Tips To Protect Yourself From Identity Fraud

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Nearly half of Ohio consumers surveyed in the Ohio Credit Union League's consumer survey have been the victim of identity fraud.

The survey revealed 41 percent of respondents have been the victim of a scam or some form of identity theft. Thirty-seven percent said they have taken some form of proactive measure against identity fraud, while 41 percent said they closely monitor their accounts and are certain they would notice any fraudulent transactions. Twenty-one percent of respondents said they figure someone will alert them if their account has been compromised.

An estimated 17.6 million Americans - about 7 percent of U.S. residents age 16 or older - were victims of identity theft in 2014, according to The National Crime Victimization Survey conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Two-thirds of identity theft victims reported a direct financial loss. Also revealed in the study, victims whose personal information was misused or who had a new account opened in their name experienced greater out-of-pocket financial losses than those who had an existing credit card or bank account compromised.

Most card fraud occurs in the United States, according to In fact, a 2015 study from multinational financial service provider Barclays states the U.S. is responsible for 47 percent of the world's card fraud, despite only accounting for 24 percent of total worldwide card volume. About 31.8 million U.S. consumers had their credit cards breached in 2014, more than three times the number affected in 2013.

Some red flags to look out for when it comes to identity fraud include suspicious activity on your credit report, unusual spending in an account, or unexpected mail regarding a new account you didn't open. Here are some additional tips and resources to help minimize your risk of identity theft.
  • Monitor accounts and check credit report. With more access and control over your personal finances than ever before, be sure to check your account activity daily, and request a free credit report annually, available by calling any of the three national credit reporting companies (phone numbers available below).
  • Consider placing a freeze on your credit. If your social security number has been compromised, consider implementing a credit freeze. This will make it harder for someone to open an account in your name. If you do place a freeze, expect to take some extra steps the next time you apply for credit, or do anything that requires a credit check.
  • Update your passwords. Make sure to change online account passwords frequently, especially if you suspect your account has been hacked. Passwords should be robust with multiple types of characters (upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols).
  • Be cautious. E-mail and text messages that require you to provide your personal information put you at risk for identity theft. If you are ever in doubt if an offer is real, reasonable, or just another attempt to trick you into giving personal information away, ask somebody you trust, such as your credit union.
  • Learn more. Credit unions can be a good source for identity fraud education. To learn more, contact your Telhio Team or visit:  
Should you fall victim to ID theft, immediately place a fraud alert on your account by calling one of the three national credit reporting companies (Equifax: 800-525-6285; Experian: 888-397-3742; TransUnion: 800-680-7289). This will make it more difficult for an identity thief to continue opening accounts in your name.

Your information is safe with Telhio. However, we do offer Identity Theft Shield to help you with the financial implications should you become a victim of fraud. Be sure to contact us so that we can offer assistance where needed.

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