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Routing # 211885946

Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when someone assumes your identity to perform a financial transaction or other act without your knowledge or permission. According to TransUnion, identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America with 19 people falling victim to it every minute.

Often, the stolen information is used to take over accounts, open credit cards or obtain medical care long before the theft is ever discovered. An identity thief can file a tax refund in your name and get your refund. In some extreme cases, a thief might even give your name to the police during an arrest.

While many people first find out about identity theft from their financial institutions, there are some red flags that indicate your personal information may have been stolen and used for fraudulent purposes. The information provided here is meant to educate and help you to protect yourself against fraud and identity theft. Watch for warning signs to make sure you don't fall prey.

The FBI and other state and federal crime agencies have reported an increased number of cases involving fraudulent state unemployment insurance claims amid COVID-19. Many states have been affected to include Massachusetts. Learn more about what you need to know and how you can protect yourself.

  • You see withdrawals from your bank account that you can’t explain
  • You don’t get your bills or other mail
  • You receive a credit card that you did not apply for
  • Merchants refuse your checks
  • Debt collectors call you about debts that aren’t yours
  • You find unfamiliar accounts or charges on your credit report
  • Medical providers bill you for services you didn’t use
  • Your health plan rejects your legitimate medical claim because the records show you’ve reached your benefits limit
  • The IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don’t work for
  • An extreme-legal action is brought against you (warrant or subpoena) for something you haven’t done

  • Do not give out personal information over the phone, unless you have initiated the call and you know who you are speaking with
  • Shred your receipts, credit card offers, financial statements, returned checks and any other sensitive information before discarding
  • Do not respond to suspicious, unwanted or unwarranted emails
  • Minimize what you carry in your wallet/purse
  • Freeze your credit line with major credit reporting agencies (a fee may apply)
  • Check your credit report annually (or on a regular basis). Obtain a free annual credit report by going to www.annualcreditreport.com
  • Protect your computer or mobile device with virus detection software 
  • Watch out for “shoulder surfers.” Shield the keypad when typing your passwords on computers and at ATMs.
  • Collect mail promptly. Ask the post office to put your mail on hold when you are away from home. Shred all mail, even “junk” mail before discarding.
  • Use unique passwords or codes which contain characters, letters and numbers
  • Enroll in an identity theft program (fees may apply) 
  • When possible, use trusted ATMs.

  • Notify us at 413-733-2800 or 1-866-697-8328, or visit us at one of our locations so that we may assist you and protect your accounts
  • Report a fraudulent transaction on your Pioneer Valley Credit Union account
  • Contact our ATM/Debit Card service provider at 1-800-472-3272 to close your card
  • Place a fraud alert (which is good for 90 days) on your credit report by contacting the three major credit reporting agencies:
  • File a police report (retain copies as you may need these for future use)
  • Complete a Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Affidavit by calling 1-877-438-4338 or by visiting www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov

Recovering from identity theft is a lengthy process. We are here to provide assistance to our members. Please contact us for more information at 413-733-2800.