Identity theft involves another party using your personal information without your knowledge or permission for financial gain. Know that there are several types of identity theft. This can include mail theft, dumpster-diving, spying on ATM activities and even purse- and wallet-snatching. Though these methods differ, the damage they cause is the same. In this piece, Valley Federal Credit Union will talk about how you can be affected by identity theft. We’ll also go over a few methods of protecting yourself.
How Can it Affect You?
It’s terrifying to think of how many ways an identity can be stolen. For starters, identity theft can do a lot of damage to your finances, credit rating and reputation. Identity thieves can drain your bank account in mere minutes. They can also make purchases using your credit card(s), open accounts under your name and take out loans.
Using your finances to receive medical care under your insurance provider is also a regular occurrence. Tax-related identity theft is another growing problem that’s usually done through a stolen social security number. With this, an identity thief can work under your information! They can also file tax returns and collect refunds with your identity.
As we mentioned earlier, identity theft can become a major issue for a victim. In fact, it can take years to clear up the problems it causes. This is the reason for you to be proactive and take measures to prevent it now. If you don’t have a system set up to help you keep track of your finances, then do so immediately.
Keep track of your purchases, check your bank account periodically for suspicious activity and be careful with your credit cards. Memorize your account numbers rather than writing them down as well.
If possible, go “paperless” with your bills and statements to reduce the risk of mail theft. This means relying on emails and text messages for notifications regarding purchases you’ve made as well as statements. If you must write your information down, don’t carry it with you. Leave it at home in a location that’s safe.
Your Security Matters to Us
At Valley Federal Credit Union, our number one priority is our members. Your safety is important to us and we want you to know that we will never ask you for information that is irrelevant to your account. Visit identitytheft.gov for more ways to act. Identity theft comes in many ways and methods, and we want our members to be safe. Contact our credit union today for more information about our services.