How to protect yourself from identity theft

Tips to stay ahead of identity theft

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information (i.e., Social Security number, credit card number) without your knowledge to commit fraud.  Identity theft is the most frequently reported crime to the Federal Trade Commission today, and can be committed in person, by telephone, on the Internet, or through the mail. Knowing how to protect yourself from identity theft is the first step in preventing it.

Protecting yourself from identity theft

As technology continues to evolve, criminals are developing new ways to exploit or defraud organizations and consumers, like accessing bank and brokerage accounts online and stealing credit information or identities.  As part of Union Bank’s ongoing commitment to protecting customer information, we continuously review and strengthen our security program, processes, and procedures.  Here are some tips to safeguard yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft.

woman using a smart phone

Minimize your risk of identity theft

  • Bank online using a secure computer only—avoid using computers in libraries or hotels.
  • Be wary of public Wi-Fi—avoid logging into sensitive accounts (such as your bank and credit card accounts). 
  • Increase the security of your computer by installing a firewall and spam filter as well as antivirus, anti-malware, and anti-spyware protection to safeguard your computer against viruses and malware (malicious software) that can log your keystrokes or steal your data. Keep your software up-to-date.
  • Check privacy and security settings on your browser (i.e.: Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox) turn on the pop-up blocker.
  • Avoid getting too personal on social media—do not post your date of birth, for example. Cyber criminals often scour social media for personal information they can use to guess your passwords, date of birth, etc., and steal your identity.
  • Choose a unique password for each account and never share them. Use passwords that are at least eight characters, but longer is recommended. Avoid using personal data (e.g., Social Security numbers, addresses, etc.) or common words from the dictionary. Consider using a password manager to generate secure passwords and store them for you.

Reporting identity theft

If you are a victim of or suspect identity theft, it is important to take immediate action by reporting the theft or suspected theft. Take the following actions as soon as possible:

  • Notify your banks and credit card issuers.
  • Contact the fraud departments of the three major credit bureaus. You should call first then follow up in writing. As a victim of identity theft, you are entitled to a free credit report from each of the following agencies:

 

Equifax

Call 1-800-525-6285 

www.equifax.com

 

Experian

Call 1-888-397-3742

www.experian.com

 

TransUnion

Call 1-800-680-7289

www.tuc.com

  • Request that a fraud alert be placed in your credit bureau file. You can remove an alert at any time.
  • Ask for copies of your credit reports and review them carefully. Check the inquiry section of the reports. When inquiries appear from companies that opened fraudulent accounts, request that the inquiries be removed from your reports.
  • Change all of your passwords and PINs, including email passwords.
  • Contact your local police or the department where the identity theft took place and file a report.  Having a copy of a police report can help provide evidence of fraud to creditors, including your bank.
  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-ID THEFT (1-877-438-4338). The FTC will put your information into a secure consumer fraud database and may share it with law enforcement agencies.
  • Check your mail for account statements you did not apply for and contact the creditor. In addition, contact the post office if you are not receiving mail you usually receive.
  • Review all of your accounts including credit cards, home equity lines of credit, bank accounts, investment accounts, and telephone statements. If you suspect fraud, report it to your creditor, financial institution, or broker immediately.
  • Protect and start rebuilding your good credit.
  • Open new accounts to replace any accounts you had to close.
  • Continue to monitor your bank, credit card, and brokerage accounts frequently for any new activity that may be unauthorized.

Learn the warning signs.

 

To report suspicious activity on your Union Bank account (ATM/Debit, Check Fraud): 
Call 800-238-4486 Monday-Friday: 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PST
Saturday: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PST
Sunday: Closed

To report suspicious activity on your credit card: 
Consumer: 888-642-3311  
Business: 888-643-9800 
Available 24/7

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