Fraud Protection Center
Yourself from Identity Theft
The rate of identity theft-related fraud has risen sharply since 2003. Studies show that from mid-2005 until mid-2006, about 15 million Americans were victims of fraud that stemmed from identity theft, an increase of more than 50 percent from the estimated 9.9 million in 2003.
Learn how to protect yourself from criminals who use your stolen
identity to commit crimes.
Click Here - For more Information on Protecting Your Identity.
|Phone Scams ... Protect Your Information!
NorState Federal Credit Union will NEVER make unsolicited phone calls requesting your personal account information. If you ever receive an email or phone call purporting to be from NorState FCU, do not provide any personal information. Always log into the NorState Federal Credit Union site directly (by typing www.norstatefcu.org in your browser address bar) or contact one of our Member Service Representatives before divulging any information.
There are simple precautions that will keep your identity safe.
We've provided the following information as a courtesy to
help protect you from identity fraud and other criminal activities. Review the links and information on this page to learn how
to protect your personal and financial information.
Card Fraud Protection
|Credit card fraud generally occurs when
cards or card numbers are compromised. By following these
simple guidelines your potential for loss can be minimized.
- Keep a list of all your credit cards including the
account number and phone number to the issuing company.
- Review your credit card statement as soon as possible.
Match charges with your receipts to ensure all charges
are yours and are for the correct amount.
- Always sign a new credit card immediately.
- When making a purchase with a credit card, make sure
you get the card back and the receipt. Check the receipt
- When using a credit card at a restaurant or store,
make sure that all blank lines are marked through so
that no one can change the final amount.
- Never sign blank credit card receipts.
- Only travel with the credit cards you plan on using.
- Never give the account number of the credit card
over the phone unless you initiate the call.
- When making an order over the telephone, try to avoid
using a cordless phone. Cordless phones messages can
be easily intercepted by devices as unsophisticated as
baby monitors and police scanners.
- Do not write the PIN for the account on the card.
theft can occur when an individual obtains personal information,
such as your social security number, date of birth, address,
and financial account numbers. Once this information
is obtained, the thieves will assume or take on your
identity, allowing them to illegally purchase items or
obtain credit. By following these simple guidelines,
your potential for loss due to identity theft can be
Tips for protecting yourself against identity
- Check your credit report on a regular basis to ensure
the information is correct.
- Immediately tear up (using a shredder is even better!)
unsolicited credit card offers.
- Never give personal information over the phone unless
you initiated the phone call.
- Never give a credit card number over the phone unless
you have initiated the phone call.
- Always be familiar with financial accounts that you
currently maintain. Verify statements and other information
sent by your financial institution for accuracy.
Cashing Fraud Protection
This guide provides tips for protecting
yourself against check cashing fraud. Check cashing fraud
occurs when individuals use information taken from your
checks, or the checks themselves, to access your accounts
and commit fraudulent acts. By following these simple
guidelines you can greatly reduce your risk of becoming
- Always safeguard your checks. Do not leave your checks
out in an open area. Never leave your checks in your
car or out on your desk at the office.
- Keep your blank checks and canceled checks in a safe
place. Put them in a vault or other secure location.
Destroy old blank checks if you are not going to use
- Limit the amount of personal information printed
on the checks to your name and address. Use plain designed
checks. The fancier the check the easier it is to forge
the signature. Useful information for thieves includes
not only your account numbers, but information used to
verify your identity, such as your driver's license number,
social security number, and secret codes. Don't have
this information printed on your checks.
- Don't leave your bill payments sitting in an unlocked
mailbox for pickup. Many credit thieves will steal bills
from rural mailboxes at the end of driveways so they
can get your account information, checking information,
and even your checks. Go to the Post Office directly
or use a curbside USPS mailbox (the blue metal ones)
and drop your bills in the slot rather than using less
secure street mailboxes.
- Be discreet when writing checks in public places.
Write your checks carefully and leave no space in which
figures or words can be inserted.
- When you make an error in writing a check, be sure
to destroy the check or write "canceled" across
it and store it with your other canceled checks.
- If your checks are lost or stolen, report it immediately
to your financial institution.
- Reconcile your monthly statements as soon as you
can to ensure all transactions are accurate. Contact
us immediately if you do not receive it when expected.
Be sure to contact your institution within that time
frame to ensure that proper attention is given to reconciling
- When you reorder checks, mark your calendar. If you
don't receive your checks within 15 working days, contact
your financial institution immediately to inquire as
to the status of the order.
- Consider alternatives to check writing. For instance,
paying by phone, online, or setting up automatic payments.
Fewer checks mean fewer theft opportunities.
|ATM Fraud Protection
ATM fraud can occur when individuals
lose their card, give their card to someone else to use,
or when their Personal Identification Number's confidentiality
is compromised. By following these simple guidelines
you can greatly reduce your exposure to ATM fraud.
- Never write your Personal Identification Number (PIN)
on your card or in your wallet. Memorize your PIN as
soon as possible. Do not reveal your PIN to anyone not
authorized to use the account.
- Never use your date of birth, social security number,
license number or street address as a PIN -- those are
the first numbers a crook will try.
- Don't throw away your ATM receipts at the ATM location.
Keep them to reconcile your account, then dispose of
them properly when you get home.
