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For Your Eyes Only

For Your Eyes Only

 

            Identity theft is still one of the fastest growing crimes in this country affecting millions of Americans each year. Those trying to rescue their identity spend months or years and thousands of dollars cleaning up the mess and restoring their good name and credit record. Victims can lose job opportunities, be rejected for loans and even arrested for crimes they didn't commit. If you have ever been targeted, you know the humiliation and frustration that accompanies a stolen identity.

 

            Safeguarding your personal information is a never-ending process.  You can help avoid identity theft by following these simple steps:

 

-         Shred or tear up statements and other personal information. Criminals may be able to get access to your accounts and personal information by "dumpster diving" (retrieving canceled checks, deposit receipts or bank statements from dumpsters or trash bins).

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-         Keep an eye out for any missing mail, particularly account statements and bills that do not arrive when expected.

 

-         Review your monthly accounts regularly for any unauthorized charges through the Internet, phone or ATM statements.

 

-         Order free copies of your credit report once a year from each of the credit reporting agencies to ensure accuracy. Go to the Federal Trade Commission's authorized web site www.annualcreditreport.com for your free credit report.

 

-         Choose to do business with companies you know are reputable, particularly online. When conducting business online, use firewalls, anti-spyware and anti-virus software and do not respond to unsolicited requests for personal information.

 

-         Protect your PINs and passwords. Use a combination of letters and numbers for your passwords and change them periodically.

 

-         Report any suspected fraud immediately to your bank and the fraud units of the three credit reporting agencies:

Equifax                                            Experian                                        TransUnion

P.O. Box 740241                            Allen, TX 75013                           P.O. Box 6790

Atlanta, GA 30374-0241               (888) 397-3742                              Fullerton, CA 92834

 (800) 680-7289                        www.experian.com                        (800) 525-6285

www.equifax. com                                                                            www.transunion.com                                                                                                        

                                                                    

 

            No one is safe from identity theft. However, you can prevent your personal information from landing in the wrong hands through education and effective preventive measures. Inform yourself and check farmbureaubank.com regularly for the latest in scams or phishing announcements. And, if the unthinkable does happen, take immediate steps in restoring and securing your identity

 

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