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Consumer Tips

Identity Theft

Cases of stolen identity don't occur just in movies and mystery novels. More than 400,000 people had their lives disrupted last year by this "white collar" crime. And this year is going to be a record-breaker.

These con artists typically start by using theft or deception to learn a person's Social Security number, date of birth and other personal information. Armed with those details, the perpetrators can open credit card accounts, make purchases, take out loans, or make counterfeit checks and ATM cards in your name. In effect, the crook becomes you. Without warning, you will find your credit cards declined, credit union accounts empty and credit rating ruined.

  1. Do not give out personal information. We will never ever contact you for information such as account or credit card numbers. The same is true for any credit card companies and any other financial institutions.

  2. Report a lost or stolen wallet or purse immediately. For a lost or stolen SFCU VISA card, call 800-808-7230. For a lost or stolen SFCU ATM or Cash & Check Card, call 800-523-4175. Also, remember not to carry more checks and credit cards than you need.

  3. Destroy unused financial solicitations such as pre-approved credit cards, your credit union statements, etc. If you don't have a shredder, tear them up into little pieces.

  4. Guard your private information. Safely store extra checks and credit cards, documents that list your Social Security number, and similar valuable items. Remove your mail from the mailbox and deposit outgoing mail in the Postal Service's blue collection boxes.

  5. Contact the major credit reporting companies at least once per year to review your file. This costs a small fee. The three major credit bureaus are:

    Equifax: 800-685-1111
    Experian: 800-682-7654
    TransUnion: 800-916-8800


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