- Always be aware of your surroundings when using the
ATM. If it is late at night, try to use a machine that
is well lit and avoid dark, remote locations.
- Always make sure to retrieve your ATM card from the
machine when the transaction is complete.
- Be aware of the person behind you. Make sure no one
can see you entering your PIN or how much money you withdraw.
- Review your statement promptly to ensure all transactions
are accurate. Report any discrepancies immediately.
- Destroy old ATM cards immediately after receiving
your replacement cards.
In addition to the types ATM fraud that
most of us are now aware of, there are two new types
that can clean out your account quickly -- card withholding
Card withholding occurs when your card gets stuck
in the ATM, you can't get it out, and you leave the
card in the ATM planning to contact the financial institution
the next morning. When you call you find that the card
was not stuck in the ATM. What happens is that thieves
put a substance into the ATM card slot which will cause
your card to stick inside the ATM. They leave the ATM
and wait for someone to attempt to use it. They
then get in line behind you and try to watch you
enter your Personal Identification Number (PIN). This
is very common at drive-up ATMs where the user may
not be paying attention to other people or cars nearby.
The thieves even go so far as to put up a sign on the
ATM stating: "If your card gets stuck, enter your
PIN three separate times to retrieve it." This gives
them three tries to watch you enter your PIN. After you
leave frustrated, and you're planning to contact the ATM owner
the next morning, they remove your card with a pair of pliers.
They can then use your card at other ATMs and Point-of-Sale
Skimming is done at businesses that offer Point-of-Sale
(POS) devices for you to pay with your ATM card, such
as gas stations. The thieves convince an employee to
allow them to connect a lap top computer to the POS machine.
The lap top is usually stored under the counter where
the POS device is located. When you swipe your card in
the POs device to make a payment the information on the
magnetic strip on your ATM card is copied and loaded
onto a disk. Thieves may also install a hidden video
camera that records you entering your PIN. They then
match the magnetic information to the PIN and access
to take for countering these scams:
- Before inserting your ATM card into
an ATM inspect the card slot for any residue.
- If there is residue, don't use that ATM. If there
is a notice on the ATM about entering your PIN several
times, don't use that ATM.
- Always cover your hand when entering your PIN: if
the thieves don't have your PIN, they can't access your
Actions for Fraud Victims
If you suspect fraud, it is important to act quickly
to minimize potential damage and your own liability.
It is important to keep a detailed account of conversations
you have with authorities and financial institutions.
Credit Bureaus. Immediately call the
fraud units of the three credit reporting companies -- Experian (formerly
TRW), Equifax and Trans
Union. Ask that your account include a statement
referencing the possibility of fraud.
Creditors. Contact all creditors immediately
with whom your name has been used fraudulently -- by
phone and in writing. Monitor your accounts closely for
any further fraudulent activity.
Law Enforcement. Report the crime to
police with jurisdiction in your case. Provide any documentation
that you have collected. Get a copy of your police report.
Keep the phone number of your fraud investigator handy
and give it to creditors and others who require verification
of your case.
Financial Institutions. If you have
checks stolen or bank accounts set up fraudulently, contact
the institution to report the crime. Put stop payments
on appropriate outstanding checks. Close your checking
and savings accounts and open new accounts. If your ATM
card is stolen or compromised, get a new card and PIN.
When choosing a PIN, don't use common numbers like the
last four digits of your Social Security number, your
date of birth, license number or street address.
U.S. Postal Service. Notify the local
Postal Inspector if you suspect an identity thief has
filed a change of your address with the post office or
has used the mail to commit credit or bank fraud.
Social Security Administration. Call
to report fraudulent use of your Social Security number.
Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Call to see if another license was issued in your name.
Go to your local DMV to request a new number. Also, fill
out the DMV's complaint form to begin the fraud investigation
process. Send supporting documents with the completed
form to the nearest DMV investigation office. Request
a driver's license number different than your Social
Security number if available in your state.
Civil Courts. If a civil judgment has
been entered in your name for actions taken by your impostor,
contact the court where the judgment was entered and
report that you are a victim of identity theft. If you
are wrongfully prosecuted for criminal charges, contact
the state Department of Justice and the FBI.
- Protect yourself against “Phishing Scams”, phony
e-mails using fake Web sites that try to fool you into
revealing personal financial data. These e-mails may
look like they come from real companies, such as PayPal,
Ebay, credit card companies, or other financial institutions.
To make sure you never provide your personal information
to a fraudulent website, never reply to an e-mail link.
Always open a new web browser and go directly to their
- Never give your personal information via e-mail. NorState
Federal Credit Union will never request personal
information via email.
- If you want to update your information, go directly
to our website by opening a new browser window, and typing www.norstatefcu.org in the address.
Never go to our
web site by clicking a link in an e-mail.
- When entering personal account information, verify
that you are on a secure website. If the website is
secure, you will find "https" in the address and a closed
padlock in your browser's toolbar.
- Never give your personal information over the phone.
If you feel a call is suspicious, call the company
directly to verify the authenticity of the call.
- Beware of organizations asking for charitable donations.
If you want to donate money, contact the organizations
yourself to make sure that your money is going to the
Accounts are Federally Insured to at least $100,000 by
the National Credit Union Administration.