Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information and uses it to open new accounts or initiate transactions in your name. It can easily be confused with fraud.
Thieves may attempt to steal your identity by fraudulently obtaining your personal information and using it to open new accounts or initiate transactions in your name. An identity thief might open new credit cards or bank accounts, forge checks, or even apply for loans. This can cause financial loss or damage your credit, and possibly lead to a lengthy resolution process.
In general, identity theft is more extensive than fraud, which is usually limited to an isolated attempt to steal money from an existing account.
The Federal Trade Commission has created a website that is a one-stop national resource to learn about the crime of identity theft. It provides detailed information to help you Deter, Detect, and Defend against identity theft. While there are no guarantees about avoiding identity theft, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk and minimize the damage if a problem occurs:
The Federal Trade Commission has created a website that will give you more information about SPAM email.
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The Federal Trade Commission says that if the recent changes in the financial marketplace have you confused, you’re not alone. The financial institution where you did business last week may have a new name today, and your checks and statements may come with a new look tomorrow. A new lender may have acquired your mortgage, and you could be mailing your payments to a new servicer. Procedures for the banking you do online also may have changed. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, the upheaval in the financial marketplace may spur scam artists to phish for your personal information.
Phishers (pronounced “fishers’) may send attention-getting emails that look like they’re coming from the financial institution that recently acquired your bank, savings and loan, or mortgage. Their intent is to collect or capture your personal information, like your credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security number, passwords, or other sensitive information. Their messages may ask you to “update,” “validate,” or “confirm” your account information. For example, you may see messages like:
The messages direct you to a website that looks like the actual site of your new financial institution or lender. But it isn’t. It’s a bogus site whose purpose is to trick you into divulging your personal information so the operators can steal your identity and run up bills or commit other crimes in your name.
The FTC suggests these tips to help you avoid getting hooked by a phishing scam:
For more tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help you be on guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal information, visit www.OnGuardOnline.gov.Courtesy of The Wisconsin Credit Union League
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