Identity theft is back in the headlines. In July 2019, Capital One disclosed that 100 million credit card applications were compromised, including personal information such as birthdays, addresses, phone numbers, credit scores, and social security numbers. That was the same week that Equifax, one of the big three credit bureaus, reached a $700 million settlement with the federal government for the 2017 hack that exposed the sensitive data of 147 million Americans.
We have written in the past about bank fraud, especially credit card fraud, and what you can do to prevent someone from using your stolen card. However, when it comes to someone stealing your information from a financial company or credit bureau, you can’t prevent it. But you can take steps to protect yourself. As a member of iQ Credit Union, you can take advantage of our free Identity Theft Protection services.
Identify theft is different from a simple data breach. Someone could steal information about you, your credit information, and even your bank account, but they can’t steal your identity without all the right information. For example, to open a phony credit card account they need your name, birthday, and address; they don’t even need your social security number. However, phony credit cards are only one type of fraud. If a cybercriminal has more personal information, then they can do more damage. They can take out loans in your name, open bank accounts, pay for medical procedures, use your airline miles, buy stocks or bonds, or even apply for a job. When you become a victim of identity theft you lose control of your identity—someone can use your identity at any time to commit various types of crime or fraud.
We understand the pain and problems that come from identity theft, which is why we offer free Identity Theft Protection services to all our members who have an iQ checking account, and you can easily add additional protection for yourself and your family.
We provide these services to cover any type of identity fraud; not just those related to iQ accounts. That means that if you have an issue with credit card fraud, tax fraud, employment fraud, medical fraud, or any kind of identity theft problem recognized by the Federal Trade Commission, our Identity Theft Protection services can help. We even have a lost document recovery service for if your license, passport, credit cards, or other vital documents are lost or stolen.
With iQ’s Identity Theft Protection services, we provide expert Recovery Advocates who work on your behalf, including on:
- Researching the extent of the problem and reviewing reports from all three credit bureaus.
- Placing fraud alerts with credit bureaus and other agencies.
- Writing letters and calling on your behalf to correct fraudulent information.
- Working with government agencies, financial institutions, creditors, and others to resolve any fraudulent incidents.
- Working with law enforcement to arrest and prosecute fraud perpetrators.
- Following up as needed for 12 months after recovery.
We offer these services at no charge because we care about our members, and we understand the risks and ongoing problems associated with identity theft.
How to Tell When Your Identity Has Been Stolen
If you do become a victim of identity theft, you should act quickly. If someone has access to your personal information, you may not be aware of it for weeks, or months, and if you wait too long it will be harder to reverse fraudulent charges and repair the damage. That’s why it pays to be vigilant and look for signs that you are a victim of identity theft.
Here are some of the more obvious telltale signs that your identity has been stolen:
- You see unauthorized withdrawals from your bank accounts.
- You start to see unauthorized charges on your credit cards.
- You discover that bills or mail with sensitive information are missing.
- You see false accounts on your credit report.
- You are rejected from a health plan because your records say you have a condition you do not have, or you start to receive unexpected medical bills.
- You receive a notice from the IRS that a tax return was filed in your name.
- You receive notification of a data breach from a company that has your personal information.
- You stop seeing financial statements because someone changed your contact information, mailing address or email address on an account. This allows fraudulent activity to go undetected for a longer period of time.
If you discover that you are a victim of identity theft, or think you may be, be sure to act quickly. If you are a member of iQ Credit Union, then you already have the resources you need to regain control of your identity. In fact, if you are concerned about identity theft, then you can register now. iQ offers these services free to account holders, but you can extend coverage to other family members as well so that everyone is protected.
Consider identity theft prevention as a form of insurance. Unfortunately, you will never know in advance when your identity has been stolen, perhaps until it’s too late. Anyone can become a victim of identity fraud, but as an iQ member, we have you covered.