Fraud Protection Center
Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
It is estimated that 9.9 million Americans were victims of identity theft in 2004. Identity-Theft is the fastest growing crime in America; 9.9 MILLION victims were reported last year, according to a Federal Trade Commission survey!
Don’t become identity theft’s next victim
There are simple precautions that will keep your identity safe. We’ve provided the following information as a courtesy to help protect you from identity fraud and other criminal activities. Review the links and information on this page to learn how to protect your personal and financial information.
If your identity has been stolen, here’s what to do:
- Call Wauna Federal Credit Union at 800-773-3236 for immediate assistance.
- Contact the fraud departments of any one of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit file. The fraud alert requests creditors to contact you before opening any new accounts or making any changes to your existing accounts. As soon as one credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the other two credit bureaus will be automatically notified to place fraud alerts, and all three credit reports will be sent to you at no cost.
- Credit Bureaus: Experian , Equifax and Trans Union
- Close the accounts that you know or believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
- Use the FTC’s ID Theft Affidavit when disputing new unauthorized accounts.
- File a police report. Get a copy of the report to submit to your creditors and others that may require proof of the crime.
- File your complaint with the FTC. The FTC maintains a database of identity theft cases used by law enforcement agencies for investigations. Filing a complaint also helps us learn more about identity theft and the problems victims are having so that we can better assist you.
- If you believe you have been a victim of Mail Fraud, submit a mail fraud complaint form with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
Be Smart. Protect Yourself from Identity Theft. The following information is designed to safeguard your financial information.
- Credit Card Fraud Protection
- Identity Theft Protection
- Check Cashing Fraud Protection
- ATM Fraud Protection
- ATM Scams
- Precautions to take for countering these scams
Credit card fraud generally occurs when cards or card numbers are compromised. By following these simple guidelines your potential for loss can be minimized.
Tips for protecting yourself against credit card fraud
- Keep a list of all your credit cards including the account number and phone number to the issuing company.
- Review your credit card statement as soon as possible. Match charges with your receipts to ensure all charges are yours and are for the correct amount.
- Always sign a new credit card immediately.
- When making a purchase with a credit card, make sure you get back the card and the receipt. Check the receipt for accuracy.
- When using a credit card at a restaurant or store, make sure that all blank lines are marked through so that no one can change the final amount.
- Never sign blank credit card receipts.
- Only travel with the credit cards you plan on using.
- Never give the account number of the credit card over the phone unless you initiate the call.
- When making an order over the telephone, try to avoid using a cordless phone. Cordless phones messages can be easily intercepted by devices as unsophisticated as baby monitors and police scanners.
- Do not write the PIN for the account on the card.
Identity theft can occur when an individual obtains personal information, such as your social security number, date of birth, address, and financial account numbers. Once this information is obtained, the thieves will assume or take on your identity, allowing them to illegally purchase items or obtain credit. By following these simple guidelines, your potential for loss due to identity theft can be greatly reduced.
Tips for protecting yourself against identity theft
- Check your credit report on a regular basis to ensure the information is correct.
- Immediately tear up (using a shredder is even better!) unsolicited credit card offers.
- Never give personal information over the phone unless you initiated the phone call.
- Never give a credit card number over the phone unless you have initiated the phone call.
- Always be familiar with financial accounts that you currently maintain. Verify statements and other information sent by your financial institution for accuracy.
This guide provides tips for protecting yourself against check cashing fraud. Check cashing fraud occurs when individuals use information taken from your checks, or the checks themselves, to access your accounts and commit fraudulent acts. By following these simple guidelines you can greatly reduce your risk of becoming a victim.
Tips for protecting yourself against check cashing fraud
- Always safeguard your checks. Do not leave your checks out in an open area. Never leave your checks in your car or out on your desk at the office.
- Keep your blank checks and canceled checks in a safe place. Put them in a vault or other secure location. Destroy old blank checks if you are not going to use them.
- Limit the amount of personal information printed on the checks to your name and address. Use plain designed checks. The fancier the check the easier it is to forge the signature. Useful information for thieves includes not only your account numbers, but information used to verify your identity, such as your driver’s license number, social security number, and secret codes. Don’t have this information printed on your checks.
- Don’t leave your bill payments sitting in an unlocked mailbox for pickup. Many credit thieves will steal bills from rural mailboxes at the end of driveways so they can get your account information, checking information, and even your checks. Go to the Post Office directly or use a curbside USPS mailbox (the blue metal ones) and drop your bills in the slot rather than using less secure street mailboxes.
- Be discreet when writing checks in public places. Write your checks carefully and leave no space in which figures or words can be inserted.
- When you make an error in writing a check, be sure to destroy the check or write “canceled” across it and store it with your other canceled checks.
- If your checks are lost or stolen, report it immediately to your financial institution.
- Reconcile your monthly statements as soon as you can to ensure all transactions are accurate. Contact us immediately if you do not receive it when expected. Be sure to contact your institution within that time frame to ensure that proper attention is given to reconciling the problem.
