2022 AFBA Financial Planning Guide

more information go to www.annualcreditreport.com . Due to the increase of scams surrounding COVID-19, you can get free weekly online reports through April 2021. f. Consider placing a credit freeze on your account. This lets you restrict access to your credit report, making it more difficult for identity thieves to open accounts in your name. g. Guard your social security number. Do not print it on your checks. If it is on your driver’s license, contact your DMV to ask about other options. h. Do not sign the backs of credit cards — instead write “PHOTO ID REQUIRED.” i. Destroy documents with personal information that you do not need — a cross-cut shredder works best. j . Make sure that your credit card has an embedded chip in it which makes the card more secure. Avoid Phone Scams a. Do not respond to calls or texts from unknown numbers, or any others that appear suspicious. b. Never share your personal or financial information via email, text messages, or over the phone. c. Be cautious if you’re being pressured to share any information or make a payment immediately. d. Scammers often spoof phone numbers to trick you into answering or responding. Remember that government agencies will never call you to ask for personal information or money. e. Do not click any links in a text message. If a friend sends you a text with a suspicious link that seems out of character, call them to make sure they weren’t hacked. Home Computer Tips: a. Install anti-virus software to prevent a worm or virus from compromising your computer files. b. Password protect both your hard drive and sensitive files. c. If you dispose of your computer, use a good software utility to “wipe” clean the hard drive — do not simply erase files or reformat your hard drive. d. When registering at a website, provide minimal information. Never provide your social security number. If you do not understand why certain information is required, then do not provide it. e. Do not download files sent to you by strangers or click on links in e-mails from people you do not know. Travel Tips: a. Service members who deploy can request an active duty alert be placed on their credit reports. It tells creditors to take extra steps before granting credit in that service member’s name.

b. Stop the delivery of mail, newspapers, and other items received on a regular basis. c. Make your home appear to be lived in by setting lights on variable timers and arrange for someone to mow your lawn. d. Put your work address on your luggage tags and use your first initial instead of your first name. e. Use a money belt or neck pouch to carry important items. f. Take only the credit cards you need. If traveling alone, take two cards to avoid any inconvenience if one card is lost or stolen. g. Take an ATM or debit card for extra cash — memorize your pin. What Actions Should You Take If You Become a Victim of Identity Theft? a. If you don’t recognize a transaction, report it immediately to that financial institution. b. Report the incident to the police and insist on being given a copy of the police report — this will assist you in substantiating the situation with credit reporting agencies, credit card companies, and retailers who have been victimized by someone who has fraudulently used your identity. c. Report suspected fraud to the credit reporting agencies listed below and request that your account be flagged with a fraud statement — this will stop future credit from being issued until you are contacted and will remain in place for up to seven years or until you cancel the request. Equifax: 1–800–525–6285 www.equifax.com Experian: 1–888–397–3742 www.experian.com TransUnion: 1–800–680–7289 www.transunion.com d. Report stolen credit cards to the appropriate organization and close your accounts. e. Report stolen checks or bank accounts set up through identity theft to the appropriate bank. In addition contact the major check verification companies listed below: ChexSystems: 1–800–428–9623 Telecheck: 1–800–710–9898 f. Never make payment on a fraudulent charge — this will only encourage the victimized retailer to continue to harass you and it may create additional legal complications. g. Contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for free assistance: 1–888–400–5530 — www.idtheftcenter.org


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