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Member Education

BlueOx Credit Union strives to help our members obtain financial well-being! A key component of this is financial education. We deliver this everyday at our offices, through classes out in the community, and online. We invite you to explore the many resources we have to offer.

ID Theft

Recognizing a Minefield: An Identity Theft Primer

Your identity is one of the most valuable things you own. The intangible nature of your identity is what makes it so valuable and so important to protect.

Why steal identity? Because it is easy, requires no special tools and offers little risk of being caught. The biggest reason? It’s lucrative. It is worth billions in revenue to the thieves.

What is the easiest way scammers get your information? They ask for it! Rummaging through trash, although it does happen, is not the preferred method of collecting information. Here are a few of the ways personal information hits the streets and ways to counterattack:

  1. Phishing Scams – An e-mail shows up in your inbox under the auspices of being from a known legitimate business. The e-mail has a legitimate look, complete with a business logo. They need to verify your information or your account will be frozen, terminated, etc.
     
    1. Never click into a website using a link provided in an e-mail. You will likely be diverted to a scam site. Log into websites for businesses you do business with only via a website address you enter yourself.
    2. Financial institutions, credit card companies, etc. will never ask you to verify information out of the blue.
    3. E-mail Scams – The Nigerian e-mail scam is the most well-known – someone needs your help to get their funds out of the country, and your assistance will be greatly rewarded! Other types of e-mail scams may invoke a religious tone, etc. Never reply to these types of e-mails.
       
  2. Telephone Scams – “You’ve won a prize in a lottery! We’ll just need your account number and routing information to send your winnings.” Meet any such calls with skepticism and hang up. Never provide any personal information on the telephone when you have not initiated the contact.
     
  3. Stealing Mail – Outgoing and incoming mail is stolen from boxes or your mail is diverted by scammers completing a change of address form with the USPS.
     
    1. It is advisable to not leave mail (incoming or outgoing) in the box any longer than necessary.
    2. Question statements that are new and unfamiliar, or expected statements that do not arrive.
    3. Shred credit card offers, etc. before disposal.
       
  4. Stealing Information from the Workplace – One bad apple employed by a company that has a legitimate reason for keeping your data on file is all it takes. Think of all businesses that keep your data on file – financial institutions, hospitals/doctors offices, schools – the list is endless.
     
    1. Be as choosy as you possibly can about giving out info – make sure there is a need to know.
       
  5. Stealing Wallets – Your wallet is a treasure trove of information.

Additional Prevention Steps

If the Unthinkable Happens

If you fall victim, there are steps to take to minimize the damage:

If you have IDProtect through BlueOx Credit Union (all members do, unless you have opted out), start here.

Otherwise:

  1. File a police report – You will need this to prove your case or file a dispute.
     
  2. Contact the fraud units of all three major credit reporting agencies
     
    1. Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
    2. Experian: 1-888-397-3742
    3. TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
       
  3. Contact the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft Hotline to complete an ID Theft Affidavit at 1-877-IDTHEFT or www.consumer.gov/idtheft
  4. Contact the Social Security Administration: 1-800-269-0271
     
  5. Contact your financial institutions and credit card companies immediately. Close accounts and reopen new ones. Ask for a warning to be put on your account noting that your identity was compromised so service representatives will take extra steps and use extra caution when transactions/requests appear. The key is to act quickly (this is where the copies of your wallet contents come in handy)!

Additional Resources

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