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Identity Theft and Fraud Prevention Guide

Identity theft occurs when someone obtains your personal information and uses it without your permission, and often without you even realizing it.
There are steps you can take to detect and prevent identity theft.

Review Your Credit Report

To catch identity theft, you can review your credit report for any activity that is not your own. You have the right to receive a free credit report from each of the national credit reporting agencies once a year. You can access your free report by visiting or calling (877) 322-8228.

There are other sites (including the credit reporting agencies themselves) which charge to provide your report, or which enroll you in a service for which you will be charged. Remember: only or (877) 322-8228.

Cooperative Federal counselors will be glad to review your report with you and help you dispute any errors or suspicious activity. To speak with someone at the Credit Union about reviewing your credit report, call (315) 471-1116 ext. 697.

Fraud Alert and Security Freeze

To make it more difficult for someone to use your information for fraudulent financial purposes, you can place a free fraud alert or a security freeze on your credit file.

Fraud Alert

A fraud alert instructs creditors to watch for unusual or suspicious activity in your accounts, and provides creditors with notice to contact you separately before approving an extension of credit.
You can place a fraud alert free of charge by contacting one of the three national credit reporting agencies (listed below). You won't need to contact all three separately; the agency that you contact should forward the fraud alert on to the others on your behalf. You will receive a confirmation in the mail after the alert has been added to your file.
An initial fraud alert stays on your credit report for 90 days. You will need to contact the credit reporting agencies again to extend the alert.
When you call the credit reporting agency, they may also promote a credit monitoring service, which there is a charge for. The fraud alert alone is free, however.

Security Freeze

A security freeze prohibits credit agencies from sharing your credit file with any potential creditors without your consent. Once your files are frozen, even someone who has your personal information should not be able to obtain credit in your name. New York state residents may place a security freeze for free (the first time; future requests have a cost of $5).

If you wish to apply for credit, and the lender needs to access your credit report, you will need to either remove or temporarily lift the Security Freeze. There are some exemptions to the law, such as companies that have a current financial relationship with you.

A Security Freeze will remain on your file until you request its removal in writing.

The three national credit reporting agencies require that security freeze requests be made in writing to the addresses below. The required documentation varies from agency to agency; it may be best to call beforehand to make sure you send everything needed.

Equifax Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348

Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion Security Freeze
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834

National Credit Reporting Agencies
Contact information to place a free fraud alert

Office of Fraud Assistance
P.O. Box 105069
Atlanta, GA 30348
(888) 766-0008
TTY: (866) 478-0030

Credit Fraud Center
P.O. Box 9532
Allen, TX 75013
(888) 397-3742
TTY: (800) 735-2989

Fraud Victim Assistance Department
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834
(800) 680-7289
TTY: (877) 533-7803

Cooperative Federal accounts are federally insured by NCUA Cooperative Federal is an Equal Housing Lender
Cooperative Federal is an equal housing lender
Cooperative Federal accounts are federally insured by NCUA