Everyone is vulnerable to identity theft & fraud. The key is knowing how to protect yourself and what can happen if you don’t.
The success of identity thieves depends greatly on the steps you take to protect yourself. At stake are your financial health and your reputation. Once thieves rob your identity, they can empty your bank accounts, obtain medical care, steal your tax refund, and apply for loans and credit cards, all under your name.
Identity thieves can do a lot of damage. Considering how much is at stake, the extra effort you extend to protect yourself is well worth it.
Keep Your Personal Information Private
Social media is a great place to share information. However, that should never apply to personal information. If you share even innocent-sounding data, like your birthday, workplace, or phone number, you give thieves openings to attack your identity. You can protect yourself through strict privacy settings that prevent strangers from seeing personal information. In addition, you should omit personal information in your posts and tweets. Once that information is out there, you can never erase it.
Limit Your Digital Footprint
That footprint includes items such as usernames, online searches, purchasing behavior, and electronic transactions. Protective steps you can take include deleting old accounts, browsing incognito, and removing yourself from data collection sites, which is something you can hire a service to do. Consider using a virtual public network (VPN) to protect your privacy as you surf the web and/or share files. When shopping online, use temporary virtual credit card numbers (available from card issuers or third-party services) to reduce your exposure to fraud.
Avoid Risky Behavior
This starts with using different passwords for different accounts. Keep all your passwords in a secure online vault so that you don’t have to remember them and change your passwords often. Never click on an unexpected email link, even if it looks safe, as doing so exposes you to a phishing attack. Instead, contact the email party by going to the supposed website through your browser. Never type your password or user ID into an unfamiliar sign-in screen.
Monitor Your Credit Reports
The credit reports maintained by the three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) are available each year for free at AnnualCreditReport.com. By reviewing your reports, you can spot suspicious activity or unfamiliar accounts that indicate possible identity theft. Immediately dispute any mistaken data by directly contacting the credit bureau. Also, set up your financial accounts to provide fraud alerts in real-time. Consider subscribing to a protection service to help prevent and repair identity theft.
Be Observant when Withdrawing Money from ATMs
Look for worn-down parts and malfunctioning screens. These may indicate the presence of a card skimmer. Contact us if you think you have used a compromised ATM.
Monitor Your Checking and Savings Accounts
Use mobile banking and check your accounts frequently. Sign up for alerts that instantly notify you of transactions.
Safeguard Your Username and Password
Never share your username and password. Change your passwords every 30-60 days especially if you are using third-party aggregators such as Mint, Quicken, or Acorn.
Be Mindful of Your Wi-Fi Connection
Never log in to your account through a public or unsecured connection.
Stay up-to-date on financial and identity theft scams, visit our security blog. Security Corner >>
USSFCU is taking action to keep your personal information safe...
- We diligently monitor accounts and verify suspicious transactions.
- We take extra precautions to confirm member identity.
- We provide 24-hour phone support for lost or stolen cards.
- We offer the ability to change personal identification numbers (PINs) on USSFCU cards at USSFCU ATMs.
- We do not hold members liable for unauthorized transactions on their USSFCU cards.
USSFCU is dedicated to ensuring that our institution is secure. We are consistently taking steps to protect not only you, our members, but also to secure our financial system against bad actors who wish to utilize our institution for their own corrupt purposes. By providing information that helps us verify your identity and “know” who you are, you are providing us the tools we need to further enhance our institution’s safeguards.
Know Your Customer (KYC) >>
The Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act of 1970 (the legislative framework that is commonly referred to as the “Bank Secrecy Act”) requires U.S. financial institutions to assist U.S. government agencies in detecting and preventing money laundering and terrorism financing.
Financial institutions need to conduct KYC on their customers to reduce the likelihood of becoming a legal vehicle of financial crime.
Know Your Customer is the process of verifying the identity of a member through an independent and reliable source of documents, data, or information. Different information is requested depending on whether you are an individual member or an entity.
- For individual members, the Credit Union will obtain the member’s identity information, which includes full name, address, taxpayer identification number (TIN), and date of birth.
- For non-individual members or entities, the Credit Union will obtain identification data to verify the legal status of the entity, the operating address, and the individuals with ownership or control over the account (i.e., beneficial owners, signatories, or guarantors).
Information is also required regarding the nature of employment/business that the member does or expects to undertake, the purpose of opening of the account with the Credit Union, as well as the expected activity on the account.
KYC is to be performed at the time of opening a new account and periodically thereafter. It may be necessary to obtain additional information from existing members based on changes to the account. Similarly, an existing member will be required to provide updated information for new account openings to adhere to the regulatory requirements.
Please note, that the Credit Union is entitled to decline opening an account or discontinue an existing relationship if there is a failure to meet the minimum KYC requirements.
USSFCU will never ask you for your personal information via text or email. Personal information includes your credit card number, member number, social security number, date of birth, etc. If you receive a text or email from USSFCU requesting any personal information, do not reply. Contact us immediately at 800.374.2758.
If you believe that someone is using your personal information, visit IdentityTheft.gov, the federal government’s one-stop resource for reporting and recovering from identity theft. The site provides step-by-step advice and helpful resources like easy-to-print checklists and sample letters.
You'll also find additional resources and information about identity theft and fraud on the website of the Federal Trade Commission.
Make Identity Protection a HabitHaving a strong password, signing up for fraud alerts, or regularly monitoring your credit report are just some ways you can protect your identity. Take this short, interactive lesson from USSFCU's Best Life Learning Center to learn more about protecting youself.
Elder Financial Abuse >>
The effects of elder financial abuse can be devastating. In addition to financial losses, victims may also experience feelings of depression, fear, shame, anger, and depleted physical health.
Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to talk about it with someone you trust. You are not alone, and there are people who can help. Doing nothing could only make it worse. Keep handy the phone numbers and resources you can turn to, including the local police, your financial institution (if money has been taken from your accounts), and your area's Adult Protective Services.
The content on this page provides general consumer information. It is not legal advice or regulatory guidance and should not be considered investment advice. We do not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of third-party information. Online financial education offered through EverFi, a third-party. USSFCU is not responsible for the accuracy, security, or content of other websites. In addition, the third-party information is not intended to provide tax, legal, real estate, or investment advice.