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Identity theft is downright scary. Imagine that someone illegally obtains your personal data—which may include your social security number, driver’s license, bank routing number, and/or credit card numbers—and unbeknownst to you, begins defrauding you, stealing from your accounts, and obtaining credit in your name.

 

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), 16.6 million people were victims of identify fraud in 2012. Identity theft cost Americans more than 24 billion dollars that same year. Those numbers continue to grow.

 

It’s important to be proactive about your credit and personal data. There are steps you can take to lessen your risks and exposure. Kerndt Brothers Bank has been protecting our customers since 1856. We want to help protect you from identity theft.

 

One easy and quick step you can take each year is to request your credit report. Your credit report includes, among other data, your personal information, a very detailed history of your borrowing history, and public records from state and county courts.

 

Did you know that the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires all three of the nationwide credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to send you a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months? When you log onto the AnnualCreditReport.com site, you’ll need to provide some basic information and answer a few questions that only you should know (i.e. the dollar amount of your mortgage).

 

When you visit each credit reporting company, you may also wish to pay for your credit or FICO scores. These scores are generated based on the information contained in your credit report. With scores ranging from 300–850, generally the higher your score, the better your credit history. Each time a lender orders your credit report, he or she will see your credit score. This score impacts the amount of credit and the type of loan rates offered to you. Therefore, if there are any discrepancies in your credit report, correct or dispute them so that your credit score is an accurate representation of your credit history.

 

Rather than request all three reports at once, you may prefer to order one report every four months. Staggering your requests this way is a smart way to monitor and detect if there’s any been suspicious activity on your accounts. And it gives you precious time to correct any problems you may find.

 

What if do you discover you’ve been a victim of identity theft? Unraveling identity fraud and restoring your good credit can take lots of time and money. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to act quickly.

 

The FBI and the Federal Trade Commission outline specific steps to take if you discover identity theft. They say you can lessen the damage if you immediately:

  • Place an initial fraud report
  • Order your credit reports
  • Create an identity theft report

 

At Kerndt Brothers Bank, we’re available to answer any questions you may have about credit reports, credit scores, and identity theft. As your community bank, we live and work in the same towns as you, our customer. We’re committed to safeguarding your assets and securing your financial future.

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Disclaimer

The material provided on this website is for informational use only and is not intended for financial or investment advice. Kerndt Brothers Bank and/or its partners assume no liability for any loss or damage resulting from one's reliance on the material provided. Please also note that such material is not updated regularly and that some of the information may not therefore be current. Consult with your own financial professional when making decisions regarding your financial or investment management.