Protect Your Money

Most people think about growing their money, but not many people think about protecting it – until something happens. You’ve worked hard for your money, so keep it safe. If you feel like your money is not safe, or if you have an uneasy feeling about a situation, it’s best to seek help before something happens. Call the Financial Empowerment Centers at 855-FIN-PHIL so we can help you work things out. All services are confidential.

 

Identity Theft

Being a victim of identity theft can be scary and overwhelming. Our Financial Empowerment Center counselors can help you with the process, but it’s is best to take action quickly.

  • Check your credit report regularly so that you know if there are any issues.
  • As soon as you’ve discovered that someone has stolen your information, place an initial fraud alert on your credit by calling one of the credit bureaus. They must inform the other bureaus of the fraud. When you report the identity theft, ask for your credit report. Make sure you get one from each bureau.

Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
Experian: 1-888-397-3742
TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289

  • If you suspect your identity has been stolen by someone close to you who may be able to bypass security questions, you may want to consider a credit freeze. There may be a fee for this service and it may prevent you from using or opening new credit, but it will also prevent more purchases from being made fraudulently.
  • File and keep a police report. Often, this will serve as proof that you have been a victim of ID Theft. Make sure you send these to the credit bureaus as well.
  • Contact any creditors and/or banks and notify them of the theft directly.
  • Be sure to change your passwords online, especially if you don’t know how your information got stolen.
  • Keep all records related to the incident.

 

Scams

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. The below situations are red flags that you might be scammed.

  • You receive a letter or email from someone you don’t know, who makes big promises about giving you large sums of money.
  • You get a phone call or letter saying you’ve won a lottery you’ve never entered.
  • You get an “emergency” phone call from a grandchild claiming they are in trouble and need money quickly. The caller asks you not to call the parents.
  • Someone asks you to give a small amount of money in advance for the promise of getting a larger amount later on.
  • You receive a large check from a potential tenant, who then says they have made a mistake and asks you to give a large portion of the money back. Chances are the check wasn’t good in the first place.
  • Someone tells you that you need to make a financial decision quickly so you don’t “lose out”.
  • You receive an email or phone call asking for personal information, like a social security or bank account number. Never give this information away without verifying the person you are talking to is legitimate.
  • These are just some of the ways people try to scam others out of their money.

If you have been a victim of identity theft or fraud, contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at www.consumerfinance.gov or 855-411-2372.