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Ensuring your private information stays private
At Wildfire, we have adopted security measures to ensure the safety of your personal information, and provide you with resources and tips to learn what you can do to further protect your personal information and accounts.
Our Security Measures
Wildfire is subject to regular governmental and professional audits of our security procedures and policies. These audits make sure that our security measures are solid and operate as intended.
We partner with businesses that follow strict information confidentiality procedures and demonstrate a commitment to security of information via contractual commitments with us. Along with this, there are no cases where these business partners are authorized to charge you without your consent.
We do not sell our member information to any telemarketing or other third party firm for their own use. Nor do we share non-public personal information about non-members who may use some of our services, such as our ATM's. Wildfire also does not share public information about those who are no longer our members, unless it is required by law.
While we may store these records for a period of time, we do not share the information contained on applications or other documents about those who were denied membership or other services, or could not have their credit extended, except when required by law.
We restrict access to nonpublic personal information about you to those employees who have a specific business purpose in utilizing your data. Our employees, members of the Board of Directors and Committee Members shall maintain confidentiality and member privacy. We maintain physical, electronic, and procedural safeguards that comply with federal regulations and industry practices to safeguard your nonpublic personal information.
Identity Theft Information
The federal government offers an online resource to assist identity theft victims. You can visit the website IdentityTheft.gov for a step by step process to aid you with reporting and recovering from identity theft. This tool provides checklists and sample letters to guide you through the recovery process.
Unfortunately, at this time victims themselves are burdened with resolving the problem of identity theft. You must act quickly and assertively to minimize the damage that can be caused by identity theft.
When is comes to dealing with the authorities and financial institutions, make sure you keep a log of all conversations, including dates, names, and phone numbers. Jot down any time spent and any expenses incurred, in case you are able to request restitution, or an act of restoration, in a later judgment or conviction against a thief. Confirm any conversations in writing, keep copies of all letters and documents and send them by certified mail and request a return receipt.
Be aware though that these measures may not completely stop new fraudulent accounts from being opened by the imposter. You are going to want to request a free copy of your credit report every few months so you can monitor any potential new fraudulent activity.
Furthermore, be sure to ask the credit bureaus for names and phone numbers of credit grantors with whom fraudulent accounts have been opened and ask the credit bureaus to remove inquiries that have been generated due to the fraudulent access. You may also want to ask the credit bureaus to notify those who have received your credit report in the last six months, two years for employers, in order to alert them to the disputed and incorrect information.
When you provide your police report to the credit bureaus, they must remove the fraudulent accounts from your credit report (See #3 below).
Identity Theft steps and protective measures to take:
- Credit Bureaus - Immediately call the fraud units of the three credit reporting companies -- Experian (formerly TRW), Equifax, and Trans Union. Report the theft of your credit cards or numbers and request a credit report (free to identity theft victims). Ask that your file be flagged with a fraud alert and add a victim’s statement to your report (ex: "My ID has been used to apply for credit fraudulently. Contact me at [your phone number] to verify all applications "). Check to see how long the fraud alert will be posted on your file and how you can extend it if you need to.
- Creditors - Contact all creditors immediately with whom your name has been used fraudulently, by phone and in writing. You may be asked to fill out fraud affidavits (no law requires these to be notarized at your own expense).
- Get replacement cards with new account numbers for your own accounts that have been used fraudulently.
- Ask that old accounts be processed as "account closed at consumer 's request" (better than "card lost or stolen" because it can be interpreted as blaming you).
- Monitor your mail and bills for evidence of new fraudulent activity and report any new fraudulent activity immediately to creditor grantors.
- Law enforcement - Report the crime to your local police or sheriff's department. You might also need to report it to police departments where the crime occurred.
- Give them as much documented evidence as possible and make sure the report lists the fraud accounts.
- Get a copy of the report.
- Keep the phone number of your investigator handy and give it to creditors and others who require verification of your case. Credit card companies and banks may require you to show the report in order to verify the crime.
- It is a violation of federal law (18 USC 1028) and the laws of many states to take someone's identity for fraudulent purposes.
- Some police departments do not write reports on such crimes, so be persistent!
- Also, report to the FTC (see “Other Useful Resources” section blow).
- Stolen checks - If you have had checks stolen or bank/credit union accounts set up fraudulently, report it to the correct check verification companies.
- Put stop payments on any outstanding checks that you are unsure of.
- Cancel your current checking and savings accounts and obtain new account numbers.
- Give the bank or credit union a secret password for your account (not mother's maiden name).
- If your own checks are rejected at stores where you shop, contact the check verification company that the merchant uses.
- Debit cards - If your debit card has been stolen or compromised, report it immediately.
- Get a new card, account number and password and do not use your old password.
- When you create a password, do not use common numbers like the last four digits of your SSN or your birth date.
- Be sure to monitor your account statement, you may be liable if fraud is not reported quickly.
- Fraudulent change of address - Notify the local Postal Inspector (Call the U.S. Post Office to obtain the phone number) if you suspect an identity thief has filed a change of your address with the post office or has used the mail
to commit fraud.
- Find out where the fraudulent credit cards were sent.
- Notify the local Postmaster for the fraudulent address to forward all mail in your name to your own address.
