Safeguarding Your Child’s Identity In Today’s World

Child identity theft isn’t something we often think about. However, it occurs more often than you might expect. According to Javelin’s Child Identity Fraud Report, child identity theft affects 1.25 million kids every year, which translates to about one in 50 children in America. When you see those numbers, it becomes apparent that we must act now to protect the children in our lives.

What Is Child Identity Theft? 

According to the Federal Trade Commission, “Child identity theft happens when someone takes a child’s sensitive personal information and uses it to get services or benefits or to commit fraud. They might use your child’s Social Security number, name and address, or date of birth.” 

Child identity theft happens for a multitude of reasons. The perpetrator could use this information to open a bank or credit card account, apply for government benefits, or even sign up for a utility service or rent a place to live. Much like other types of identity theft, it can be easy for this type of identity theft to go undetected for months or even years. 

How It Happens

As with adults, identity theft against children can be perpetrated through a variety of sources. Below we have listed some ways that children’s personal identifying information (PII) could be exposed and then potentially used for fraudulent purposes.

  • Data Breaches. Kids’ personal identifying information is in so many places, and nothing is completely secure. Schools, doctors’ offices, and your home can all experience security breaches. After a child’s confidential information or PII is exposed, whether the data breach incident is accidental or with malicious intent, the security breach cannot be undone. Often, criminals will wait to utilize the confiscated information for their own purposes. 
  • Familial Fraud. Three out of four cases of child identity theft come from those close to the victim, in what is known as familial fraud, and often occurs in correlation with other forms of abuse, according to Javelin’s Child Identity Fraud Report. Kids are often more trusting than adults, especially when they know the person who is asking for their information. Unscrupulous individuals at times utilize the PII of their own children, or children they know through family or friends, for their own benefit.
  • Phishing. These scams don’t just target adults. Children who use the internet without parental supervision have a higher chance of giving their sensitive information to a scammer, not realizing that they are being tricked. Kids don’t always know not to share their birth date, place of birth, and passwords with strangers or online “friends.” 
  • Hacking. As more children have their own devices, and often multiple devices (computers, tablets, and phones), hacking becomes more common. Hackers can gain access to the information stored on these devices and can also log in to social media accounts, which they could use to attempt to defraud friends and family, acting as your child.

Warning Signs Of Child Identity Theft

Regardless of the way the information makes it into the hands of identity thieves, below are some warning signs that your child’s identity may have been stolen:

  • Unexpected Mail. Your child begins receiving credit card offers, collection notices, or bills under their name.
  • Collection Calls. You or your family members begin to receive calls from collection agencies for unpaid bills in your child’s name.
  • Government Benefits Denials. Your child is denied government benefits because they are already being claimed when this is not the case.
  • IRS Notifications. The IRS contacts you or your child about your child owing taxes or indicates that their SSN was used on another tax return.

How You Can Help Protect Your Children 

The best way to help protect your family from identity theft is to be proactive in helping to prevent it. The most effective preventative measure is education. This type of education will not only help protect them now, but it is information that will benefit them as adults. 

Keep Important Documents in a Secure Location. Keep your family’s personal identifying information in a secure place in your home, be selective about what services you sign up for, and don’t give your information out unless it is absolutely necessary. Make sure that any important documents in your home – such as Social Security cards, birth certificates, or other legal documents – are stored securely, to avoid compromise.

Share Personal Information with Caution. Assess the need before listing your child’s Social Security number (SSN) on forms. Schools and school break camps shouldn’t be using it as the only unique ID for each child. If an SSN is required, don’t be afraid to ask if it’s okay to share only the last 4 digits of your child’s SSN.

Educate Your Child. Talk to your child about the importance of privacy and the dangers of sharing personal information, online and offline. Ensure that your child isn’t sharing personal information like their birthdate, address, or school on social media, other online platforms, or with other individuals without your permission.

