Identity theft occurs when someone steals important pieces of your personal information – such as your name, driver’s license, Social Security Number or account numbers – and uses them fraudulently, without your knowledge.Once your identity has been stolen, identity thieves can open new credit cards and bank accounts, apply for credit, drain your bank and brokerage accounts and run up bills in your name. This activity can quickly destroy your credit rating and leave you with the complicated task of clearing your name.
Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
Identity theft often happens without your knowledge. Know what the signs are that your identity has been stolen and how you can help protect yourself from identity theft. Your personal information can be stolen from any place, at any time. Many cases of identity theft begin with criminals raiding outside mailboxes, dumpsters, or garbage cans. Other identity theft scams happen through telemarketing, computer hacking, and even through thieves who bribe retailers or other institutions to copy down personal customer information.
Signs Of Identity Theft:
Be aware of the following signs that may indicate your identity has been stolen:
- unexpected charges on your credit cards
- unexplained changes in your bank account balances
- withdrawals from your investment accounts without your knowledge
- unexpected bills from companies you don’t do business with
- denial of loan applications
- increases in the interest rates on your credit cards
- calls from collection agencies
- strange e-mails
- solicitations from foreign countries
- acknowledgements of donations you didn’t make
Protect Yourself From Identity Theft:
The following tips can help protect you from identity theft:
- Buy and install a locking mailbox.
- Use a shredder to dispose of credit card offers, credit card receipts, old checks, bills and other documents that contain personal information or account numbers.
- Get a copy of your credit report at least once a year. Obtain a free credit report annual by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com.
- Review your statements carefully when they arrive.
- Follow up promptly on unexpected bills from companies you don’t do business with.
- Keep credit cards, Social Security Cards, bank and credit card statements and other personal information in a secure, locked area.
- Never carry your Social Security Card in your purse or wallet.
- Avoid putting personal information in the trash.
- Keep your personal information private.
- Check new orders of checks carefully to ensure none are missing.
- Make electronic payments whenever possible.
- Stop paper statements. Enroll in First Reliance Bank Online Statements
- Get alerts from your financial institutions to monitor your account activity. Set up alerts in your online banking.
What If You Are A Victim of Identity Theft.If you are a victim of identity theft, it’s important that you take action as soon as you notice something is missing or wrong.
Identity Theft FAQs. Find answers to your questions about identity theft.