Identity theft can happen to anyone, from a newborn child to someone who’s passed away.
Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission. It’s a serious crime that can wreak havoc with your finances, credit history, and reputation — and can take time, money, and patience to resolve.
Identity Theft is a crime in which an impostor obtains key pieces of personal identifying information such as Social Security numbers and driver's license numbers and uses them for their own personal gain. This is called ID Theft. It can start with lost or stolen wallets, pilfered mail, a data breach, computer virus, phishing, a scam, or paper documents thrown out by you or a business (dumpster diving). This crime varies widely, and can include check fraud, credit card fraud, financial identity theft, criminal identity theft, governmental identity theft, and identity fraud.
Protecting your personal information can help reduce your risk of identity theft. There are four main ways to do it: know who you share information with; store and dispose of your personal information securely, especially your Social Security number; ask questions before deciding to share your personal information; and maintain appropriate security on your computers and other electronic devices.
How can you prevent or reduce the possibility of identity theft happening to you? Here are some basic tips:
• Don’t carry more than one credit card with you during your daily activities
• Report the loss or theft of any credit cards to the issuers immediately.
• Avoid using your debit card for online purchases—your credit card is better protected against fraud. (If your credit card is used without your authorization and you’ve reported the theft, you’re only responsible for a certain amount in charges.) Check with your card’s issuing bank to find out what kind of protection you may have
• Install and update virus protection software and install a firewall on your home computer if you use the web at home
• Keep photocopies of your credit cards, debit card and driver’s license in a secure place
• Don’t give out personal information such as credit card numbers over the phone, unless you have initiated the phone call to a trusted company
• Avoid throwing away your receipts in public trash containers or shred receipts that show your entire account number on paper
• Check your mailbox regularly if you’re expecting a new credit card
• Check your credit report at least once a year
As far as your Social Security number is concerned, you should never have it written on your checks or printed on your driver’s license. Also avoid carrying your Social Security card in your wallet—if you lose your wallet, anyone can use the number.
Federal law gives you the right to one free credit report each year from the three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You can order a free annual credit report by calling 877.322.8228 or visiting www.annualcreditreport.com.
Marlboro Electric Cooperative has implemented best business practice technical, administrative, and physical security methodologies in order to protect its legal interests, against loss, unauthorized access, destruction, misuse, modification, and improper disclosure of all information collected and maintained.
While no information is absolutely safe in an electronic environment, by implementing best business practice security, Marlboro Electric Cooperative has taken reasonable steps in preventing information security breaches caused by the illegal or unauthorized acts of any individual or company. Marlboro Electric Cooperative is not responsible for information security breaches caused by the illegal or unauthorized acts of any individual.