Secure Your Mail. If you’re sending or receiving mail with personal details, especially if those personal details pertain to your children, consider using a mailbox that locks or opt for electronic delivery. Retrieve your mail daily as soon after delivery as possible. Consider opting into the U.S. Postal Services “Informed Delivery” service. It’s free to sign up and it will provide a Daily Digest email that will preview your mail and packages scheduled to arrive soon, along with an image of each of your incoming letter-sized mail. This will help you stay vigilant for any missing mail that never arrives. 

Discard Unnecessary Documents with Care. If you have postal mail or other important documents that you no longer need to keep on file, make sure that you use a cross-cut shredder to securely destroy the paperwork. Criminals can engage in “dumpster diving” to retrieve discarded paperwork with personal information, potentially compromising you and your family.

Monitor Your Child’s Personal Information. You have an entitlement to Dark Web Monitoring as part of your Premier Checking account. This includes monitoring your personal information and registered credentials. You have the option to add additional credentials to your secure account as well; you could consider adding your child’s SSN or other identifiers to monitor for any potential compromise or exposure on the dark web.

Child identity theft can have long-lasting consequences, potentially impacting your child’s credit and future opportunities. By remaining vigilant, educating your child, and keeping a close eye on his or her personal information, you can help better protect your child from the impacts of identity theft.

We Are Standing Ready To Help You And Your Family 

If you suspect identity fraud has affected any member of your family, even your minor children, you have access to a professional Identity Theft Recovery Advocate as a no-cost benefit of your Premier Checking account. Our team of Identity Theft Recovery Advocates is standing by, ready to support you and your family. Our Advocates are experienced in spotting child identity theft and supporting you through the process of repairing the harm it may cause now and in the future.

The Growing Threat of Phishing: Protecting Yourself Against Cybercriminals

In the recently released 2022 Internet Crime Report by the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), it has become evident that cyber actors continue to plague Americans, with dollar losses escalating by 49%. Among the staggering number of complaints received by the IC3, over 37% were related to phishing attacks. Phishing has emerged as the single most prevalent category of cybercrime, causing significant financial losses, particularly among citizens aged 60 and older. This article delves into the origins of phishing, and its evolution into a top hacking category. It also offers essential tips to help protect you from falling victim to these malicious schemes.

Understanding Phishing

Phishing is a technique employed by cybercriminals to deceive individuals into divulging sensitive information or installing malware on their devices. This method is executed through various channels such as phone calls, emails, SMS texts, or even social media messages. The term “phishing” was coined in the late 1990s when hackers began using email lures to “fish” for passwords and financial data from unsuspecting internet users.

The Evolution of Phishing

The concept of illegal hacking began in the 1970s, long before the introduction of the internet, with a scam called “phone phreaking” or simply “phreaking.” This form of hacking used machine-driven audible tones to manipulate telephone systems to make free phone calls worldwide. By the late 1990s, when hackers began using lures to “fish” for passwords and financial data from unsuspecting internet users, they coined “phishing” as an homage to their criminal predecessors of the 1970s.

Over the past two decades, phishing has become increasingly sophisticated, pervasive, targeted, and costly. In 2022 alone, the IC3 reported losses of $52 million due to phishing attacks. Notably, unreported losses from such incidents are significantly higher, making it crucial to stay informed about the latest phishing techniques and safeguard oneself against these threats.

Types of Phishing Attacks

  1. Email Phishing: Attackers send fraudulent emails that mimic reputable sources, such as banks, government agencies, or popular online services. These emails often create a sense of urgency, urging recipients to click on malicious links or provide personal information.
  2. Spear Phishing: This targeted approach focuses on specific individuals or organizations. Cybercriminals gather personal information to craft tailored messages that appear authentic, often impersonating colleagues, vendors, or clients to manipulate victims into revealing sensitive data.
  3. Smishing and Vishing: Phishing attacks have extended beyond emails. “Smishing” refers to fraudulent text messages, while “vishing” occurs through voice calls. These tactics rely on social engineering to deceive victims into sharing personal information or clicking on malicious links.

