Identity theft is on the rise, and each year, millions of people become victims of the crime. Click here to learn how identity theft can affect you and how you can prevent it.
Avoid Becoming an Identity Theft Victim
- Refrain from carrying unnecessary information such as PINs, passwords, or Social Security Numbers in your wallet or purse.
- Do not give out personal information over the phone, by mail, or on the Internet unless you have a trusted relationship with the company and you initiated the contact.
- Protect your PINs and passwords.
- Avoid selecting passwords that use easily detected information such as birthdays, kids' names and your name.
- Do not leave mail in your mailbox for a long period of time.
- Shred sensitive documents.
Monitor your credit file online for free!
Equifax has introduced a free, online fraud alert product for consumers to freeze and monitor your credit file when you suspect you are a victim of fraud/identity theft. You will have the ability to request an initial 90-day fraud alert, an extended fraud alert or an active military duty alert.
In addition, Equifax will work with two other agencies, Experian and TransUnion, so that when you request an alert through Equifax, your request is automatically sent to the other two agencies. Generally, all three agencies will place your alert request within 48 hours.
To request a fraud alert click here.
Key Phrases to Watch for in Fraudulent Emails
- "Verify your account" - Affinity Credit Union or other businesses will not ask you to send passwords, login names, Social Security numbers, or other personal information through e-mail.
- "If you don't respond within 48 hours, your account will be closed" - Phishing messages convey a sense of urgency so that you'll respond immediately without thinking.
- "Dear Valued Customer" - Phishing messages are usually sent out in bulk and often do not contain your first or last name.
- "Click the link below to gain access to your account"
The links contained in phishing messages may contain all or part of a company's name but are usually 'masked', meaning the link you see does not take you to that address but usually to a phony web site.