- When you reorder checks, mark your calendar. If you don’t receive your checks within 15 working days, contact your financial institution immediately to inquire as to the status of the order.
- Consider alternatives to check writing. For instance, paying by phone, online, or setting up automatic payments. Fewer checks mean fewer theft opportunities.
ATM fraud can occur when individuals lose their card, give their card to someone else to use, or when their Personal Identification Number’s confidentiality is compromised. By following these simple guidelines you can greatly reduce your exposure to ATM fraud.
Tips for protecting yourself against ATM fraud
- Never write your Personal Identification Number (PIN) on your card or in your wallet. Memorize your PIN as soon as possible. Do not reveal your PIN to anyone not authorized to use the account.
- Never use your date of birth, social security number, license number or street address as a PIN — those are the first numbers a crook will try.
- Don’t throw away your ATM receipts at the ATM location. Keep them to reconcile your account, then dispose of them properly when you get home.
- Always be aware of your surroundings when using the ATM. If it is late at night, try to use a machine that is well lit and avoid dark, remote locations.
- Always make sure to retrieve your ATM card from the machine when the transaction is complete.
- Be aware of the person behind you. Make sure no one can see you entering your PIN or how much money you withdraw.
- Review your statement promptly to ensure all transactions are accurate. Report any discrepancies immediately.
- Destroy old ATM cards immediately after receiving your replacement cards.
In addition to the types ATM fraud that most of us are now aware of, there are two new types that can clean out your account quickly — card withholding and skimming.
Card withholding occurs when your card gets stuck in the ATM, you can’t get it out, and you leave the card in the ATM planning to contact the financial institution the next morning. When you call you find that the card was not stuck in the ATM. What happens is that thieves put a substance into the ATM card slot which will cause your card to stick inside the ATM. They leave the ATM and wait for someone to attempt to use the it. They then get in line behind the you and try to watch you enter your Personal Identification Number (PIN). This is very common at drive-up ATMs where the user may not be paying attention to other people or cars nearby.
The thieves even go so far as to put up a sign on the ATM stating: “If your card gets stuck, enter your PIN three separate times to retrieve it.” This gives them three tries to watch you enter your PIN. After you leave frustrated, and planning to contact the ATM owner the next morning, they remove your card with a pair pliers. They can then use your card at other ATMs and Point-of-Sale (POS) terminals.
Skimming is done at businesses that offer Point-of-Sale (POS) devices for you to pay with your ATM card, such as gas stations. The thieves connect a device over the genuine card reader. When you swipe your card in the POS device to make a payment the information on the magnetic strip on your ATM card is copied and saved on the device. The thieves come back later to retrieve the device and either sell your card information or use it to create a card on blank stock using your card information. This technique can also be used on some ATM machines.
- Before inserting your ATM card into an ATM inspect the card slot for any residue.
- If there is residue, don’t use that ATM. If there is a notice on the ATM about entering your PIN several times, don’t use that ATM.
- Always cover your hand when entering your PIN: if the thieves don’t have your PIN, they can’t access your account.
- Don’t be afraid to gently tug on the card reader to be sure a skimming device has not been attached.
Actions for Fraud Victims
If you suspect fraud, it is important to act quickly to minimize potential damage and your own liability. It is important to keep a detailed account of conversations you have with authorities and financial institutions.
Immediately call the fraud units of the three credit reporting companies — Experian (formerly TRW), Equifax and Trans Union. Ask that your account include a statement referencing the possibility of fraud.
Contact all creditors immediately with whom your name has been used fraudulently — by phone and in writing. Monitor your accounts closely for any further fraudulent activity.
Report the crime to police with jurisdiction in your case. Provide any documentation that you have collected. Get a copy of your police report. Keep the phone number of your fraud investigator handy and give it to creditors and others who require verification of your case.
If you have checks stolen or bank accounts set up fraudulently, contact the institution to report the crime. Put stop payments on appropriate outstanding checks. Close your checking and savings accounts and open new accounts. If your ATM card is stolen or compromised, get a new card and PIN. When choosing a PIN, don’t use common numbers like the last four digits of your Social Security number, your date of birth, license number or street address.
U.S. Postal Service
Notify the local Postal Inspector if you suspect an identity thief has filed a change of your address with the post office or has used the mail to commit credit or bank fraud.
Social Security Administration
Call to report fraudulent use of your Social Security number.
Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
Call to see if another license was issued in your name. Go to your local DMV to request a new number. Also, fill out the DMV’s complaint form to begin the fraud investigation process. Send supporting documents with the completed form to the nearest DMV investigation office. Request a driver’s license number different than your Social Security number if available in your state.
If a civil judgment has been entered in your name for actions taken by your impostor, contact the court where the judgment was entered and report that you are a victim of identity theft. If you are wrongfully prosecuted for criminal charges, contact the state Department of Justice and the FBI.