Identity Theft

Theif with computer
What is ID Theft Prevention Are you a Victim Protecting Children


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What is ID Theft?:

Part of Fire Police City County Federal Credit Union's responsibility to you, our members, is keep you informed about potential threats to your financial privacy. Identity theft, the fastest-growing financial crime, occurs when someone uses another's Social Security number, name, mother's maiden name, or any personally identifiable information to purchase goods or services.

Unfortunately, one of the most frustrating points about identity theft is that it could be happening to you for months, even years, before you find out about it. If you think this type of theft only happens to individuals who shop online, or unknowingly give their credit card number to a thief masquerading as a telemarketer, think again! According to law enforcement officials and postal inspectors, mail theft continues to grow in popularity, putting absolutely everyone at risk - including you!

Mail thieves particularly look for checks, credit cards, financial institution account numbers, incoming or outgoing bills, and other financial information. For example, a thief only needs a pre-approved credit card offer you threw away last week to get the information he needs.


Prevention:

Be proactive against identity thieves.

The first step in protecting yourself is awareness. Some ideas on how to help you protect your privacy are outlined below... Just knowing that almost any piece of paper that identifies you and some aspect of your financial life can be of value to someone, can help you behave more responsibly.

  • Shred everything before you throw it away. (That's right, there is such a thing as "dumpster diving." Thieves think nothing of going through your trash, looking for credit card offers, receipts, statements, etc.)
  • Don't put checks in the mail from your home mailbox. Drop them off at a U.S. mailbox or Post Office.
  • Cancel credit cards that you have not used in over six months. The same applies to old forms of ID you still carry in your wallet but don't need. Destroy them!
  • Always monitor your financial statements from month to month. Make sure you recognize all transactions.
  • If you don't receive that payment, new credit card or new box of checks that you're expecting, contact the issuer immediately.
  • Some retailers print both the checking account number and the ABA routing number on the receipt when purchases are made by check. If you're not going to save these merchant receipts, destroy them before throwing them away. Better yet, use a debit card so the transaction is protected by your PIN (personal identification number).
  • Enroll in Identity Secure. The first step to securing both your family's and your own identity.

What to do if you have been Victimized:

If you suspect you've become a victim of fraudulent activity, take immediate action.

Start the process of recovery by contacting the following agencies:
Federal Trade Commission 877-ID THEFT (438-4338) www.ftc.gov/ftc/contact.shtm
Equifax 800-525-6285 www.equifax.com
Experian 888-397-3742 www.experian.com
Trans Union 800-680-7289 www.transunion.com/index.jsp
Fire Police City County FCU 800-435-3093 www.fpccfcu.org/contactUs

When you call these agencies, trained counselors provide information on the steps consumers should take to resolve problems and repair damage to their credit records. They may refer certain cases to law enforcement agencies, regulatory agencies, or private entities that can help. Ask each agency to place a "fraud alert" in your file, so lenders and other credit report users will be careful before starting or changing accounts in your name.

Alert any credit card company, or other financial institution that may need to know. Ask to speak with someone in the security or fraud department, and follow up with a letter. If necessary, close old accounts and open new ones, and select new passwords and PINs (personal identification numbers). Your call also may alert the credit union to scams that might be targeting other members.

Also inform local police or authorities where the identity theft occurred. Fill out a police report detailing what happened. Get a copy of the completed report- that can help clear up questions and problems when dealing with creditors and other financial institutions.


Protecting your Child from Identity Theft

Young people are easy targets because the theft may not be realized until years later, when the victim tries to open a new bank account or apply for his or her first credit card. Some warning signs of child identity theft include:
  • Pre-approved credit-card offers arriving in the mail for your child
  • Bank, credit-card or other financial statements that arrive in your child's name. This excludes those accounts that are held jointly by you and your child
  • Collection-agency notifications or calls in your child's name
To protect your child from identity theft:
  • Don't carry his or her Social Security card in your wallet or purse
  • Be cautious with the release of your child's personal information
  • Limit the copies of your child's birth certificate and Social Security number that you give out
  • You may be asked to provide such copies in order to allow your child to participate in sports or other extracurricular activities, reports the Identity Theft Resource Center. If so, make sure you ask who will have access to the information and where it will be stored
How to get your child's credit report from the top three Credit Bureaus

Identity theft of children is often hard to detect until they turn 18. By then, however, their credit may be ruined. Here are instructions for contacting the top three credit bureaus if you suspect your child's a victim of identity theft. When contacting each credit reporting agency with an inquiry, you will most likely have to do so in writing. It is very important that when sending in sensitive information, such as copies of birth certificates and Social Security cards, that you mail your documentation in a registered, return-receipt envelope or package.

Experian:

Send Experian a letter requesting a copy of your child's credit report. The letter must be accompanied with the following materials:
  • A current copy of the parent or guardian's driver's license
  • Proof of the parent or guardian's address (such as a bank statement, telephone bill, credit card statement, etc.)
  • A copy of the child's birth certificate
  • A copy of the child's Social Security card
  • A listing of previous addresses for the past two years
  • The child's full name (including middle name and generation - Jr., Sr. I, II, etc.)
  • Mail all the documents and the letter to: Experian, P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013
  • Upon receipt of the letter and verification of the items above, Experian will search the database for a file and respond to the parent or guardian with the results
  • The steps listed above can be heard by calling Experian at (888) 397-3742 and follow the prompts.
Experian's mailing address is:
    Experian
    P.O. Box 9532
    Allen, TX 75013

Equifax:

As part of the request, parents will need to provide a copy of the child's birth certificate and a copy of the parent's ID or guardianship papers as well as:
  • A copy of the child's Social Security card
  • The child's address
  • The child's full name
  • The child's date of birth
Equifax asks that the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) send their request to:
    Equifax Minor Child Department
    P.O. Box 105139
    Atlanta, GA 30348

Upon receipt of the documents listed above, Equifax will attempt to locate a file for the minor child and place an alert on the child's Social Security number. Once Equifax's research is complete, they will send a response back to the parent(s) or legal guardian(s).

TransUnion:

Send an e-mail request to childidtheft@TransUnion.com, requesting the agency to check to see if a credit file exists under your child's name or Social Security number. The agency then investigates if a credit file does exists. If there is no credit file, then the parent will receive an e-mail stating there is no credit file, but if there is one, the parent will be instructed to send in more information, including:
  • A copy of the child's Social Security card
  • The child's address
  • The child's full name
  • The child's date of birth and a copy of the minor child's birth certificate
  • The parent's government-issued proof of identity, which includes your current address
  • A copy of current utility bill that also reflects your current address
  • Your child's complete name, address and date of birth
TransUnion's mailing address is:
    TransUnion
    PO Box 6790
    Fullerton, CA 92834