How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
Have you gotten a phone call or text from someone claiming to be from WESLA Federal Credit Union? Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington has advice on how to respond if you have, in the wake of numerous reports of residents receiving messages about a locked account.
“Whether it’s a Medicare scam to take advantage of the elderly, a telemarketing scam to cheat people out of their money or phishing to gain someone’s identity, these types of criminal activities are becoming more prevalent in our society,” said Sheriff Whittington. “But the good news is that there are a few steps you can take in order to protect yourself.”
- Be cautious with your identity. Never give personal information such as credit card numbers, bank account numbers, date of birth or Social Security numbers to someone who has contacted you unsolicited, whether by phone, email, social media or in person, even if they ask you to “confirm” this information.
- Don’t trust caller ID or e-mail messages just because they look legitimate. Scammers have technology that lets them display any number or organization name on your screen. They also devise letterhead to look like the real thing.
- Ask the person for their name and phone number. If it’s scam, the call will likely end there. If they do provide the information, contact the actual business via their official phone number to report what happened.
- It’s okay to say “no thanks” and hang up the phone.
Contact your local law enforcement agency to report any possible scams or criminal activity. Bossier Sheriff’s Office can be reached at 318-965-2203, and the Bossier City Police Department’s number is 318-741-8605.
Some additional tips:
- Resist pressure to make a decision immediately on a pressure sales call.
- Don’t pay for something just because you’ll get a “free gift.”
- Do not respond or click on links contained within an unsolicited e-mail.
- Remember…if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
- If you feel you’ve been victimized, call your bank and credit card companies to explain what happened. The sooner you contact them, the more likely you will be reimbursed for any fraudulent charges on your accounts.
- Monitor your bank account and credit card accounts carefully. It may be weeks or months before scammers attempt to use your information, so check it regularly.
- Contact the credit reporting agencies. Experian, 888-397-3742; TransUnion, 800-916-8800; or Equifax, 800-525-6285.