Identity theft occurs when a thief obtains – and illegally uses – your identifying information, such as your Social Security Number (SSN), your credit card, or checking account numbers to open new credit accounts and apply for loans in your name.
Traditionally, ID thieves have struck by redirecting mail, stealing sales receipts, and shoulder surfing – peeking over people's shoulders while they're at the ATM (Automated Teller Machine). Technology expands these opportunities.
Identity thieves aren't only picking sales receipts and credit card offers out of trash cans to steal your information. They're using highly technical methods. They spoof, spam, and phish.
Spoofers create a replica of an existing Web page to fool a user into submitting personal, financial, or password data.
Make sure the Web sites you visit show a padlock near the bottom of your browser window -- the padlock signifies the sue of SSL (secure sockets layer) technology. By convention, URLs (uniform resource locators) that require a safe connection start with https: or s-http:.
Spammers send unsolicited e-mail indiscriminately to multiple mailing lists, individuals, or newsgroups. These e-mails include advertisements, viruses, and hoaxes. Report spam by sending an e-mail to the FTC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phishers create and use e-mails and Web sites – designed to look like e-mails and Web sites of well-known legitimate businesses, financial institutions, and government agencies – to deceive users into disclosing financial institutions and account information or other personal data such as usernames and passwords.
The FACT Act helps ensure that all citizens are treated fairly when they apply for credit. It provides new national ID theft protections as well.
Before, identity theft victims had to call all their credit card issuers and the three major credit bureaus to alert them to crime. Now, credit bureaus will share identity theft complaints, and consumers only will need to make one call to receive advice, set off a nationwide fraud alert, and protect their credit standing.
The Act also allows active duty military personnel to place special alerts on their files when they are deployed overseas.
You are required to provide your SSN for:
You can and may want to refuse to provide your SSN in these situations:
For more information on preventing identity theft, or if you have had an issue with your Keystone Credit Union account and suspect your identity may have been stolen, contact our Tyler, Texas office today at (903) 882-4343.