Steps to avoid being a victim of Identity Theft
Identity Theft occurs when someone uses your name, Social Security number, credit card number or other personal information without your permission to commit fraud. At Carolina Trust Bank we want to help ensure that your private information remains secure – at the bank and in all your transactions.
The following information provides guidelines on how to protect yourself against Identity Theft and minimize the damage if your information is accidentally disclosed or deliberately stolen.
What You Need to Know:
Identity thieves have several ways to obtain your personal information. They might steal your wallet or purse to get your ID, credit cards and debit cards. They also search the trash or steal your mail for bank statements, receipts, credit card offers, health insurance forms, tax information and other financial information. Some thieves access information from offices where you are a customer, employee, patient or student.
To avoid becoming a victim, it’s important to take the following measures to protect your personal information.
Reduce Your Risk:
Now that you know how Identity Theft can occur, here are some safeguards to lower the chance that it will happen to you:
- Protect your Social Security number: Don’t carry your Social Security card with you – leave it in a safe place.
- Guard your passwords and personal identification numbers (PINs): Avoid using information such as your mother’s maiden name, your birth date, and the last four digits of your Social Security number or phone number.
- Be protective of giving out personal information over the phone or Internet: The best way to know whom you are dealing with is to initiate the phone call or type the Internet address in your browser address bar. Remember we will never call and ask for personal information.
- Shred financial documents before you throw them out.Also, remove new mail from your mailbox promptly and send outgoing mail from the post office or a secure drop box.
- Review your credit report annually for incorrect information. Federal law gives consumers the right to a free credit report every year from the three national reporting agencies. Free credit reports can be requested through http://www.AnnualCreditReport.com.
- Check your financial accounts regularly for charges you did not make. Also, keep a list of all your credit cards and account numbers in a secure location and watch your incoming mail for missing statements.
- Find out who has access to your personal information at work. Verify that records are kept in a secure location.
Act Quickly If Identity Theft Happens to You:
If you suspect your personal information has been misused, take action immediately by following these three steps:
- Contact the fraud department of one of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit report. The company you call is required to notify the other two credit bureaus to place an alert on their versions of your report. The fraud alert tells creditors to contact you before opening any new accounts or making changes to existing accounts. Also, ask for a free copy of your credit report and request that only the last four digits of your Social Security number appear on your report.
Credit Bureaus Address Report Fraud Equifax P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
1-800-525-6285 Experian P.O. Box 2002
Allen, TX 75013
1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742) TransUnion Fraud Victim Assistance Division
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
- Contact your creditors to close any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. If you believe your Carolina Trust Bank accounts or credit cards were used fraudulently, contact the bank as soon as possible.
- File a police report with your local police department or the police in the community where the identity theft took place. Request a copy of the report to submit as proof to your creditors.