Insider Report: Identity Theft
contributed by A Bank Employee
Protecting Your Credit and Debit Cards
Keep Your Identity (and Your Bank Account) Safe from Thieves
Most of you have heard about identity theft. It has recently come to light experts have stolen hundreds of people's personal banking information through credit reporting agencies systems. You should immediately check your credit report. Most thieves aren't going to go after those of us who have little in our accounts. They are more likely to target larger accounts or business accounts. If you see any accounts that are open and you have not opened them, contact the credit card company (or financial institution) and have the account closed. Also, you will need to have them place a fraud alert. Some thieves have gotten debit card information. This is dangerous because they can instantly wipe out your account.
Most financial institutions have a fraud investigation department. If you think your account information has been compromised, close your account and set up a new account. Place a fraud alert on your account and notify the bank of any outstanding checks you have written so it goes through the new account. No one is exempt or safe from these thieves.
Many thieves will try $1 transactions to test the validity of the account information. They will then try larger amounts over $100 and up. If they are able to clear those transactions, they will continue until they get caught or you run out of funds. It is very difficult to clear a credit report when identity theft is involved. You must prove you are the rightful owner of the account information. You must also prove you did not initiate transactions. Save your receipts and credit card statements. This may be your only defense.
Be prepared to show several picture IDs and possibly sign a form to compare with the signature card of the bank. It costs only $9 or so to get a credit report. This should be done on an annual basis. It could very well save your credit rating and your future.
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