Identity Theft Protection
Buckeye urges you to follow these best practices to avoid and address identity theft.
First – understand Identity Theft
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information without your knowledge to commit fraud or other crimes. Victims may be unaware of the activity until months after the incident.
Identity Theft happens in many ways:
• After a theft of wallet, purse or mail.
• By stealing personnel records from employers.
• By pretending to be financial institutions or businesses and sending spam email (called phishing) or pop-up messages in an attempt to get you to reveal your personal information.
• Identity thieves will also rummage through the trash at your home or workplace looking for bills or other documents with your personal information on it.
• Review your credit reports (free annually) at AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.
• Place a fraud alert on your credit bureau files if you feel information has been exposed.
• Frequently shred your personal & financial documents, staying aware of the latest scams, protecting your home computer with anti-spyware, virus detection software and firewalls. Keep these programs up to date.
• Secure your mail with Postal Service Mail Box or by placing your outgoing mail into locked mailbox.
• Sign up for e-statement services – not only does it protect your monthly statement, it reduces paper and postage.
• Safeguard your Social Security Number – don’t leave your Social Security Card in your wallet. Always ask why when a person requests your SSN for business purposes.
• Don’t leave a paper trail. Never leave ATM, credit card or gas station receipts behind.
• Know with whom you are speaking with before providing any confidential information.
• Never click on in an unsolicited email.
Be alert for warning signs of possible Identity Theft, such as:
• Regular bills that do not arrive as expected.
• Denials of credit for no apparent reason.
• Account Statements or credit cards in the mail that you were not expecting.
• Calls or letters concerning purchases you did not make.
If You Think You Are a Victim
• Bank accounts compromised? Notify those Financial Institution(s). Make a note for your file of what Institution was contacted, who you talked to and the date/time your call was made.
• Place a verbal password on your accounts to prevent thieves from calling in and finding out more about your financial transactions.
• Close or transfer those tampered accounts to a new account number.
• Request that any account that was fraudulently opened in your name be closed immediately.
• Place a Fraud Alert on your Credit Report. You can do this by contacting the Credit Bureaus: Experian: 1-888-397-3742; Equifax: 1-800-685-1111; TransUnion: 1-800-888-4213
• Request a copy of your Credit Reports and review them carefully. Question any unknown activity and report disputes in writing.
• File a police report and maintain a copy in your file for future reference.
• File a report with the Federal Trade Commission online via ftc.gov.
• Watch for future attempts. Identity Thieves often will lay low for months and then strike again, hoping to catch you off guard.