Avoid and Identify Phishing Attempts

  1. Stay Vigilant: Be cautious of unsolicited emails, especially those requesting sensitive information or containing urgent requests. Look for signs of poor grammar, generic greetings, or email addresses that don’t match the claimed sender.
  2. Verify the Source: Before sharing any personal or financial information, independently verify the email’s legitimacy or message’s legitimacy. Contact the organization directly through their official website or customer service channels to confirm the request’s authenticity.
  3. Be Wary of Links and Attachments: Hover over hyperlinks to reveal the true destination before clicking. Avoid downloading attachments or files from untrusted sources, as they may contain malware or ransomware.
  4. Strengthen Passwords and Enable Two-Factor Authentication: Use unique, complex passwords for each online account. Enable two-factor authentication whenever possible, adding an extra layer of security to your accounts.
  5. Keep Software Updated: Regularly update your operating system, web browsers, and antivirus software. Software updates often include security patches that help protect against known vulnerabilities.
  6. Educate Yourself and Others: Stay informed about the latest phishing techniques and trends. Share knowledge with friends, family, and colleagues to raise awareness and help them avoid falling victim to phishing attacks.

And remember, if you feel that you are at risk of identity theft, make sure that you have activated monitoring of your credit to be alerted as quickly as possible to credit fraud. But, don’t rest there. Watch your checking account transactions and for suspicious postal mail that may indicate fraudulent accounts opened in your name. If you feel you could be a victim of identity theft, we have you covered! With the Premier Checking account, you have access to Fully Managed Identity Theft Recovery Services. We can provide a professional Identity Theft Recovery Advocate to help you rescue your good name!


Top Misconceptions on Personal Finances

Police FCU of Omaha is always here to help Your Blue Family. We find that our member-owners are very smart people. However, as with all of us, sometimes we simply don’t know what we don’t know.

Here are the most common areas where we provide personal finance insight to our members in no particular order:

“Credit Report Pull” Misconception – Some consumers erroneously believe that when a lender “pulls” their credit report to quote a loan rate, this process will lower or negatively affect their credit score. Nothing could be further from the truth. For a lender to provide you with an accurate rate quote, they must pull your credit report. It is common for borrowers to shop rates before making their choice, and this process will not adversely affect your credit score.

“Unsecured Debt” Misconception – Something that actually will adversely affect your credit score is holding too much unsecured debt. Converting revolving unsecured debt to a secured fixed rate and term product, such as a Debt Consolidation Loan, will not only improve your credit score but also save you money on finance charges.

“Identity Theft” Misconception – Some consumers believe that if they have a low credit score and/or a high level of debt, they won’t be attractive to identity thieves. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous individuals all over the world that know several tricks to take advantage of anyone and everyone. So, protect your personal information like gold, regardless of your financial situation.

“Fraud Alert” Misconception – To further drive home the point that unscrupulous individuals know and use several tricks, not every fraud-alert call, text, or email is legitimate. Do not answer these communications directly unless you know for certain that they are coming from your financial institutions. Even if you are just a little unsure, follow your instinct and call the primary number for your financial institution or credit card. They will be glad to tell you if there truly is a fraud issue or if the only fraud was the call, text, or email you just received.

“Credit Monitoring” Misconception – Credit monitoring services are a good start when protecting your finances, but it is nothing more than a smoke alarm. Once you are alerted to the problem, you must “put out the fire.” Credit monitoring services won’t protect you, but having ID Theft Protection and Recovery can help tremendously.

“GAP Insurance” Misconception – Speaking of protection, many consumers protect themselves by purchasing guaranteed asset protection (GAP) insurance when buying a vehicle. GAP is an auto loan debt cancellation waiver that protects you financially if your vehicle is totaled or stolen and you owe more on the vehicle than your insurance will pay. Although some dealers will aggressively recommend this protection when buying a car or truck, the truth is that you can purchase GAP coverage for your vehicle at any time, allowing you to shop around for the best rate.

