain help: 1-877-ID-THEFT. (1-877-438-4338)

Nebraska Attorney General Identity Theft Kit

Non-sufficient funds or closed account check issue?

Tips on how to protect yourself Against Identity Theft

Wallet, purse, checkbook is lost or stolen