Identity Theft is a growing problem in the world today. Exchange Bank is committed to protecting your information. Education is one of the primary ways to combat this terrible threat. Please review the following links. One is a link to the Federal Trade Commission’s website on Identity Theft. It goes into discussions about issues such as phishing, what to do when your information has been stolen, and preventative measures that can be taken. The other is Common Scams and Crimes from the FBI.
Identity Theft and What You Can Do to Avoid It
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is a form of fraud or cheating of another person's identity in which someone pretends to be someone else by assuming that person's identity, typically in order to access resources or obtain credit and other benefits in that person's name. The victim of identity theft (here meaning the person whose identity has been assumed by the identity thief) can suffer adverse consequences if he or she is held accountable for the perpetrator's actions. Organizations and individuals who are duped or defrauded by the identity thief can also suffer adverse consequences and losses, and to that extent are also victims.
Deter identity thieves by safeguarding your information.
- Shred financial documents and paperwork with personal information before you discard them.
- Protect your Social Security number. Don't carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write your Social Security number on a check. Give it out only if necessary or ask to use another identifier.
- Don't give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you know who you are dealing with.
- Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails; instead, type in a web address you know. Use firewalls, anti-spyware, and anti-virus software to protect your home computer; keep them up to date. Visit OnGuardOnline.gov for more information.
- Don't use an obvious password like your birth date, your mother's maiden name, or the last four digits of your Social Security number.
- Keep your personal information in a secure place at home, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help, or are having work done in your house.
Check your Credit Reports at least annually
By law you must be provided a free credit report upon request from the three major credit reporting agencies. To obtain free reports go to www.AnnualCreditReport.com. Any errors should be reported immediately.
Defend against ID Theft as soon as you suspect it.
Place a “Fraud Alert” on your credit reports and review the reports carefully. The alert tells creditors to follow certain procedures before they open new accounts in your name or make changes to your existing accounts. The three nationwide reporting companies have toll-free numbers for placing an initial 90-day fraud alert; a call to one company is enough:
Equifax Information Services
Placing a fraud alert entitles you to free copies of your credit reports. Look for inquiries from companies you haven't contacted, accounts you didn't open, and debts on your accounts that you can't explain.
Close accounts. Close any accounts that have been tampered with or established fraudulently.
- Call the security or fraud departments of each company where an account was opened or changed without your okay. Follow up in writing, with copies of supporting documents.
- Use the ID Theft Affidavit at ftc.gov/idtheft to support your written statement.
- Ask for verification that the disputed account has been closed and the fraudulent debts discharged.
- Keep copies of documents and records of your conversations about the theft.
- File a police report. File a report with law enforcement officials to help you with creditors who may want proof of the crime.
- Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Your report helps law enforcement officials across the country in their investigations. Report to the FTD by any of the following means:
- Online: ftc.gov/idtheft
- Phone: 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338) or TTY, 1-866-653-4261
- By mail: Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580
How to avoid a scam?