Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information to commit fraud.
Identity theft can happen to anyone. Certainly, being a victim could cost you substantial time, money, and resources to clear your name. Unfortunately, there are various ways fraudsters steal identities. For example, they can steal your mail, call you pretending to be from your financial institution, or falsifying change of address documents.
Identity Theft & Phishing
Another form of identity theft commonly used is phishing. Generally, phishing is a scam where an e-mail scam where someone pretends to be a financial institution and asks for your personal information. Always contact the financial institution directly if you are unsure. Additionally, Pearl Hawaii will never ask for your account number, social security number, or personal details through email, phone call, or text message. Above all, call us at 808.737.4328 (73-PHFCU) or send us a secured message through PHFCUOnline if you are unsure.
What can you do to prevent identity theft?
- Do not reply to an e-mail or click on a link from within an e-mail asking you to update your account information.
- You should call your creditors using commonly used telephone numbers found on your statement or website.
- 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.
- Do not use easily guessed passwords. For example, do not use 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 the U.S. Postal Service 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 them away. Historically, fraudsters do steal information from household garbage (called dumpster diving).
- Promptly review monthly statements and bills for suspicious transactions and large or unexplained purchases.
- Review your credit report annually. Get your credit report from annualcreditreport.com. Dispute any information that is wrong and take care of any accounts currently behind. For example, if you have unpaid collection accounts, negotiate settlements so you can get them paid off.
- Didn’t receive your monthly statement or bill for the month? Immediately call the financial institution or company to verify your mailing address with them.
- Switch to eStatements
What is Pearl Hawaii doing to prevent identity theft?
- Pearl Hawaii will never give account information to a requesting person without proper identification.
- We will electronically store picture identification and signatures. Visit any Pearl Hawaii Federal Credit Union branch for more information.
- Pearl Hawaii Federal Credit Union does not save passwords for PHFCUOnline and the Member Telephone Service (MTS). We will reset passwords only after you have sufficiently answered a series of questions to verify your identity.
- We will never request personal and/or account information. If you receive an e-mail or phone call from us requesting account information, please forward the e-mail to email@example.com 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 reinitialized 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.
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.
For additional tips on how to prevent identity theft or what to do if you’re a victim
- Federal Trade Comission | IdentityTheft.gov | 1-877-438-4338
- Identity Theft (FBI)
- Protect Yourself Online (FBI)
- Help for Victims of Crime (FBI)
- IRS Identity Theft-Related Guidance
- Identity Theft Resource Center | 1-888-400-5530
- FTC Guidance on Placing a Fraud Alert