How Do I
Protect Myself from ID Theft
Never give personal information on the phone.
Identity thieves may try to pose as a bank or credit card company employee over the phone, but doing so should be a dead giveaway. Legitimate organizations will not call and ask you for personal information—like your ATM or Debit Card PIN number or your Social Security number.
Even if you suspect a call might be legitimate, ask for the caller's credentials, hang up, and contact the organization using the phone number listed on your financial institution's bank statements. If the caller gives you a different phone number to call back that you don’t recognize, be suspicious.
Callers can get aggressive – telling you that you’ll go to jail or that you owe lots of money. They are trying to scare you into giving them your personal information. Don’t let them intimidate you. Hang up and call your financial institution.
Check your credit reports regularly.
Credit reports include the activity on any accounts in your name, including the last-reported balances and any newly opened accounts. Check your credit report regularly, and if you notice something suspicious, like an unfamiliar account, take action to address it as soon as possible. You can monitor your credit, set alerts, and check your credit score for free anytime in Metro iBanking.
Choose complex personal passwords.
Don't use something that's easily guessed, like your date of birth, mother's maiden name, or the last four or your social security number as a password. Try to include special characters and numbers in your passwords. And be sure to change your passwords on a regular basis.
Make a copy of your IDs.
Make a copy of your driver's license, Social Security card, birth certificate, passport etc. and store them in a safe place where you can get to them when you need them.
Store original documents and IDs in a safe place.
Don't carry your Social Security number card with you in your wallet; leave it in a secure place. Same goes for IDs and documents that you don't need regularly, like passports and birth certificates.
Opt out of pre-screening of your credit reports.
The number to call is 1.888.567.8688 (1.888.5OPTOUT). It requires one single call for all three credit bureaus. This will stop the arrival of pre-approved credit card offers in your mailbox.
Be aware of phishing and spoofing attempts.
Scammers can make calls or send texts that appear to come from government entities, businesses, or familiar phone numbers, and emails that appear to be legitimate, in an attempt to steal your information. Contact the company using a phone number or website that you know is legitimate.
Treat your mail carefully.
Avoid leaving mail in your mailbox, as that is a frequent target of identity thieves. You might also consider limiting how much paper mail you receive in the first place by signing up for electronic statements. And when mailing outgoing bill payments or checks, it's safest to mail them from the post office or another secure location, as opposed to placing them in your mailbox for pick up.
Shred your personal information.
To thwart an identity thief who may pick through your trash or recycling bins to capture your personal information, tear or shred your charge receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, checks and bank statements, expired charge cards that you're discarding, and credit offers you get in the mail.
If you suspect identity theft:
- Immediately contact your financial institution and the Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Hotline: 877.ID.THEFT (877.438.4338).
- Contact one of the credit reporting agencies to report the fraud and ask about putting a fraud alert on your record:
- Equifax: 800.525.6285
- Experian: 888.397.3742
- Trans Union: 800.680.7289
- Contact local law enforcement to file a police report. Record the police department name and case number.