Identity Theft Can Effect Anyone
Identity theft is the practice of someone else using your personal information to open bank accounts, obtain credit cards, loans or conduct other fraudulent acts. Once identity theft occurs the victim may find they are unable to obtain credit or secure loans due to damaged credit. The victim may even face legal problems due to the fraud committed by the criminal. It can take months and sometimes years to correct all the fraudulent activity and regain your normal credit history.
Recently, Anthem reported a major security breach where the personal information of its current and past clients may have been compromised. Remember, Anthem will only notify you by USPS, not over the phone or through email. If you think you are a victim of identity theft, click here for tips to protect your accounts at Androscoggin Bank.
- Do not carry your social security card or other document that has your SSN with you. Keep it in a safe place separate from other personally identifying information.
- Shred statements and other documents that contain account numbers or other personal information before they are thrown out.
- Review your statements for any suspicious activity or transactions. Inquire with your bank or credit card provider if you do not receive a statement when expected.
- Report lost or stolen cards as soon as possible.
- Verify your User Authenticity - When you sign up for On-line banking the system will prompt you to create your own personal password. Do not use words; make sure you use a variety of letters, numbers and symbols.
- Protect your Password - Do not give your password to anyone. Financial institutions will not initiate contact with you and ask for your social security number or your password. If you do not remember your password after three attempts the system will lock you out. The bank will have to reset your account and you will be required to create a new password.
If you feel that your identity has been stolen, it is important that you take immediate action.
- Notify your financial institution.
- Review your credit report for accuracy - you may obtain one free report from each agency per year by going to annualcreditreport.com
- Notify the three major credit bureaus - Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. You can request to establish fraud alerts, extended fraud alerts, and additional protective measures.
- Report the incident to local law enforcement.
- Report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC maintains a log of all identity theft cases, which is used by law enforcement to monitor for trends and catch the bad guys.
The following Federal Government agencies maintain web sites for reporting and defending yourself against identity theft.
- US Department of Justice
- President's Identity Theft Task Force
To write a letter to the Federal Trade Commission regarding Identity Theft, send it to the following address:
Identity Theft Clearinghouse
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington D.C. 20580
Call 800-IDTHEFT (438-4338)
Watch a video on preventing identity theft.