- You may also need to talk with the mail carrier as well https://www.uspis.gov/report/.
- Secret Service jurisdiction - The Secret Service has jurisdiction over financial fraud. However, based on U.S. Attorney guidelines, the Secret Service usually does not investigate individual cases unless the dollar amount is high or you are one of many victims of a fraud ring. To get the Secret Service interested in your case, you may want to ask the fraud department of the credit card companies and banks and/or credit unions, as well as the police investigator, to notify the Secret Service agent they work with. Head to https://home.treasury.gov/services/report-fraud-waste-and-abuse for more info on reporting fraud.
- Social Security Number (SSN) misuse - Call the www.ssa.govSocial Security Administration (SSA) to report any fraudulent
use of your SSN.
- As a last resort move, you might want to try to change your number, but we do not recommend it unless the case is very serious.
- The SSA will only change the number if you fit their fraud victim criteria.
- Order a copy of your Personal Earnings and Benefits Statement and check it for accuracy. A thief might use your SSN for employment purposes.
- Visit www.ssa.gov for additional information.
- Passports - Whether you have a passport or not, write the passport office to alert them to anyone potentially ordering a passport fraudulently - https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports.html.
- Phone service - If your long distance calling card has been stolen or there are fraudulent charges appearing on the bill, cancel the account and open a new one. Provide a password to your new account that must be used any time the account is changed.
- Driver's license number misuse - You may need to change your driver's license number if someone is using yours as an ID on bad checks or for other types of fraud.
- Call your state office of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to see if another license was issued in your name.
- Put a fraud alert on your license.
- Go to your local DMV to request a new license number.
- Fill out the DMV's complaint form to begin the investigation process and send supporting documents with the completed form to the nearest DMV investigation office.
- Victim statements - If the imposter is apprehended by law enforcement and stands trial, write a victim impact letter to the judge handling the case. Also contact the victim-witness assistance program in your area for further information on how to make your voice heard in the legal proceedings.
- False civil and criminal judgments - Sometimes victims of identity theft are wrongfully accused of crimes committed by the imposter.
- If a civil judgment is entered in your name for your imposter's actions, contact the court where the judgment was entered and report that you are a victim of identity theft.
- If you are wrongfully arrested or prosecuted for criminal charges, contact the police department and the court in the jurisdiction of the arrest.
- Furthermore, contact the state Department of Justice and the FBI and ask how to clear your name.
- Legal help - You may want to consult an attorney to determine legal action to take against creditors and/or credit bureaus if they are not cooperative in removing fraudulent entries from your credit report or if negligence is a factor. Call the local Bar Association or Legal Aid office to find an attorney who specializes in consumer law, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the Fair Credit Billing Act.
- Dealing with emotional stress - Psychological counseling may help you deal with the stress and anxiety commonly experienced by identify theft victims. Just know that you are not alone. Contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for information on how to network with other victims.
- Making a change - Write to your state and federal legislators demanding stronger privacy protection and prevention efforts by creditors and credit bureaus.
- Don't give in - Do not pay any bill or portion of a bill that is a result of identity theft.
- Do not cover any checks that were written and/or cashed fraudulently.
- Do not file for bankruptcy.
- Your credit rating should not be permanently affected, and no legal action should be taken against you.
- If any merchant, financial institution or collection agency suggests otherwise, simply restate your willingness to cooperate, but don't allow yourself to be pressured into paying fraudulent bills. Report such attempts to government regulators immediately.
Credit Reporting Bureaus
P.O. Box 105069, Atlanta, GA 30348.
Report fraud: Call (800) 525-6285 and write to address above.
Order credit report: (800) 685-1111.
Experian (formerly TRW)
P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013.
Report fraud: Call (888) EXPERIAN (888-397-3742) and write to address above.
Order credit report: (888)-EXPERIAN.
P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834.
Report fraud: (800) 680-7289 and write to address above.
Order credit report: (800)-888-4213.
To opt out of pre-approved offers of credit for all three bureaus, call (888)-5OPTOUT. You may choose between a two-year opt-out period or permanent opt-out status.
Remember, you are entitled to a free credit report if you are a victim of identity theft, if you have been denied credit, if you receive welfare benefits or if you are unemployed.
Social Security Administration
Report fraud: (800) 269-0271.
Order Earnings & Benefits Statement: (800) 772-1213.
To remove your name from mail and phone lists contact:Direct Marketing Association
- Mail Preference Service, P.O. Box 9008, Farmingdale, NY 11735.
- Telephone Preference Service, P.O. Box 9014, Farmingdale, NY 11735.
To report fraudulent use of your checks
- CheckRite: (800)-766-2748
- Chexsystems: (800)-428-9623
- CrossCheck: (800)-843-0760
- Equifax: (800)-437-5120
- International Check Services: (800)-526-5380
- SCAN: (800)-262-7771
- TeleCheck: (800)-710-9898
Other Useful Resources
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
The FTC offers help to victims.
File your case with the FTC Consumer Response Center, 1-877-IDTHEFT.
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC)
3100 - 5th Ave., Suite B, San Diego, CA 92103.
Phone: (619) 298-3396.
U.S. Dept. Of Justice
Identity Theft Information
Identity Theft Survival Kit
Cyber Security Awareness
Security Tip - Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks