Identity Theft is when someone steals and uses your name, account, Social Security Number or other personal information to obtain credit in your name, access funds in your deposit accounts, or commit other fraud with your information. Your personal information can be obtained by sorting through trash or mail, by phishing scams in emails, and by not being careful about providing personal information online.
Skimming is a scam perpetrated on Debit, Credit and ATM cardholders, and has been around for many years. Due to advancement in technology, Skimming is constantly evolving. Card Skimming is the downloading of your personal information embedded in the magnetic strip on your Debit, Credit and ATM cards by electronic card reader device called a skimmer which may be found illegally attached to gas station pumps, and even on some ATMs. Once the criminal has your information, they can commit identity theft fraud with the information.
Phishing is when criminals send out emails that look as if they come from legitimate financial institutions. To increase the chances of people falling for this type of scam, they’ll even use the company’s logo, colors, and standard disclosure text. The email will usually contain a link that takes you to a fake site made to look like the company’s legitimate website. They may ask recipients to confirm their financial information. NOTE: we will never contact you by email to ask for your personal or account information. If you are unsure about an email, delete it.
Here are some other helpful tips on protecting your account:
- Shred any documents with credit card, bank account, Social Security Numbers or any other personal information on them, if it is no longer needed.
- Don’t record your Social Security Number on any document, unless legally or necessarily required for activities you consent to.
- Check the accuracy of your credit report for free, once a year, by going online to www.annualcreditreport.com. Look for accounts you don’t recognize.
- Check your monthly statements or view your account online frequently for any possible fraudulent activity.
- When using Debit, Credit or an ATM at a gas station, make sure the card reader is part of the machine and not a separate attachment.
- When accessing your online accounts, use anti-virus and anti-spyware software, as well as a firewall, and update the software frequently, as recommended.
- Use a strong password that is at least seven (7) characters in length, containing a combination of numbers, letters, at least one uppercase letter and one special character (ex. !@#$%&)
Practice these five guidelines from ConsumerReports.org to protect yourself from mobile fraud:
- Secure Login: Make sure you are logging into a secure mobile site when using your phone’s web browser to access mobile banking sites. Look for indications on your browser that the site is secure, such as a lock symbol or “HTTPS” at the beginning of the site’s web address.
- Trusted Apps: Only allow trusted mobile applications (apps) the ability to send text messages or update social networks. Unworthy apps may initiate fraudulent messages or spam, and add charges to your cell phone bill.
- Public Wi-Fi: Never conduct mobile banking, e-commerce, or other business involving user names, passwords, or other personal information on a public Wi-Fi network. Criminals may be able to capture login and password information.
- Reliable Sources: Avoid downloading spyware, which may accompany an application (app) by obtaining your mobile apps from a trusted source. Cell phone spyware can seize personal information including messages, conversations, and via GPS coordinates, even your location.
- Security Software: Purchase and install security software on your cell phone. Security software for your phone may help you find your cell phone if misplaced, allow you to delete data if the phone is lost, and prompt you to remove malicious software.