Identity Theft, Phishing & Scams
Identity theft is a serious crime. It occurs when your personal information is stolen and used without your knowledge to commit fraud or other crimes. Identity theft can cost you time and money. It can destroy your credit and ruin your good name.
What is identity theft?
What to do if you are a victim of identity theft.
If you fall victim to identity theft, take these steps:
- Call the nationwide credit bureaus and put a fraud alert on your report.
- Order copies of your credit report so you can detect any problems.
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint
- File a police report and keep copies of all your calls and reports. Contact your financial institution.
Identity theft prevention begins with you.
To avoid being a victim, consumers and businesses need to pay extra attention as they go about their daily routine. Do not give credit card numbers, Social Security numbers or other personal indentifying information to anyone over the phone or in an email unless you contact them first and know you are dealing with a legitimate company. Financial intsitutions never call customers asking for account information. Do not respond to emails or phone calls that warn of dire consequences unless you take action immediately.
- Tips to help prevent identity theft:
- Do not carry your Social Security card in your wallet and do not place your number on your checks.
- Protect your incoming and outgoing mail. Take outgoing mail to the post office.
- Don’t throw away personal identifying information; shred it.
- Place your ATM card, credit card, receipts and bank information in a safe place.
- Never leave your wallet unattended and only carry with you the credit card you plan to use.
- Carry only the credit and ID cards that you actually use in your wallet. Limit your cards to one or two, your debit card and a few personal checks.
- If you become aware of anyone using your identity, immediately notify creditors, law enforcement authorities and the major credit bureaus.
- Review your credit report at least once a year. To receive a free copy go to: www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.
- Opt out of receiving pre-approved credit card or insurance offers; call 1-888-567-8688.
- Password-protect your information. Do not use the same password for more than one account and do not make it too simple.
Phishing in an electronic world
Fraud prevention begins with you.
Phishing is a way of attempting to acquire information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. This is considered Internet crime. Communications purporting to be from popular social web sites, auction sites, online payment processors or IT administrators are commonly used to lure the unsuspecting public. Phishing is typically carried out by email spoofing or instant messaging, and it often directs users to enter details at a fake website whose look and feel are almost identical to the legitimate one.
To learn more about phishing, enjoy this fun tutorial game from OnGuard Online.
Smishing is a form of phishing but delivered through cell phone text messages. These messages ask for immediate attention and then provide a web site URL or a phone number that connects you to an automated voice response system. This then requires you to give personal information.
In many cases the smishing message will show the number that sent the message as “5000” instead of an actual phone number. When this happens the SMS message was sent via email to the cell phone and not sent from another cell phone.
Remember the Securant Bank will never contact you to ask you for personal information.
To report suspicious activity for Internet (phishing) or cell phones (smishing) crime, contact www.ic3.gov
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OnGuardOnline.gov is the federal government’s website to help you be safe, secure and responsible online. The Federal Trade Commission manages OnGuardOnline.gov, in partnership with the federal agencies listed below. OnGuardOnline.gov is a partner in the Stop Think Connect campaign, led by the Department of Homeland Security, and part of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
The FTC, the nation's consumer protection agency, works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. The FTC enters consumer complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
This service provides consumers with the secure means to request and obtain a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies in accordance with the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act).