Identity Theft Information

Identity theft is a growing concern for residents of Bedford, as well as those of the rest of the nation. Although there is no fool-proof method of protecting yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft, there are some precautionary measures which can be taken to minimize the possibility:

•When discarding any document with financial or personal information on it, such as bank statements, tax records, credit card bills, or even utility bills, always shred these documents in a paper shredder before doing so.

•In the event that you receive a phone call from anybody, even if they claim to be from the IRS or a bank which you are a customer of, never share any personal information with them. It is not a common practice for financial institutions to contact their customers and ask for them to share their personal information.

•If you think that your personal information may have been compromised, contact one of the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian or Transunion, and request an “Initial Fraud Alert” be placed on your credit report. This will cause the credit bureaus to contact you in the event that any new accounts or account activity changes have been made under your social security number.

•If you do find yourself as the victim of identity theft, and observe fraudulent activity on any of your bank accounts, first contact the financial institution and report the activity to them, so they can refund you the money for the transaction. The financial institution will most likely request that you file an incident report with your local police department and provide them with an incident or blotter number. A copy of the report is not required by most financial institutions.

•Try to use strong passwords for websites, containing a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters (&, *, $, #).

•Use a PIN number for your bank/debit cards other than your birthday or that of a relative.