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Protecting Your Personal Information from Fraud and Identity Theft

At Royal Credit Union, we have a team of financial educators dedicated to making money matters as easy to understand as possible for everyone, from ages 5 to 105. Now more than ever, with students looking for learning resources they can access from home, and adults facing uncertain economic times, we understand the importance of providing you with the financial education resources you need. With that in mind, our Minnesota Financial Education Coordinator, Deb Paulsen, has produced a series of 60 second Money Talk videos that give you quick tips covering a variety of topics related to your financial health. We hope you learn something beneficial from each one! If you’d like a little more information about the topics covered in the videos, please read the blogs that are included with each one.

Our first few videos will cover identity theft and fraud. We hope this information will empower you and provide you with the knowledge you need so that you have one less thing to worry about. Unfortunately, identity theft and related scams often spike during times of crisis, so it's especially important now to protect your personal information.

 

Watch this video to learn about fraud and identity theft and what you can do to protect yourself.

 

 

As the video points out, we can’t always keep things like our name, address, and phone number private, but it’s important that we keep account numbers, social security numbers, and other private information protected because it’s a combination of information that helps an identity thief be successful. The more they know about you, the easier it is for them to piece things together to steal your identity.

You may be wondering what can happen if you’re the victim of identity theft. If your information is stolen, a thief can empty your bank account, run up charges on your credit cards, open new utility accounts, and get medical treatment using your health insurance. They could also obtain a driver’s license or passport, open bank accounts, forge checks, apply for loans and credit cards, open insurance accounts, and file a tax return in your name and get your refund. I personally had a situation many years ago where I tried to file my taxes electronically only to find out that someone in another state had already done so using my social security number. Let me just say, that’s a very alarming and concerning situation to find yourself in! Luckily, it seems that the incident was only a mistake and I didn’t have my identity stolen, but I still made sure to contact the IRS and monitor my credit reports closely for a very long time.

Although the list of things that identity thieves could potentially do with your personal information can seem frightening, by understanding what you need to protect, you are already taking steps in the right direction to keep safe. Please watch for our next 60 second Money Talk video in this series to learn about how identity thieves obtain your information and what you can do to stay one step ahead of their efforts.