Posted on April 21, 2022 Last Updated: April 21, 2022
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is a crime where someone steals your personal information to commit fraud. This can be anything from stealing your credit card information to opening loans or lines-of-credit in your name without you knowing. Unfortunately, the connected age that we live in makes it easier than ever for thieves to steal your personal information. In this article, we will go over everything you need to know about keeping your identity safe.
Why Would Someone Want to Steal My Identity?
The motivations for stealing people’s identities are mainly financial. Thieves can use a credit card number to go on shopping sprees on someone else’s dime. They can also use things like your social security number to open loans and lines-of-credit, which give them quick access to cash. Identity thieves can use your social security number to claim your tax refund, or government benefits as well.
What Are the Signs of Identity Theft?
Although identity theft sounds pretty scary, it’s fairly easy to catch, as long as you keep an eye on your finances. Most of the time, identity theft will show up as unrecognized charges on a credit card, or loans/lines-of-credit on your credit report that you didn’t open. It may also manifest itself when unfamiliar bills show up in the mail. You may also find yourself denied loans despite having good credit, or receiving calls from debt collectors when you know you pay your bills on time.
What Should I Do if I Think My Identity Has Been Stolen?
If you suspect that you are a victim of identity theft, there are a few steps you should take. The first thing you should do is contact your creditors to let them know your information may be compromised and put a hold on new transactions. You can also contact the major credit bureaus and request that they put a hold on your credit to avoid any new accounts being opened in your name. Lastly, it’s a good idea to report your identity theft to both the local authorities and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
How Can I Prevent Identity Theft From Happening to Me?
Being cautious online is a good first step to preventing identity theft. Using strong, unique passwords for every site that you visit online helps ensure that you are the only one that can access your accounts. You should also be extremely cautious if using public Wi-Fi to access your bank or credit card account.
In addition to consistently monitoring your credit report and financial statements, you can also prevent identity theft by subscribing to a credit monitoring service. These services are designed to alert you when your credit is used to open a new account and stop the transaction before the identity thief can make any unauthorized purchase.
KEMBA Takes Identify Theft Seriously
As a member of KEMBA, you can rest assured knowing that your information is safe. When you contact our local member service team, we will authenticate your account before providing your account information. Plus, we’ll never call you and ask you to provide sensitive information via the phone or text. If you suspect suspicious activity, you should call your financial institution to make sure they are in fact trying to reach you. KEMBA’s systems also monitor for suspicious activities and send alerts and verifications to your mobile device to ensure it was you that made the purchase. You can also take advantage of our fraud alerts to help keep your accounts safe from identity thieves. If you want to learn more about how KEMBA keeps your accounts safe, contact our dedicated local associates for help. Call 614.235.2395 and select Option 4 for more information.