“Warranty” Misconception – Similar to GAP, warranties do not have to be purchased when buying a vehicle. This is especially true when buying a new car, truck, or SUV with a manufacturer’s warranty. The best time to buy an extended warranty is right before the manufacturer’s warranty is about to expire.

“20% Down” Misconception – The idea that a home buyer needs to put 20% down for a conventional mortgage is a myth. Police FCU of Omaha can suggest several options for home buyers regardless of the amount of your down payment.

That leads us to the most important takeaway: we are not a bank. We are, first and foremost, a service provider to sworn and civilian law enforcement and their families. So, if you have a need or a question, even if you may think it is pretty basic, come to us first. Police FCU of Omaha will steer you in the right direction. We are here to help Your Blue Family.

Scholarship Winners

Congratulations to the 2022 – 203 Warren A. Morrow Scholarship Winners!

Easten Kinsey, son of Jeremy and Jennifer Kinsey
Ethan Boyes, son of Nicolette Nielsen and grandson of Eric and Deb Buske
Jaxson Leahy, son of Dominique Dillon and Thomas Leahy
Zachary Swanson, son of Michael and Becki Swanson

Highlights from Episode Five of the Blue Family News Q&A Series

  • Learn how officers that desire to move into another profession can translate police language into business language on resumes and in interviews.
  • Find out the top mistakes law-enforcement professionals make when applying for jobs in the private sector.
  • Recognize how to properly read and understand job postings for open positions.
  • Discover the best places online to look for a new career.
  • Understand why networking is one of the best strategies when looking for a new career.
  • Learn what to do and not to do on social media while searching for a job.


Watch the full Blue Family Q&A.

Highlights from Episode Four of the Blue Family News Q&A Series

  • Learn why officers should remove some of their personal information online.
  • Discover the mistakes many law-enforcement families make on social media.
  • Find out ways to protect yourself online.
  • Recognize how unscrupulous people can use your posts against you.
  • Learn how to think like the bad guys do online.
  • Understand what to do with strange texts and emails.
  • Discover a few tips on how to protect yourself online.
  • Find out how protects law-enforcement families online.


Watch the full Blue Family Q&A.

Highlights from Episode Three of the Blue Family News Q&A Series

  • Understand the best time to start financial planning for college.
  • Learn about possible college scholarships.
  • Discover ways to catch up on financial planning for college if you got a late start.
  • Find out why shared branching might be the most valuable service available to members going to college away from home.
  • Discover the variety of student loans available.
  • Recognize how to build credit while going to college and why that’s important.
  • Find out the online tools to manage your finances while away at college.
  • Understand why overdraft protection can be extremely helpful while away at college.
  • Remember that if you do make a financial mistake to not be embarrassed and call your credit union for help and advice.

Watch the full Blue Family Q&A.

Highlights from Episode Two of the Blue Family News Q&A Series

  • Learn about Beyond the Call and how the program focuses on the mitigation, understanding, awareness, and strategies that improve the mental fitness of first responders.
  • Realize why mental health deserves the status of high-liability training.
  • Understand how trauma not only effects police officers but also the perspective of the communities they serve.
  • Discover how law-enforcement professionals can be at their best when those they serve are at their worst.
  • Recognize how new police officers can deal with trauma and that of the communities they serve.
  • Understand why family members should learn what to look for to support their police officer.
  • Realize why officer suicide is preventable.
  • Find out why sometimes as a police officer you just need to have a conversation with someone that understands, even anonymously.
  • Remember and be proud of the work being done as a police officer.
  • Recognize how Going Beyond the Call can save a police officer’s life.

Watch the full Blue Family Q&A.

Highlights from Episode One of the Blue Family News Q&A Series

  • Learn the work that How2LoveOurCops does for law-enforcement families throughout the country.
  • Discover why and how law-enforcement marriages are different from others, especially from the perspective of the police officer’s spouse.
  • Realize how many law-enforcement suicides are marked by the end of a marriage.
  • Find out what spouses of law-enforcement professionals need to know about their partners.
  • Understand why law-enforcement spouses need to find their voice and use it wisely.
  • Embrace the idea that the family is usually the early warning system for law-enforcement suicides.
  • Learn tips for repairing a law-enforcement marriage, starting with think “We” instead of “Me.”
  • Recognize how reviewing and understanding your finances can help relationships.

