Is Someone "Phishing" for Your Personal Information?
Phishing is a type of identity theft that occurs online. Scam artists steal personal information from consumers by creating fraudulent Internet pages. The damage inflicted by these "phishers” can hurt your reputation and damage your credit rating for years to come. Scam artists may also seek to steal your identity through a similar tactic called "vishing,” which is basically phishing by phone.
Here are a few tips to prevent becoming a victim of phishing or vishing:
Never respond to unsolicited requests for personal information.
Contact the company yourself if the message appears to be from a company you deal with.
Review all financial statements closely to ensure all transactions displayed were actually made by you.
Request your credit report from the three credit bureaus at least once a year and review the accounts and payment histories closely.
What to do if you’re a victim
If you think you’ve been a victim of a scam, here are the steps you should take:
- Contact your financial institution and let them know that your account information may have been compromised.
- Contact the three major credit bureaus and request that a fraud alert be placed on your credit file. This will prevent Internet thieves from opening new accounts in your name. Equifax (800) 525-6285, P.O. Box 740250, Atlanta, GA 30374; Experian (888) 397-3742, P.O. Box 1017, Allen, TX 75013; TransUnion (800) 680-7289, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92634
- Report all phishing activity to the Federal Trade Commission at www.consumer.gov/idtheft or call (877) IDTHEFT.