4. Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) theft hotline: 1-877-438-4338 or https://www.ftc.gov (Report Identity Theft link)
Federal Trade Commission – Identity Theft Recovery Plan Booklet: indentitytheft.gov
5. Nebraska Attorney General: 1-800-727-6432 or https://www.ago.nebraska.gov
(Consumer Protection link, Identity Theft link)
6. File a report with the Adams County Sheriff’s Department and obtain a copy of the police report to use as proof for creditors to absolve any fraudulent debts.
7. Call the Social Security Fraud Hotline: 1-800-269-0271 or https://www.ssa.gov(Report Fraud link)
Safeguarding Your Information
- Never provide your personal information to a caller over the phone, over the internet, or by email.
- You should be the one to initiate the contact if providing personal information is required. You should call the financial institution or company by using a phone listed in a phone book directory that you have verified yourself.
- Ensure your own personal computer has updated anti-virus and firewall protections. Apply security patches for all of your programs and operating systems regularly.
- Ensure your passwords are unique and changed regularly. Never use names, birthdays, phone numbers or anything that may be easy to guess. Never write down your password or give it to another person.
- Never provide your password over the phone, the internet or by email. A financial institution will never ask you to verify your account information online.
- Monitor your account activity frequently to catch any suspicious activity.
- Enroll in free Online Banking and access it frequently to review your account activity and catch any suspicious activity.
- Review your account statements promptly to make sure all the charges are correct and catch any suspicious activity. If your statement is late in arriving, call your financial institution to find out why.
- Enroll in free E-Statements to receive your statement via secure, password protected email to avoid having the paper statement
- If you suspect any fraudulent activity on your account, contact your financial institution immediately.
- If you have given out any of your personal information to a caller, on the internet or by email contact your financial institution immediately.
- When using an ATM (Automated Teller Machine) or gas pump, watch for skimming devices and be alert when entering your PIN number so that is not be seen by someone else.
What is Phishing and how does it work?
“Phishing” is a type of internet piracy where criminals fish for your personal information. They will try to get your account numbers, passwords, Social Security number and other confidential information they can use to get access to your checking account or credit cards. They can access funds in your accounts, run up charges on your credit cards and open new accounts or loans in your name.
The criminals may send an email to you that appears to come from a reputable company that you recognize or do business with or it may appear to come from a government agency.
The email will probably warn you that there is a serious problem that needs your immediate attention. The email will require you to click on a button or link to go to the website for the “Immediate Action Required”. You will be redirected to phony website that may look very legitimate. You may be asked to provide personal information for verification purposes, such as your Social Security number, account number, password or information you may use to verify your identity such as your mother’s maiden name or place of birth.
If you provide the requested information you may find yourself the victim of identity theft!
Social Media – Be Smart About What You Share & Whom You Share It With:
Social media sites encourage users to provide as much personal information as possible, exposing them to identity theft and fraud. The criminals can steal personal information posted or shared by using a program that records the keystrokes.
- Set you social media profile and everything you post as private, limited to only your friends and only connect with people you know and trust.
- Create strong passwords using upper & lower case letters, numbers and characters. Change passwords frequently. Avoid using information like date of birth, hometown, school attended, year of graduation etc.
- Do not give out your user name or account details to anyone.
- Do not download free applications for use on your profile. If might contain malicious malware that will download on your computer.
- Do not participate in quizzes that may require you to divulge personal information.
- Do not click on links that take you to another website, even if it was sent to you by a friend or on your friend’s profile.
- Do not fall for email scams (phishing) that ask you to update your social media by clicking on a link.
- Regularly update your anti-virus software to prevent malicious software from being downloaded on your computer that will allow criminals to steal personal information.