Your personal safety is important to us. Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the nation and even though it is a felony to take another person’s identity, it’s a common crime. We would like to make you aware of identity theft and ways to prevent being a victim.
How can someone steal my identity?
- Break into your home.
- Take your identification from your wallet or purse.
- Intercept bills from your mailbox.
- Go through your trash to find personal information.
- Call you on the phone pretending to be from a bank or other credit grantor and get personal information.
- Change your mailing address without you knowing it to receive your statements and bills.
- Steal personal records from your employer.
- Find unsecured internet sites containing personal information.
What does the criminal do with my information?
- Apply for credit cards/loans for themselves using your name.
- Use their address as if it were yours to get your billing statements.
- Buy merchandise using your credit card or credit card number.
- Get phone and other utility service at their residence in your name.
How to Prevent Identity Theft.
- Don't carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write it on your checks. Only give out your SSN when absolutely necessary.
- Protect your pin. never write a pin on a credit/debit card or on a slip of paper kept in your wallet.
- Watch out for "shoulder surfers". use your free hand to shield the keypad when using pay phones and atms.
- Collect mail promptly. Ask the post office to put your mail on hold when you are away from home for more than a day or two.
- Pay attention to your billing cycles. If bills or financial statements are late, contact the sender.
- Keep your receipts. Ask for carbons and incorrect charge slips as well. Promptly compare receipts with account statements. Watch for unauthorized transactions.
- Tear up or shred unwanted receipts, credit offers, account statements, expired cards, etc., to prevent dumpster divers getting your personal information.
- Store personal information in a safe place at home and at work. Don't leave it lying around.
- Don't respond to unsolicited requests for personal information in the mail, over the phone or online.
- Install firewalls and virus-detection software on your home computer.
- Check your credit report* once a year. Check it more frequently if you suspect someone has gotten access to your account information.
To order a copy of your credit report, contact:
How to Report Identity Theft
- Report it to your financial institution. Call the phone number on your account statement or on the back of your credit or debit card.
- Report the fraud to your local police immediately. Keep a copy of the police report, which will make it easier to prove your case to creditors and retailers.
- Contact the credit-reporting bureaus and ask them to flag your account with a fraud alert, which asks merchants not to grant new credit without your approval.
What is an Internet "PHISHING" Scam?
Internet phishing scams are one of the fastest-growing frauds today. Phishing (pronounced "fishing") typically involves a false email message that uses a company's Web site graphics and logos falsely. These fraudsters attempt to entice you to provide personal financial details; such as credit card numbers, account usernames and passwords, or social security numbers; so that they can steal your identity.
The Department of Justice advises email users to "stop, look and call" if they receive a suspicious e-mail.
- Stop. Resist the urge to immediately respond to a suspicious email and to provide the information requested despite urgent or exaggerated claims.
- Look. Read the text of the email several times and ask yourself why the information requested would really be needed. Phishing emails sometimes have poor grammar or misspellings and this is a warning sign to you that it is false.
- Call. Telephone the organization identified in the e-mail, using a phone number you know to be legitimate.
For more information on Identity Theft, Online Fraud and Phishing Scams, visit the following sites:
SouthCrest Bank does not contact customers via email requesting a customer to provide personal secure information, such as a Social Security number, Online Banking passwords or PIN numbers.