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Financial Advice & Help

Personal Finance Help

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Note: Consumer Credit Counseling Service of MD & DE (CCCS) is now doing business as Guidewell Financial Solutions.

Identity Theft Resources

The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has very useful information available about fraud, scams and tips on protecting your children.

Here at LM Federal, one of our highest priorities is to keep information about your accounts private and secure. We're proud to have earned your trust by offering the highest level of security, using the latest encryption technology for online transactions, plus virus protection and firewalls. We access your personal information only when necessary to service or maintain your accounts. In addition, you have the opportunity to select your own passwords to enter your accounts and have personal identification numbers (PINs) for your ATM and debit cards. We issue you a personal Access Number for your accounts-totally unrelated to your account numbers. We do not share any of your information with third parties except as allowed or required by law and as necessary to provide you with services, nor do we ever email you asking for personal or sensitive information (to read our complete privacy statement, click here).

Identity Theft Tips

If Identity Theft Strikes

When your wallet is lost or stolen, you're protected from unauthorized use of your credit and debit cards and subsequent financial liability if you promptly notify your card issuers. But it's not so easy to guard against identity theft. Each year a growing number of people are victimized by a criminal element interested in stealing their identities.

Armed with personal data, such as your Social Security number, date of birth, and mother's maiden name, these thieves can, within a matter of hours, take over your existing accounts, open new ones, and obtain credit cards, a passport, a drivers license, Social Security benefits and loans. And they can even change your mailing address!

Limit your chances of becoming a victim!

Here are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself:

  • Protect your Social Security number and credit card account numbers. Don't give them to anyone over the telephone if they've called you. Hang up and call the company back using a telephone number you find (NOT ONE THEY GIVE YOU) to check that it was a legitimate inquiry.
  • Cancel unused credit cards.
  • Limit the amount of identification and the number of credit cards you carry.
  • When making transactions over the Internet, use only a secure site. Look for the "lock" icon on the Web page.
  • Don't leave envelopes with checks inside in an unsecured mailbox. Try to use a sealed U.S. Post Office mailbox for your correspondence. If you have an "open" mailbox, make an effort to pick up your mail promptly. Don't leave mail in your mailbox overnight or on weekends.
  • Completely destroy or shred copies of credit card receipts, statements from financial institutions, tax returns and loan applications before discarding them. Keep the ones you need in a SECURE place.
  • Look for statements from financial institutions and verify that the account information is correct. By signing up for LM Federal's secure Online Banking access, you'll be provided with an excellent means of reviewing your accounts at your convenience. Read more about Online Banking
  • Never give your Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) to anyone, for any reason. Watch out for a scam that is known as "phishing," where someone calls or emails you and claims to be from one of your accounts (Internet provider, credit card, etc.) and wants to "verify" your information by requesting that you give them your account number, social security number, etc.-DON'T GIVE OUT THIS INFORMATION. Immediately call those companies and notify them about these abuses.
  • Watch for unexplained interruptions in your mail service. If there is one, contact your local post office and verify that your address has not been changed without your knowledge.
  • Review a copy of your credit report at least once a year.

Notify the correct authorities If you feel you have been a victim of identity theft: Contact the three Credit bureaus and report the incident. Then follow up the phone contact with a written notification to police.

  • Contact LM Federal or other financial institutions where you have accounts. Obtain new account numbers and have a code word placed on your accounts.
  • File a report with your local law enforcement agency and obtain a report number for future reference.
  • If your credit cards or ATM cards have been compromised, request new accounts and PINs.
  • If your checks have been stolen or misused, close the account and ask your financial institution to notify the appropriate check verification service. You should also contact the major check verification companies yourselves:
    • TeleCheck - 1-800-710-9898
    • Certegy, Inc. - 1-800-437-5120
    • Call SCAN - 1-800-262-7771 to find out if anyone has been passing bad checks in your name.
  • Report the fraudulent use of your Social Security Number to the Social Security Administration:
    • Report Fraud - 1-800-269-0271.
  • Visit your states' motor vehicles office and advise them of the incident.
  • Obtain a new operator's license and number.

NOTE: You do not have to use your SSN for your driver's license.
YOU MAY request another number for your driver's license.

For more information on Identity Theft and to download forms for reporting identity fraud, go to consumer.gov/idtheft, call their hotline toll-free 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338), or write Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580.

Credit Reports

Knowing what's on your credit report is very important, particularly if you are about to apply for a loan or in some cases even a job. It is important to know what your credit report says about you and the way you handle your financial obligations. You need to know what's on there so any mistakes can be corrected. It can also help you quickly find and prevent actions that may mean an identity take-over.

Don't forget that you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report per year from each credit bureau. Your credit bureau report may be retrieved online and does not contain the FICO credit score. However, it will list any credit inquiries and any accounts opened with your name and social security number and how to dispute any incorrect information. To request your free copy, visit www.annualcreditreport.com or contact each credit bureau at:

Equifax
PO Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
800-685-1111
www.equifax.com

Experian
PO Box 949
Allen, TX 75013
888-397-3742
www.experian.com

Trans Union
760 W. Sproul Rd.
PO Box 390
Springfield, PA 19064
800-888-4213
www.transunion.com

 

Freezing Your Credit Report

One option to prevent unauthorized access to your credit report is to place a credit report freeze. This will prevent anyone from pulling your credit for any purpose. When you place a credit report freeze you will get a random PIN from Equifax and may choose your PIN when using Experian and Transunion. You will need to provide this PIN to a lender when applying for a loan OR you must contact the credit bureaus to either perform a temporary lift of the freeze or remove the freeze to apply for a loan or credit. Transunion and Equifax do charge $5 for the freeze or to perform a temporary lift. When you get your PIN make sure to note it for future use and save the links below as these are also where you can go to lift the credit report freeze.

Equifax               Transunion                Experian