Security and Identity Theft
Identity theft is a growing problem in the United States, and local police are reporting more instances of ID theft in Bloomington-Normal and surrounding communities in McLean County.
To better help you protect yourself, MICU recommends the following safeguards (as also recommend by MSN Money):
- Monitor your credit report. They are available free annually at www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling toll free 877.322.8228. Or pick up an application at the credit union and send your request.
- Shred private records, statements, and mail solicitations.
- Empty your mailbox quickly or get a post office box.
- Don't mail bill payments or checks from home. Use the post office or other secure locations.
- Lock away your Social Security card and do not display your social security number on checks, health insurance cards, or other forms of identification.
- Never leave ATM, credit card, or gas receipts behind.
- Never let your credit card out of your sight. The number can be skimmed or your card switched by workers who take your card to another location for swiping.
- Be wary of callers asking for identity or financial information. Ask who they are, what company they represent and the reason for the call. If the request sounds legitimate, contact the company to confirm what you were told before you give them any information.
- Register with the national Do-Not-Call registry toll free at 888.382.1222.
- Review your credit card statements carefully. If you don’t need or use department-store credit cards, close the accounts.
If you suspect fraud or ID theft:
- Contact your financial institution and let them know that you suspect a problem.
- Contact creditors for any accounts affected.
- File a report with police.
- Get a copy of the police report in case the credit union, credit card company, or creditor need proof of the crime.
- Keep records of telephone and written correspondence related to clearing up fraud.
- Contact the fraud departments at each of the major credit reporting agencies. Tell them you're an identity theft victim. Request a "fraud alert" be placed in your file along with a victim's statement asking creditors to call you before opening new accounts or changing existing accounts.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides an Identity Theft Affidavit form that is helpful for victims of identity theft.