If you receive a questionable message, whether by email, telephone or text message, do not respond with your personal financial information, simply delete the message or hang up. Always remember that all financial institutions, including GPO, will never send out messages soliciting account information. If you receive a message that you think may be fraudulent, tell us about it.
If you would like to keep yourself educated on the most up-to-date information about identity theft, join the Security Team with our digital defense training, education and awareness modules. This website offers courses such as ATM safety, social media dangers and more.
Safeguard Your Information
Identity theft is a serious crime. It occurs when your personal information is stolen and used without your knowledge to commit fraud or other crimes. Identity theft can cost you money and destroy your credit.
- Shred financial documents and paperwork with personal information before you throw them away.
- Protect your Social Security number. Don't carry it with you, and only give it out if absolutely necessary, or as to use another form of identification.
- Don't give out personal information over the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you are 100% sure of the person/business you are dealing with. If you are ever suspicious of a phone call or text, hang up and call us directly.
- Check websites for security features before entering any of your personal or credit information, including "https" in front of the website name. The "s" at the end stands for secure meaning that the information you type in is encrypted and can not be hacked into.
- Email phishing. Never click on links in unsolicited emails. Instead, type in the web address that you know. Use firewalls, anti-spyware and anti-virus software to protect your home computer and keep them up-to-date.
- Don't use an obvious password like your birth date, mother's maiden name, or the last four digits of your social security or phone number.
- Keep your personal information in a secure place at home, especially if you have roommates or employ outside help. Also remember this when you are having work done in your home.
Signs of Identity Theft
- Bills do not arrive as expected.
- Unexpected credit cards or account statements arrive at your home.
- You are denied credit for no apparent reason.
- You receive calls or letters about purchases that you didn't make.
- Check your credit report. The law now requires the major credit reporting agencies to give you a free copy of your credit report each year but only if you ask for it. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com to order a free copy of your credit report once per year. While this report will not show you your credit score, you will be able to monitor any accounts you may not have opened.
- Review your financial statements and billing statements regularly. Check for charges that you may not have made.
What to Do if You Suspect Identity Theft?
- Place a "fraud alert" on your credit reports. This alert will tell creditors to follow certain procedures before they open any new accounts in your name or make changes to your existing accounts. You can call any one of the credit reporting agencies to place an initial 90-day fraud alert. Equifax: 800-525-6285. Experian: 888-397-3742. TransUnion: 800-680-7289.
- Close any accounts that have been tampered with or have been established by someone other than yourself. Call the security or fraud department of each company, and follow up in writing with copies of supporting documents. Use the Identity Theft Affidavit to support your written statement. Ask for verification after the disputed account has been closed and the fraudulent debts discharged. Keep copies of all documents and records of your conversations about the theft.
- File a police report. Some creditors may want proof of the crime.
- Report the identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission. This report will help investigators across the country with other investigations.