Preventing Identity Theft and Fraud Offline and Online
Get Educated on Prevention and Minimize Loss If You’re a Victim!
LAPFCU is reminding members to be vigilant about keeping their personal and financial information safe from possible fraud resulting from identity theft. The risk of becoming a victim is real, and it can occur anywhere.
If you are a victim of identity theft or fraud, don’t delay – it is critically important to take action immediately. In order to minimize or prevent further damage or loss resulting from these crimes, take the following steps:
- Document your actions
- File a police report
- Place a fraud alert on your credit reports
- Place a security freeze on your credit reports
- Correct your credit reports
- Notify your creditors that you are a victim of ID theft
- Contact the Federal Trade Commission
To simplify and speed this process, call LAPFCU Member Services at 877-MY-LAPFCU (877-695-2732). An Associate will immediately contact our partner Identity Theft 911, a company providing FREE identity theft solutions to LAPFCU members. An Identity Theft 911 representative will be assigned to you, providing personalized, step-by-step instructions on working through the process of restoring and regaining control of your identity.
Please check out LAPFCU’s Identity Theft and Fraud resource page for detailed information. Remember: Being proactive and prudent = prevention! Below are five easy things you can do to reduce the risk of becoming a fraud or ID theft victim.
- Order a free credit report every year – and read it carefully
- Shred personal papers, receipts and junk mail
- Opt-out of prescreened credit card offers – visit www.optoutprescreen.com or call 1-888-567-8688
- Read credit card and bank statements immediately
- Guard your Social Security number, credit card numbers and other personal information
Protecting Yourself Online
In addition to protecting yourself in the physical world, it is equally important to protect yourself online by regularly ensuring you are doing all you can to avoid identity theft and fraud in the cyberworld. Here are some tips:
- Utilize anti-virus software, anti-spyware programs, and firewall protections and keep them updated. There are a number of excellent anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall software products on the market, including:
- Norton Antivirus
- Trend MicroInternet Security
- McAfee Security
- Keep your computer, your operating system (e.g. Windows), and your software up-to-date.
- Only provide information on secured sites – Look at the URL line in your browser, if it displays: “httpS” the “s” stands for secure. Avoid inputting personal information in sites only showing “http.”
- Make sure you use current web browsers to remain the most secure:
- Internet Explorer 8.x (Windows) or higher
- Mozilla Firefox 3.x or higher
- Safari 4.x or higher
- Google Chrome 5.x or higher
- Use complex passwords longer than 8 characters that have a mix of numbers, upper and lower case letters, and special characters.
- Change your passwords at least every 3 months and use different passwords for each of your online accounts.
- Stay away from websites that appear suspicious and do not download programs from the Internet unless you trust the company or person from which it originates.
- Be sure to "log out" of your account after you have completed your secure website browsing session or transactions, especially if you are using a computer also used by other people.
- If you notice changes in the way your computer is operating, for instance, if it suddenly slows down for more than a few seconds and this continues to happen, there may be something malicious running in the background. Turn your computer off and enlist the assistance of an expert for an examination.
- Be suspicious of any email that has an urgent request for personal financial information. Email scams can be difficult to identify because the “from address” has been forged to make it appear as if it came from someone or somewhere other than the actual source. The message will often suggest there are issues with the recipient's account that require immediate attention. A link will also be provided to a spoof website where the recipient will be asked to provide personal/account information or download malicious software. Do not use the links in an email, instant message, or chat to get to any web page if you suspect the message might not be authentic.
- Backup your important data often.
LAPFCU is available to assist members and their families in the event of fraud or identity theft. You are also encouraged to contact us if you notice any suspicious account activity or security-related information events. Contact our Fraud Specialist at 877-MY-LAPFCU (877-695-2732) with any questions your may have or for more information.