Managing your identity: How to protect against identity theft

Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information and uses it to commit fraud or other crimes in your name. Identity thieves may go through your mail or trash to obtain your information, or attempt to access it through e-mail, text messages or phone conversations.

Many Americans have their identity stolen every day. Follow the guidelines below and help protect yourself, your good name and your good credit.

Sign up for identity theft protection
An identity theft protection program monitors your credit reports, online debit/credit card number(s) and Social Security number. If suspicious activity is detected, you will be notified and will receive identity recovery assistance.

Monitor your mail
Call the sender (e.g., your utility company, your bank, etc.) if mail fails to arrive. A false change-of-address form may have been filed to divert your information to another address. Use a secure mailbox for outgoing mail.

Review bills and bank statements
Check for fraudulent charges or suspicious activity. Report issues immediately. Consider receiving statements and bills electronically, setting up direct deposits and using online bill pay.

Check your credit reports
At least annually, review your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit reports for unauthorized activity and incorrect information.* Report issues immediately.

Shred documents
Use a cross-cut shredder to destroy envelopes and documents.

Be on guard with phone solicitors
Never provide personal or financial information to callers you do not know.

Secure your computer(s) and mobile devices
Whether a desktop, laptop, netbook, tablet or smartphone, your computer contains critical personal information. To help protect your electronic devices, you should also:

  1. Password-protect your device

  2. Install and update operating system, antivirus and antispyware software. For smartphones, also install a "wiping" program to erase all data remotely if it is lost or stolen

  3. Use a personal firewall

  4. When using a wireless network, activate WPA encryption and any other security features available. Change your router's default password and SSID

  5. Beware of "smishing" – text messages containing links capable of downloading malware to your smartphone

  6. Do not leave your device unattended or your screen visible to others

  7. Close your browser when you're finished with a secure session

  8. Log off when you leave or step away

Use caution online

  1. Only access personal and financial information from a computer you "trust"

  2. Only do business with financial institutions and online merchants you know and trust. Watch out for copycat sites and confirm the e-mail address is correct

  3. When accessing financial information or ordering online, be sure the site is secure. Look for a URL that begins with "https://" and the "closed padlock” symbol

  4. Never reply to an e-mail or pop-up message that requests you provide or update your personal information

  5. On social media sites, it’s always a good idea to:

    1. Review the privacy policy
    2. Choose a challenging password
    3. Don't reveal your physical address, date of birth, school names or phone numbers
    4. Use privacy settings

Secure your SSN, passwords and PINs
Don't keep passwords, PINs or your Social Security card or number in your wallet or purse. When creating PINs and passwords, avoid using information easily linked to you.

Identity theft can interfere with your ability to get a loan or rent an apartment. It can even prevent you from getting a job. The longer it goes undetected, the more expensive and difficult it can be to resolve.

Help minimize your risk; make prevention part of your routine today.

If you are concerned that you have received fraudulent e-mail, disclosed confidential information or have questions about online security with your TD Bank accounts, please contact TD Customer Service at 1-888-751-9000. For TD credit card-related transactions, please contact TD Bank Visa® Credit Card at 1-888-561-8861.

How to reclaim your identity

If you discover your identity has been stolen, act immediately. Following the steps below may help minimize the impact and prevent additional issues from arising.

  1. Notify all creditors
    This includes anywhere you have accounts, including banks and credit card companies

  2. Close all compromised accounts
    And dispute fraudulent transactions

  3. Open new accounts with new passwords and PINs
    If you had direct deposits or automatic payments set up through the compromised accounts, remember to set them up through your new account(s)

  4. Notify one of the major credit bureaus
    Request a fraud alert and your credit report from Equifax, Experian or TransUnion, and dispute any inaccurate information.

  5. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
    Notify the FTC if your Social Security number has been compromised*

  1. File a report with the police
    Include your FTC complaint and supporting documents. Request a copy; you may need it to dispute fraudulent accounts and/or debt created by the identity thief

  2. Contact the creditor of fraudulent accounts
    If fraudulent accounts were opened in your name, contact the creditor (bank, credit card company, etc.). Request written confirmation of all closed fraudulent accounts and/or fraudulent debts

  3. Notify your local Postal Inspection Service Office
    if you suspect mail theft or believe a false change-of-address form was filed in your name

  4. Notify the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
    Your taxes can be affected if your Social Security number is used to file a fraudulent return or claim a refund of credit. Visit the IRS Identity Theft Central*

  5. Keep detailed written records of the steps you've taken
    Include the date, business, creditor or government agency names, names of the people who helped you and a summary of the exchange. Detailed records may be needed to dispute the fraud or file charges

Learn more about how to protect your identity

This article is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide specific financial, investment, tax, legal, accounting, or other advice and should not be acted or relied upon without the advice of a professional advisor. A professional advisor will recommend action based on your personal circumstances and the most recent information available.

*By clicking on this link you are leaving our website and entering a third-party website over which we have no control.

Neither TD Bank US Holding Company, nor its subsidiaries or affiliates, is responsible for the content of third party sites hyper-linked from this page, nor do they guarantee or endorse the information, recommendations, products or services offered on third party sites.

Third party sites may have different Privacy and Security policies than TD Bank US Holding Company. You should review the Privacy and Security policies of any third party website before you provide personal or confidential information.

Share this article