Identity theft occurs when someone assumes your identity to perform fraud or other criminal acts. Criminals can get the information they need to assume your identity from a variety of sources, including stealing your wallet, going through your trash or by compromising your bank information. You may be approached in person, by telephone or through the internet.
Colonial will never ask you for personal or financial information – like password, ID, account numbers – through unsolicited emails or pop-up windows.
To avoid becoming a victim of Identity Theft, follow these tips from the American Bankers Association:
- Don't give your Social Security number or other personal credit information about yourself to anyone who contacts you.
- Tear up receipts, bank statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away.
- Keep an eye out for any missing mail.
- Review your monthly accounts regularly for any unauthorized charges through the Internet, phone or ATM statements.
- Choose to do business with companies you know are reputable, particularly online. When conducting business online, make sure your browser's padlock or key icon is active, indicating a secure transaction.
- Order copies of your credit report at least once a year to ensure accuracy.
- Never give out personal financial information in an email or over the phone unless you have initiated the contact.
- When using social networking sites, never include personal contact information including birth date, email addresses, physical address, mother's maiden name or other information that could provide sensitive information to fraudsters or hints to passwords.
- Don't open email from unknown sources and use virus detection software.
- Protect your PINs (don't carry them in your wallet!) and passwords; use a combination of letters and numbers for your passwords and change them periodically.
Notifying Credit Bureaus
If you believe you have been a victim of identity theft, it's recommended that you contact the three national consumer reporting agencies and have them place a "fraud alert" on your credit report.
Equifax – 1-800-525-6285
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta GA 30347-0241
Experian – 1-888-397-3742
P.O. Box 9530
Allen TX 75013
TransUnion – 1-800-680-7289
Fraud Victim Assistance Division
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton CA 92634-6790
Additionally, you can request a free annual credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies whether or not you suspect fraud. Most fraud victims do not know they are victims of identity theft for an extended period of time. The longer the fraud occurs, the larger the risk of loss and the more time it takes to clear up the fraud.