How to Recognize Signs of Identity Theft and Fraud
The first big step in protecting yourself from identity theft is awarenessand that means being able to define and recognize it when its happening.
At PAFCU we want to ensure our Members possess the knowledge to recognize these warning signs early on to protect yourself and your assets.
- You No Longer Get Your Household Bills in the Mail
An absence of bills in the mail could mean your personal data has been compromised, and the identity thief has changed your billing address.
- You Are Turned Down for a Loan or Credit
If you're rejected for credit, but have a history of good credit health, you might have been targeted by an identity thief. If you're approved for a loan or credit, but at higher interest rates, that's also a sign you may have been victimized by identity theft.
- You Are Being Billed for Purchases You Didn't Buy
Invoices for purchases you don't recognize, or if you're being billed for overdue payments for credit accounts you don't own, that's a sign you've been victimized by I.D. fraud.
- Your Financial Accounts Have Transactions That Appear Fraudulent
If your bank, credit card or other financial account show unauthorized transactions, those accounts may have been breached.
- Your Tax Return Is Rejected
If you filed your tax returns and received a rejection notice from the Internal Revenue Service, that could indicate a return has been fraudulently filed in your name.
- Test Charges Appear on Your Credit Card Statement
It's common practice for identity thieves to "test" that a stolen card is still active by making low-cost purchases of under $5.00. If the credit card is approved, the fraudster knows that the path is clear for larger transactions.
How to protect yourself against Identity Fraud
The first big step in protecting yourself from identity theft is awarenessand that means being able to define and recognize it when its happening. If an individual's credit information falls into the wrong hands that person could be susceptible to losing valuable assets. Therefore it is imperative that everyone especially those with important assets to protect; such as homes, cars, bank accounts, etc., should freeze their accounts which can be done easily and at no cost.
Did you know that you can put a freeze on your account for FREE? To do so contact the major financial companies listed below and follow the instructions.
Equifax: www.freeze.equifax.com (or call 1-800-525-6285)
Experian: www.experian.com (or call 1-888-397-3742)
Transunion: Call 1-800-916-8800
At the conclusion of each transaction you will receive either a PIN or Password. They should be stored in a very safe place such as a safe deposit box. Only retrieve them when transacting a purchase (such as buying a car, applying for a loan, etc) that requires to unfreeze the account and be sure to freeze the account after your business has been transacted. To learn more visit Experian here.
Con artists may try to get your Medicare Number or personal information so they can steal your identity and commit Medicare fraud. Medicare fraud results in higher health care costs and taxes for everyone.
Protect yourself from Medicare fraud. Guard your Medicare card like its a credit card. Remember:
- Medicare will never contact you for your Medicare Number or other personal information unless youve given them permission in advance.
- Medicare will never call you to sell you anything.
- You may get calls from people promising you things if you give them a Medicare Number. Dont do it.
- Medicare will never visit you at your home.
- Medicare can't enroll you over the phone unless you called first.
Check regularly for Medicare billing fraud. Review your Medicare claims and Medicare Summary Notices for any services billed to your Medicare Number you dont recognize.
Report anything suspicious to Medicare. If you suspect fraud, call 1-800-MEDICARE.