Avoiding Identity Theft & Fraud

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Protect your identity

Identity theft can occur when someone gets their grubby little hands on your personal information, such as your social security number, date of birth, address and/or financial account numbers. An identity thief will take on your identity to illegally purchase items or obtain credit. This can be a very frustrating process to clean up and we want to protect you from this whenever possible.

Here are some simple guidelines about avoiding identity theft:

  • Check your credit report on a regular basis for incorrect or fraudulent information. Click here for a free copy of your credit report.
  • Immediately shred unsolicited credit card offers.
  • Never give personal, credit card or financial account info over the phone unless you initiated the call.
  • Receive eStatements instead of paper statements, whenever possible.
  • Another good source for info about the latest scams and threats is www.consumer.ftc.gov.

Tips to prevent credit card fraud

  • Review your credit card statement as soon as possible. Make sure all charges are yours and for the correct amount.
  • Sign a new credit card immediately.
  • Make sure to always get your card back after making a purchase.
  • When using a credit card at a restaurant or store, make sure all lines of the receipt are filled in or marked through so no one can change the final amount.
  • Only travel with the card(s) you plan on using.
  • Verified by Visa will help protect your Linn Area VISA credit card when making purchases online.

Tips to prevent check cashing fraud

Check cashing fraud is when someone uses information from your checks, or the checks themselves, to access your account and commit fraudulent acts.

  • Always keep your checks in a safe place – never leave them out.
  • Don’t get more than your name and address printed on your checks (not even your driver’s license number).
  • If your checks are stolen, notify Linn Area Credit Union immediately.
  • Look at your checking account history on a regular basis so you will notice fraudulent activity quicker.
  • Write checks carefully and don’t leave any space for words or numbers to be inserted.
  • When you re-order checks, mark your calendar. If you don’t receive them within 15 working days, contact us immediately.
  • Consider alternatives to check writing. For instance, use Bill Payer instead of writing and mailing checks.

Tips to prevent ATM fraud

  • Never, ever, ever write your PIN on your card or tell anyone what your PIN is.
  • Do not use your birth date, year of birth or any other obvious number as your PIN.
  • Destroy your old debit or ATM card as soon as you receive a new one.
  • Look at the machine before you use it. If there is any evidence of someone tampering with the machine, do your transaction somewhere else.
  • Be aware of anyone behind you and make sure no one can see you enter your PIN or how much cash you are withdrawing.


Phishing consists of a phone call or e-mail from what appears to be a legitimate company, financial institution or government agency asking you confirm credit card numbers, verify passwords, bank account numbers and/or social security numbers. They will tell that you are either being protected from potential fraud or helping the fight against terrorism. They will ask you to give them this information over the phone, through a reply e-mail or they will tell you to go to a website and enter this information. THESE ARE NOT LEGITIMATE E-MAILS, WEBSITES OR TELEPHONE CALLS!!! The real companies would never contact you to ask for this information.

While it is best to be overly cautious, keep in mind that if you initiate the phone call or e-mail, it is still most likely a legitimate company.

Think you’ve been a victim of fraud?

  • If you suspect fraud, it’s important to act quickly to minimize damage and any liability.
  • Keep a detailed account of conversations you have with authorities and financial institutions.
  • Get a copy of your credit report from all three credit bureaus (Experian, Trans Union and Equifax).
  • Contact all creditors with whom your name his been used fraudulently.
  • Report the crime to your local police. Provide any documentation you have collected. Be sure to get a copy of your police report and keep the phone number of your fraud investigator handy.
  • If you have checks stolen or bank accounts set up fraudulently, contact the institution. Put stop payments on outstanding checks. Close your checking and savings account and open new ones.
  • If your Linn Area Credit Union ATM or debit card is stolen or compromised, get a new card and pick a different PIN. Be sure to call us at (319)378-0101 if this occurs. If it’s after hours, call (800) 554-8969.
  • If your Linn Area Credit Union Credit Card is lost, stolen or compromised, call (800) 234-5354 , than dial 0. If the card is lost, stolen or compromised outside of the country, dial (515) 457-2082.
  • Notify the local Postal Inspector if you suspect in identity thief has filed a change of your address with the post office.
  • Contact the Social Security Administration if you think there was fraudulent use of your social security number.
  • Call the DOT to see if another license was issued in your name.
  • If  a civil judgment has been entered in your name for actions taken by your imposter, contact the court where the judgment was entered and report that you are a victim of identity theft.
  • Monitor your account closely for any further fraudulent activity.

For more information about combating identity theft, visit FTC.gov