You Have the Power to Prevent Identity Theft
Every two minutes, the U.S. government receives an identity theft complaint. Don't let criminals take your money by stealing your identity. Through fraudulent schemes fraudsters can obtain your bank account data, debit card details, or other personal information. Here are some examples of recent fraud schemes:
- A criminal may call and inform you that you owe money to the IRS and will ask for banking information or debit card number to pay them. Your financial information is used by the criminals to redirect your federal payments to an account they established and only they can access.
- A criminal may contact you with news that you won an unexpected cash award prize. The criminal asks for your bank account information to deposit your "award." Your financial information can then be used by the criminal to redirect your federal payments to an account they established and only they can access.
- You receive a text and/or e-mail from a criminal posing as a legitimate financial institution that asks you to call and update your account information. The criminal can use your financial information to steal your money or establish a new account that only they can access.
To help prevent identity theft, never give out the following to anyone unless you initiated contact with them:
- Social Security number;
- bank account information;
- credit card number; and/or
- debit card number.
Legitimate financial institutions, businesses, and government agencies customarily would not contact you for this sensitive information.
Additionally, you should check your bank, debit and/or credit card accounts on a weekly basis to ensure all purchases are yours and your identity was not stolen by a computer "hacker." Immediately reporting any erroneous transactions to your financial institution will minimize the amount of money you may lose as a result of this fraud.
If you determine that you are a victim of identity theft, you should visit IdentityTheft.gov. The website includes a comprehensive list of steps you should take to prevent the criminals from using your personal information for financial gain. This includes filing a report with the Federal Trade Commission.
Don't be a victim of identity theft. Visit http://www.IdentityTheft.gov to learn more.