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Security

Fraud Prevention

Great Erie Federal Credit Union is committed to educating our members on fraud and identity theft protection. To help our members prevent fraud before it occurs, Great Erie has compiled a list of resources, information on identity theft, phishing, and scams to provide members with helpful tips to keep you up-to-date and their money safe.

To report lost or stolen cards, please visit the Contact Us page for phone numbers.

Here are just a few tips to assist in the prevention of fraud.

General

  • Guard your Social Security number.
  • Make photocopies of vital information.
  • Beware of mail or telephone solicitations that offer prizes or awards.
  • Always shred papers with financial information, including credit card offer before discarding.
  • Check your credit at least once a year. The Federal Trade Commission offers a free annual
    credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com.
  • Stay current about the latest identity theft scams.

Credit Cards

  • Examine the charges on your bills before paying them.
  • Sign new credit cards immediately.
  • Cancel unused credit card accounts.
  • Report lost or stolen cards immediately.

E-mail and Online Security

  • Do Not Open or respond to e-mail that is suspicious.
  • Don't follow a link in an e-mail, always type the Web site URL address yourself.
  • Make sure to install firewalls or anti-spyware programs on your computer.

Phone and Mail Precautions

  • Treat ALL unsolicited phone calls with skepticism and do not disclose any personal information.
  • Promptly retrieve incoming mail and do not place outgoing mail in your mailbox.
  • Know your billing and statement cycles.

Identity Theft

Identity theft has become one of the fastest growing financial crimes in the United States, and the best defense you can have against the crime is to be informed. Identity theft affects an estimated nine million Americans each year according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and can cost its victims an incredible amount of time and money trying to restore their financial reputation. To learn more and prevent identity theft happening to you, read the identity theft FAQs below.

  • What is identity theft?
  • How is my information stolen and/or compromised?
  • What forms of identity theft can take place?
  • How do I know if my identity has been stolen or compromised?
  • What should I do if I am a victim of identity theft?
  • How can I personally prevent identity theft?

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information including your name, social security number, bank accounts, credit cards, etc., to commit fraud or other crimes. Most often people don't even know that they have been a victim of the crime until it has already negatively impacted their lives.

How is my information stolen and/or compromised?

There are many ways that criminals can access and get a hold of one's personal information without their permission. Have you ever thrown away bills, banking statements, credit card offers or even old medical bills without shredding them first? This is often a common way for criminals to get your information. They 'skim' through garbage cans and dumpster for these types of items. Technology has made it so easy for identity thieves to steal your personal information by using storage devices to process a victim's card information when making purchases online. Spam and pop-up messages posing to be from financial institutions asking for personal information is another way that identity thieves will use to get at your personal information.

What forms of identity theft can take place?

Criminals can use your identity for so many things, some things that you would never even think of. They can take your information and add charges to your existing credit card/debit card, open up new credit cards in your name, write bad checks using your bank or credit union account number, take out a loan in your name, and even use your name to set up utility and phone services. They can also use your name and address to apply for jobs, give to police if being questioned or arrested, to rent houses or apartments or even order government identification items such as a driver's license with their photograph instead of yours.

How do I know if my identity has been stolen?

The best way to protect yourself and to ensure that your identity has not been stolen is to regularly monitor your monthly billing and account statements. You can order a free annual credit report once every 12 months from each of the major nationwide consumer reporting agencies. To order your free Annual Report visit:

www.annualcreditreport.com

or Call toll-free 877-322-8228
or Complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form
And mail to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

What should I do if I am a victim of identity theft?

Following are some steps that you can and should take if you discover that you are a victim of identity theft:

1. Notify your creditors that identity theft has occurred. To notify the three major nationwide consumer reporting agencies, you need to contact only one to alert them of the fraud.

  • Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; www.equifax.com; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
  • Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742); www.experian.com; P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013
  • TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; www.transunion.com; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790

2. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission by using the online complaint form; or call the FTC's Identity Theft Hotline, toll-free: 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338); TTY: 1-866-653-4261; or write Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580

3. File a police report with specific details regarding the identity theft including a copy of the FTC complaint form. This report can be used to protect yourself from the negative impact when given to the three major nationwide consumer reporting agencies or to companies where the thief used your personal information. The identity theft report can block the fraudulent information from appearing on your credit report, prevent companies from collecting on debts that were a result of the identity theft, and allow you to place an extended fraud alert on your credit report that would require potential creditors or lenders to contact you by phone or in person before extending you any credit.


4. Dispute any unauthorized charges or activity. Close all accounts with unauthorized activity, and CLOSE ALL accounts that were opened fraudulently immediately.

How do I personally prevent identity theft?

  • Guard your Social Security Number.
  • Do not open or respond to e-mail that is suspicious.
  • Install firewalls and/or anti-spyware programs on your computer.
  • Beware of telephone or solicitations thru the mail that offer prizes or awards.
  • Always shred papers with personal and financial information, including credit card offers.
  • Examine the charges on your bills before paying them.
  • Sign new credit cards immediately and cancel unused credit-card accounts.
  • Report lost or stolen cards to the police and cancel the cards immediately.
  • Check your credit once a year. The Federal Trade Commission offers a free annual credit report at: www.annualcreditreport.com.

Identity Theft Resources

AnnualCreditReport.com
Get a FREE credit report under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act) (368kb PDF). Consumers can request and obtain a free credit report once every twelve (12) months from each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies. AnnualCredit Report.com provides consumers with the secure means to do so.

Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau helps to keep people aware of complaints against companies either in your area or around the country. It is a great resource to use when researching information on companies. Or if you would like to file a complaint against a company you can do it online with the BBB.

Consumer Credit Counseling
Credit Education and free workshops

Credit Bureau Services

There are 3 main credit bureaus that you can contact if you need to check and/or dispute items on your credit.

Experian  888-397-3742
Equifax   800-685-1111
TransUnion  800-888-4213