Protecting Your Credit and Personal Information During the COVID-19 Crisis

Mar 03, 2021 ​

Protecting Your Credit and Personal Information During the COVID-19 Crisis

 

 

Along with your physical health being a top priority, so should the state of your financial health and wellness.

 

As the pandemic recovery phase evolves, your credit might be the last thing on your mind. During times of emergencies though, such as this pandemic or during natural disasters, you should know the state of your finances, keep your credit on your radar, and be wary of scammers trying to access your information.

 

Credit Report Access Extended

 

Normally, your credit report is available every 12 months from all three credit bureaus–TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Given the vast number of consumers’ financial health being impacted by the current economic conditions, online access to your TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax reports are now available on a weekly basis through April 20, 2022. Visit annualcreditreport.com and follow the prompts.

 

Credit Report vs. Credit Score

 

Remember – your credit report and credit score are two different things, and your report will not include your credit score.

 

  • A credit score is calculated from your credit history and behavior–information found in your credit report.
  • A credit report is a statement of your credit activity and current credit situation. It includes a history of your loan payments and the status of credit accounts.

 

How Do I Access My Credit Score?

 

There are four main ways you can acquire your score, including checking your credit card or other loan statements, talking to a non-profit certified credit counselor, using a credit score service (be sure you know what you are signing up for and how much it really costs!), or buying a score directly from one of the three credit bureaus–TransUnionExperian, or Equifax.

 

How Do I Order My Credit Report?

 

Don’t contact the credit reporting agencies individually. The free reports are available only through annualcreditreport.com.

 

You’ll need to provide your name, address, social security number, and date of birth. If you’ve moved in the last two years, you may need to provide your previous address. For security purposes and to verify your identity, you may be asked for information only you would know. And beware of “imposter” websites – the only website authorized to fill orders for the free annual credit report you are legally entitled to is annualcreditreport.com. Other sites that claim to offer “free credit report” or “free credit monitoring” aren’t part of the legally mandated free annual credit report program and in some cases have strings attached to the “free” product being advertised.

 

How Can I Spot a Scam?

 

Scams during the coronavirus are spreading almost as fast as the virus itself. The U.S. Secret Service has announced that there is “massive fraud” against state unemployment-insurance programs. Fraudsters are using stolen identity information gathered by calls, texts, or websites to create fake unemployment claims. If you need help with unemployment benefits, please visit www.jobs.state.nm.us or call the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions at 877-664-6984. More information about this particular scam is available here.


What Other Types of Fraud Should I Watch Out For?

 

During these difficult times, scammers are randomly texting or reaching out via social media with “employment opportunities.” You may be asked to wire money or to purchase gift cards to be a secret shopper. Do not provide your financial account information. If the job offer is too good to be true, it probably is. If you do send money to a scammer, report it to your financial institution right away.

 

Scammers are also taking advantage of people using dating websites. If you meet someone online or through a dating app that “needs” you to wire money or reload a gift card, do not do it. Stop communicating with the person immediately, then report it to the dating site and to the Federal Trade Commission.

 

We’re Here To Help.

 

During challenging times, your Credit Union can be your first financial resource. We are here to provide you with straightforward, objective advice and services to manage your finances – so you can take care of the things that matter most.  Nusenda Credit Union has no-cost financial workshopstools, and educational resources to help – in-persononline, or with a simple call.

 

Additionally, as a Nusenda member, you can rest assured that your personal, business, and financial information is protected to the highest standards in secure online banking and privacy protection. We stay on top of the latest information from government agencies and industry professionals who watch for scams, online fraud, and other identity theft schemes to help keep your personal information safe. Visit our Account Security page for important security tips and additional information on how we protect our members from fraud and identity theft.

 

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