Watch the Full Blue Family Q&A Session

Top 10 Finance Tips for LEO Families

#1 Start saving early. 

You’ll never regret saving.  Saving each month in an interest-bearing account will allow your money to grow and compound.  The earlier you start saving in your career in law enforcement may mean the less time you will need to work overtime and more time with your family.

The easiest way to save money is to have a set amount automatically deposited into your savings account each pay period. Talk to a professional at Police Federal Credit Union of Omaha on how best to schedule your automatic deposits based upon your unique needs

#2 Spend wisely. 

We know this can be easier said than done. However, it’s critical to spend less than you earn.  Loans and credit cards can get you through a rough month, but don’t let this become a habit.  Ask yourself, “What do I really need?” For example, you may very well need a truck, but that three-year-old used GMC with only 19,000 miles may be exactly what you need instead of that newest model coupled with a monthly payment that blows up your entire budget.

#3 Create a budget.

Yes, this may not be the most fun activity that you do in your off time to unwind, but you’ll thank yourself for it. Not only does it help you to avoid financial crises when an appliance breaks or your roof begins to leak but also allows you to plan for enjoyable events like vacations so that you don’t feel like you are missing out. There are a number of budget apps and programs out there. Talk to a professional at Police FCU of Omaha, and we’ll be happy to steer you in the right direction.

#4 Minimize debt.

Keep debt to a minimum so you can make monthly on-time payments.  If you find you have trouble making on-time monthly payments, please seek help. Sometimes even the best of us can get into unexpected trouble. Sometimes life just happens. Police Federal Credit Union of Omaha is a financial partner you can depend on. If you are running into trouble, the sooner you come to us, the more we are likely able to do to help you.

#5 Diversification is key.

If you have already been following tip #1, you want to make your money work for you. Financial diversification is a strategy designed to reduce risk.  Be sure to consult with your financial advisor and verify that you have been taking advantage of the proper financial vehicles for your age, risk level, and family needs.


#6 Review your insurance coverage.

There’s no question that a career in law enforcement can put us in harm’s way. Make sure you and your family are covered if there is an unfortunate event. Police Federal Credit Union of Omaha offers multiple insurance products, including Line-of Duty Death Insurance, for specific loans. Review all of your insurance coverages annually to verify that you are properly insured.

#7 Financial education is always important.

Knowledge is power. It’s important to stay current on all the latest financial topics.  This doesn’t mean you need to have a Wall Street Journal tucked under your arm when you are walking into the department for your shift. However, realizing that ultimately you are responsible for your financial future creates a healthy perspective. Financial institutions, like you Police Federal Credit Union of Omaha, are resources for you. So, choose a partner that understands the banking needs of law enforcement and their families.

#8 Monitor your credit report. 

Annually check your credit report for errors and monitor your credit score. You can get a free annual credit report by visiting There are also a number of services where you can check your credit on a monthly basis. Being diligent may alert you to issues before they become a major problem.


#9 Protect your identity.

Monitoring your credit and protecting your identity go hand in hand. When choosing ID theft protection, be careful not to simply use the equivalent of a smoke alarm that simply warns you that there is a problem. You want a fire extinguisher to help you to snuff out those issues. The latter is exactly what you receive when you open a Premium Checking Account with Police Federal Credit Union of Omaha.

#10 Schedule an annual financial review.   

Reviewing all aspects of your finances on an annual basis can keep you on track. That’s why Police Federal Credit Union of Omaha is happy to conduct a Blue Review of your finances to guide you into the future. We are first and foremost a passionate financial-services provider to law enforcement and their families. We are proud to be a part of Your Blue Family and are always happy to assist you.