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What Is Identity Theft?

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information to commit fraud.

Identity theft can happen to anyone and is quickly becoming a major problem in our nation. Being a victim could cost you substantial time, money, and resources to clear your name. There are various ways fraudsters steal identities: steal your mail with personal information on it, call you pretending to be from your financial institution, or falsifying change of address documents.

Another form of identity theft commonly used is “phishing”. “Phishing” is a scam where e-mail is sent from a seemingly legitimate financial institution asking for personal and financial information. Information provided to these sources will be redirected to the fraudsters.


What can you do to prevent identity theft?

  • Never reply to an e-mail or click on a link from within an e-mail asking you to update your account information unless you confirm the e-mail actually originated from your financial institution. You should call your financial institution using commonly used telephone numbers, found in the telephone book or a monthly statement, to confirm the authenticity of the e-mail message.
  • Unless you initiate the call, you should never provide account or personal information to someone claiming to be an employee of Pearl Hawaii Federal Credit Union or any other financial institution.
  • Use different passwords for online banking, e-mail, PIN numbers and other online accounts. Refrain from using easily guessed passwords, such as your name, your pet’s name, or your spouse’s birthday.
  • Regularly update antivirus software and operating system updates to reduce computer threats.
  • Drop mail off at U.S. Postal Service collection boxes rather than leaving your mail in your mailbox overnight or over the weekend.
  • Tear up or shred mail and documents with personal information before throwing it away. Fraudsters have been known to steal information from household garbage, commonly called “dumpster diving”.
  • Promptly review monthly statements and bills for suspicious transactions and large or unexplained purchases. Review your credit report annually.
  • If you don’t receive your monthly statement or bill for the month, call the financial institution or company to inquire if it was sent out and verify your mailing address with them.


What is Pearl Hawaii doing to prevent identity theft?

  • We will never give account information to a requesting person without proper identification.
  • We will electronically store picture identification and signatures. Visit any PHFCU branch for more information.
  • We do not save passwords for PHFCUOnline and Member Telephone Service. We will reset passwords only after you have sufficiently answered a series of questions to verify your identity.
  • Our online banking system is secured to provide a secure transfer of information between your computer and our online system.
  • We will never request personal and/or account information via e-mail or telephone. If you receive an e-mail or phone call from us requesting account information, please forward the e-mail to or call us at 808.73.PHFCU (737-4328) to report it immediately.


What can you do if you become a victim of identity theft?

A fraud alert is an indicator place on your credit report record by the major credit bureaus. With a fraud alert, when you or someone else attempts to open a credit account (credit card, loan, etc.); you will be contacted to verify your intent to open this account. If you cannot be reached by phone, the credit account will not be opened.

In most situations, an “initial fraud alert” is placed on a credit report record when fraud is suspected. The “initial fraud alert” should detect and alert the consumer of new credit activity for a three to six month period. If required, the “initial fraud alert” can be reinitialize or a seven-year “extended fraud alert” can be placed on the credit report record.

To place a fraud alert, contact one of the three major credit bureaus listed below. The request is shared and updated among each of the three credit bureaus.


Fraud Victim Assistance Department
Phone:800 680-7289
Fax:714 447-6034
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92634-6790



Consumer Fraud Division
Phone:800 525-6285
Fax:770 375-2821
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241



Experian’s National Consumer Assistance
Phone: 888 397-3742
P.O. Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013

Once the fraud alert is established, your name is removed from all pre-approved credit and insurance offers for two years, and a credit report will be mailed to you within two weeks.

Let your financial institutions know about the fraud and change all account numbers and ATM/Debit cards.

Download the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft Kit. The affidavit will help you report the fraud to other institutions with one form.
Contact the Federal Trade Commission to report the fraud at 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338). They will process your complaint, help clear fraudulent activities, and guide you with further steps to stop the fraud.

For additional tips on how to prevent identity theft or what to do if you’re a victim, visit and