At Equitable, we are committed to providing the security needed to protect your confidential personal and financial information from identity theft and fraud.
Millions of Americans fall victim to identity theft and cybercrime every year. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect yourself.
Report suspected fraud
Steps you can take to protect your identity
- Be cautious when using the Internet
- Delete all suspicious e-mails without opening them. Be especially careful when opening attachments to e-mails.
- Beware of “Phishing” scams, which begin as legitimate looking e-mails asking you to provide your password or other confidential information either in a response to the e-mail or into a website. Criminals will then use this information to commit fraud. If you are unsure always call the company sending you e-mails using telephone numbers they have previously provided to verify any requests for information.
- Do not send confidential information via e-mail; this is typically not secure unless you know it is encrypted when sent over the Internet.
- Check to be sure that commercial websites you visit utilize secure transmission measures (usually Secure Sockets Layer or SSL), typically indicated by a key or padlock icon along the lower section of your screen. This is likely the case with financial institutions and major online retailers, but always check to make sure.
- Always log out of Websites that require an ID and password, instead of just exiting or continuing to browse other sites, to ensure your confidential information is properly deleted from both the vendors system and your PC.
- When using instant messenger services be wary of links sent to you by those on your “buddy list.” Screen names can be hijacked to send viruses or other malicious software to your computer.
Additional computer precautions
- Protect your password.
- Do not use the same password for all your accounts.
- Do not write your password down.
- Do not share your password with others.
- Use complex passwords wherever possible that are not easily guessed.
- Change your password regularly. Consider who else can use your computer before you use the “Remember this Password?” feature on your browser.
- Obtain and update anti-virus software for each PC connected to the Internet.
- Keep up with “patches” or upgrades for your software from the manufacturer. Microsoft’s upgrade Website link is provided below.
- Consider purchasing firewall and anti-spyware software to further protect your PC.
- Never transmit confidential information from public PCs, such as at an airport, .
- Use caution with WiFi and Bluetooth wireless services.
- Use your own firewall, as these services may not be secure.
- Disable your wireless connection when not in use.
- Protect your password.
Protect your identity with vendors
- Always provide the minimum necessary information to any third party. Question why they need your information for the specific transaction, especially your Social Security Number.
- Never give out confidential information to someone who calls you. If they claim to be from your bank, or another vendor you do business with, call the company back using their published customer service number.
- Before purchasing goods or services online make sure you are dealing with a legitimate business.
- Immediately report any lost or stolen credit cards, debit cards, ATM cards or checks.
- Call to confirm fax numbers before sending confidential information; then call to verify receipt.
- Review your credit card bill and banking statement promptly and immediately question any suspicious charges or withdrawals.
- Cancel unused credit cards and reduce the number of cards you use and carry where possible.
- If any offer sounds too good to be true, it likely is a scam.
- Retrieve your postal mail promptly from your mailbox, and make arrangements for the Post Office to hold your mail if you’ll be away.
- Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or purse.
- Shred or destroy all documents containing confidential information before you throw them away, even those with just your name and address.
- Be discreet when discussing confidential information in public, including cell phone conversations.
- Periodically obtain and review your Credit Report from one of the major credit reporting agencies to check for inappropriate activity.
- If you have any suspicion at all that your identity may be stolen, immediately contact authorities, credit agencies, and your financial institutions.
Some warning signs of Identity Theft
Although errors on your account statement or credit card bill can occur, do not assume any unexplained charge, withdrawal or other transaction is a simple mistake and will be corrected on your next statement. Follow-up with your financial institution immediately if any of the following occur unexpectedly.
- Unexplained charges or deductions appear on your account.
- Your account statements or bills have not arrived on time.
- Renewal credit cards do not arrive on time.
- New credit cards are sent to you that you did not request.
- Your credit applications are denied or limited without apparent reason.
- Billing agencies, creditors and others contact you about unknown goods and services.
What to do if you believe you may be a victim
- Contact your local police and fill out an incident report. This report can be used with creditors to request removal of inappropriate charges.
- Contact one of the three Credit Bureaus (who will notify the other two) to request that a Fraud Alert is placed on your account(s).
- Equifax Credit Information Services, Inc.
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
- Experian Information Solutions, Inc.
P.O. Box 9532
Allen, TX 75013
- TransUnion, Fraud Victim Assistance Division
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
- Equifax Credit Information Services, Inc.
- Contact your banks, creditors and other Financial Institutions you do business with and request they place a hold or other monitoring measure on your accounts to protect you.
- Contact the Federal Trade Commission using their Identity Theft Affidavit attached below.
After these immediate contacts you can consider additional steps.
- Keep records of all calls, paperwork, etc. for future claims.
