Financial Resource Center

Identity Theft

Don’t Let It Happen to You

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft is when someone obtains a person’s personal identifying information such as their Social Security Number, Date of Birth, Mother’s Maiden Name or Account Numbers, and they use this information without your knowledge to commit fraud or theft.

How Identity Thieves Get Your Information:

An identity thief works in many ways to get your information such as:

How Identity Thieves Use Your Information:

Once an identity thief has your information, they may:                  

You know you’ve had your identity stolen when:

Start Protecting Yourself Now:

All that a thief needs is your name, address, and Social Security number to do damage. 

If You Are A Victim:

  1. Place a “Fraud Alert” on credit report and review all information on your credit reports.  Call the fraud divisions of one of the credit reporting agencies and request that a “Fraud Alert” be placed on your name and Social Security number.    It is only necessary to call one credit reporting agency.  Within 24 hours, each bureau will attach a “Fraud Alert” to your file.  The single call also opts you out of all pre-approved offers of credit or insurance for two years, and will get you a mailed copy of your credit file.  Reporting fraud to an agency will require any company or creditor to contact you to authorize new credit.  Later you should follow up on your call with a letter and enclose a copy of a police report.  By doing this, you are protected legally should the agencies fail to remove the crime from your record.  To report identity theft, contact one of these credit reporting agencies:
  2. Notify your Financial Institution: Inform them of your situation and ask them to contact you if there is any unusual activity on your account. Change your PINs.
  3. File a Police Report:  Contact police in the jurisdiction where the theft took place.  File a report and keep a copy for yourself. 
  4. File a Complaint with the Federal Trade Commission:  Share your identity theft complaint with the FTC to help law enforcement officials across the nation track down identity thieves and stop them.  The FTC can also refer your complaint to other government agencies and companies for further action, as well as investigate companies for violations of laws that the FTC enforces.  File your complaint by:
    • Online:
    • By Phone: 1-877-438-4338 and at 1-866-653-4262
    • By Mail: Identity Theft Clearinghouse
      • Federal Trade Commission
      • 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
      • Washington, DC  20580
  5. Call your postmaster if you think the mail was used.
  6. Call the creditors who opened accounts in your name.  Inform them of the identity theft and close the accounts.  Get copies of all transactions and applications on the accounts.  For your own protection, you will need to follow up in writing with request of account closing, and include copies – not originals of supporting documents and send these letters by Certified Mail with Return Receipts requested.  As proof, you will need to keep a copy of all letters that you are send, and the returned delivery receipts.  

For additional information, please contact:

Identity Theft Resource Center (non-profit):
Phone: 1-858-693-7935



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