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Identity Theft

Help protect yourself from identity theft

Consumer security education

Many consumer agencies provide alerts about consumer scams based on the complaints they receive. As a result, consumers are able to learn about the different types of scams being perpetrated in today's environment. Increasing your awareness is critical to help avoid becoming a victim.

Become familiar with the following resources and save them as a favorite for future reference. These sites are updated as needed to help ensure consumers have the most up-to-date information:

If you believe you are the victim of consumer fraud, TDECU members are advised to report it to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov. The FTC enters Internet, identity theft and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. Notify your local law enforcement agency to report abusive and threatening calls and/or to file an Identity Theft Report. Notify the major credit reporting agencies (credit bureaus) to request a "fraud alert" on your file that will require creditors to call you before they open any accounts in your name. The major credit reporting agencies are:

Equifax: 800-525-6285

Experian: 888-397-3742

TransUnion: 800-680-7289

Education about scams and fraud is your first line of defense in keeping you and your information secure.

Dealing with identity theft

Identity Theft occurs when someone uses your personal identifying information, like your name, Social Security number, credit card number, or other personal information, without your permission, to commit fraud.

If your identity is stolen, your financial records and credit rating are at risk. Immediately contact your financial institution and all creditors. Close any accounts that have been tampered with or opened. Recap the contact in writing, including the names of the representatives you’ve spoken with, and send the letters and any photocopies of supporting documents via certified mail to the companies you’ve contacted.

Contact the three major credit bureaus - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion - and place a fraud alert on your credit reports. Request for your accounts to be flagged so no new credit is granted without permission and ask for a copy of your credit report from each agency.

Change all of your passwords. Use strong passwords that include numbers and special characters such as @ and $. For added protection, change your passwords frequently.

Notify your local police department and file an identity theft report. Mail copies to all of your creditors and financial institutions. You may be required to file an additional report in the location where the crime occurred.

Keep careful, written records of everything. File copies of all documents such as emails, messages, letters, and records of phone calls in a safe place.

What is identity theft?

Identity theft is a federal crime. It occurs when your personal information is unknowingly stolen and then used to commit fraud and other crimes. The most common ways fraudsters steal consumers' personal information online is through spoof emails and websites, social engineering, and other scams.

Tips to help you avoid identity theft

The first line of defense against identity theft is you. To help you from becoming a victim of this crime, we recommend the following:

Password tips

  • Make passwords as random as possible. Do not use things such as birthdays or phone numbers.
  • Never use the word PASSWORD as your password
  • Make sure your User ID and password are different
  • Protect your password. Never write it down or share it with anyone.
  • Change your password immediately if you think anyone knows it
  • Do not use the same password for every system you access
  • Create a strong password that includes numbers and special characters such as $ or @
  • Protect Your Social Security Number
  • Do not provide your personal information in response to an unsolicited request
  • Do not have your driver's license, telephone, or Social Security number printed on your bank checks
  • If someone asks for your Social Security number, ask why it's needed and how it will be used.

Be vigilant

Enroll in Online Banking at TDECU by clicking here and then check your accounts with frequency. If you see a suspicious item, call us immediately for further investigation.

Avoid mail-related risks

  • Enroll in Online Statements and no longer receive paper statements in the mail. This helps to reduce the threat of having your statements stolen out of your mailbox.
  • If you do not receive bills in a timely manner, call the companies to find out why. You want to be sure that no one has filed a false change of address notification on your behalf.
  • Do not leave outgoing mail in your home mailbox; instead, drop it into a secure, official Postal Service collection box
  • Ask your local post office to stop mail delivery while you are on vacation or ask a trustworthy neighbor to pick it up for you daily
  • Always shred important documents such as bank statements and items received in the mail before throwing them away. Most fraud and identity theft happens as a result of mail and garbage theft.
  • If you receive financial solicitations that you're not interested in, be sure to shred them before throwing them away
  • Consider opting out of unsolicited credit offers. Call 888-5-OPTOUT (888-567-8688)

General precautions

  • Review your credit report at least once a year to check for inaccuracies
  • Make photocopies of important information you carry on a regular basis (driver’s license, credit cards, etc.) and store them in a secure place such as a safe deposit box
  • Store your canceled checks and new checks in a safe place
  • Report lost or stolen checks, debit, or credit cards IMMEDIATELY
  • When shopping, avoid placing receipts in the same bag as your purchases. Do not leave your receipts behind on counters or at fuel pumps.
  • Know when your credit cards expire and notify the issuers promptly if they have not arrived
  • Be cautious about where you leave personal information in your home, especially if you have outside help or are having service work done on your home
  • When you go out, take only the personal identification and credit cards you believe you will need
  • Do not carry your Social Security card with you. Memorize your number and leave it in a secure place.
  • Consider removing your Social Security number from your driver's license, if permitted by state law

How to report identity theft

Identity Theft is a serious matter to TDECU. If you believe you are a victim of identity theft:

Call TDECU at 800-839-1154

Notify the major credit reporting agencies (credit bureaus). Call the fraud departments of all three credit bureaus. Ask them to put a "fraud alert" on your file. This tells creditors to call you before they open any accounts in your name:

Equifax: 800-525-6285

Experian: 888-397-3742

TransUnion: 800-680-7289

Notify your local law enforcement agency to file an Identity Theft Report.