- Close or transfer effected accounts.
- You can also consider requesting a change of your account numbers, passwords and answers to “secret questions” you may have in case you forget your password.
An online scam using e-mail that appears to come from a legitimate business asking for your confidential information so criminals can use it to commit fraud. Links to fraudulent websites within the e-mail message where you are asked to provide your confidential information are frequently used to make the scam appear real.
A generic term that refers to a variety of computer applications that typically are downloaded to your PC without your knowledge and then monitor your computer usage. They frequently communicate this activity to hackers or other criminals.
Unwanted e-mail sent to your PC. If you open or respond to spam it will frequently load spyware onto your PC, usually without any visible indication of the installation.
A combination of letters (upper and lower case) and numbers that is not easy to guess, such as “g00ds3curitE”.
We take our responsibility to protect the security of your Equitable accounts and contracts from cybercrime and other fraud very seriously. To help fulfill that responsibility, we will send you various communications throughout the year.
Communications you’ll receive from us
- Trade confirmations show the amount of any security purchased or sold, the price paid or received, and any commissions or fees charged to you.
- Statements showing all account activity within the statement period, including information such account values, account fees, transfers of funds, etc.
- Confirmation letters confirming certain instructions you have given us, including mailing address changes, establishing online accounts, disbursements, updates to your investment objectives or instructions from you concerning the payment of funds and/or the transfer of securities to a third party.
If you see any unfamiliar or incorrect information in a communication you receive, contact us right away at the number listed on the communication.
Things you can do to protect your account from fraud
Review your confirmations and statements promptly for accuracy.
If you'd like a duplicate confirmation or statement sent to someone you trust, such as an accountant, attorney or family member, please let us know.
You will never be asked to make a payment directly to an Equitable financial professional or other employee for the purchase of an investment through Equitable.
- For our brokerage business, payment should be made to "LPL Financial” (the clearing agent for Equitable Advisors)
- For variable annuity and insurance business, checks should be made payable to “Equitable” or “Equitable Financial Life Insurance” as applicable.
We are committed to providing security for your confidential personal and financial information now and in the future. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have regarding our consumer protection policies.
To help you identify potentially fraudulent activities, we’ve compiled a list of reports we've received of people posing as Equitable to gain the trust of their intended victims.
Please read all communications you receive from us or other businesses carefully. If you have any doubts about the authenticity of anything you receive from Equitable, please do not reply. Always call us by using the My Account Equitable (link). Report suspicious messages to ReportFraud@equitable.com.
FAQs about security, identity theft and fraud
What’s the difference between fraud and a complaint?
Fraud occurs when someone attempts to obtain something of value by misrepresentation. Complaints are related to dissatisfaction with how someone is treated during the course of business.
To lodge a complaint, please call the Customer Service department that handles your product type. Please see our Contact Us page for all phone numbers.
To report fraud, as opposed to a general complaint, please visit our report fraud website.
What’s the difference between fraud and an ethics/misconduct complaint?
Fraud normally has to do with attempts to or realized takeover of your personal accounts. Ethics or misconduct issues has to do with interactions with Equitable employees or financial professionals.
If you have specific concerns with unethical or illegal activity by an Equitable employee or representative, please refer the matter to the Ethics hotline at 844-977-0471 or visit Equitable ethics point website.
How do I know a letter I received is really from Equitable and not fraudulent?
You may contact Equitable to validate any mailings. If you’re an existing Equitable client, you have likely received correspondence from us in the past. Use the contact information shown in that correspondence and do not call a telephone number or send mail to any unfamiliar phone number or address. For contact information by product, please visit our account support website.
Will Equitable ask for money to file a life insurance claim?
You will never be asked to pay a fee to process your claim as part of the claims process with Equitable. Should you be asked to pay a fee, such as making a payment to PayPal or sending gift cards, this should be reported immediately using the Report Fraud link.
Can I remain anonymous when reporting fraud?
Yes. When you use the online report fraud form, you can choose to be anonymous. You can also request not to be contacted or that your personal contact information not be used. Please be aware not providing contract information or a contact number may limit the investigation process if enough detail is not provided, or additional questions identified in the review cannot be answered.
What if I decide not to report fraud to my local law enforcement?
If you decide not to report your fraudulent incident, you may limit your ability to dispute charges or clear potentially fraudulent activity. Contacting local law enforcement is an integral part of the process. As part of our review, we ask that you contact your local law enforcement authorities and report the event.
Resources to fight fraud
If you would like more information to help protect and educate yourself about fraud, visit one of the links below:
- Federal Trade Commission
- United States Department of Justice or (202) 514-2000.
- U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
- FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority)
- NASAA Fraud Center
- Federal Trade Commission Consumer Advice
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