Stop Scammers in their tracks: Identity Theft Awareness Week 2024


It’s never too late to take steps to protect your personal information from bad actors. January 29 through February 2, 2024, is Identity Theft Awareness Week, a campaign to bring attention to how to spot, avoid, report, and recover from identity theft.

Identity theft can happen in many ways. From someone opening a credit card in your name, to someone using your information to get a loan, identity theft can happen to anyone, anywhere. Here are the steps you may be able to take to protect your personal information and what to do if something happens.

What is Identity Theft?

Identity Theft is when a bad actor uses your personal or financial information without your permission. This might be your Social Security number, name, address, bank account information, or medical insurance information. This personal information can then be used to get new credit cards, open a utility bill in your name, steal your tax refund, use your health insurance to get care, and more.

Protecting Your Identity:

The first step in preventing identity theft is to keep your personal information secure. Be sure to protect your documents that have personal information. This includes your Social Security cards, financial records, and any other documents that have personal information in a safe place where others are not able to access them easily. If you decide to throw away any documents, be sure to shred them before you toss them in the trash. Keep an eye out for a local shred day in your community, or use a marker to block out account numbers.

Many common scams aim to target you through fake emails, text messages, or phone calls. Do not give your personal information to someone who calls, emails, or texts you, as this could be a scammer. Here are six questions to consider when avoiding scammers.

Remember, Opportunity Bank of Montana staff will never initiate a request for sensitive information from you, including your:

• Social Security Number

• Username and passwords

• Account information

• Full card details or PIN

If you recognize any of the signs above and gave out information or sent money to an unidentified source, call your local branch right away.

How to Detect Identity Theft:

You may be able to detect identity theft by:

·• Closely reviewing your bills each month: Unexpected charges, or things you didn’t buy may be signs of identity theft.

• Review your credit report: New accounts in your name that you do not recognize could be a sign of identity theft. Learn how to check your credit report at

Reporting Identity Theft:

The Federal Trade Commission offers a website,, to help victims report and recover from identity theft with a personalized recovery plan. The portal walks users through recovery steps for more than 30 types of identity theft.

Additional Resources:

Federal Trade Commission: Identity Theft Awareness Week 

FTC Video: 5 Ways to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft -Free Credit Reports | Consumer Advice ( 

What To Know About Identity Theft | Consumer Advice (

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