Protecting Your Privacy – Identity Theft
Protecting Your Privacy
No matter how cautious you are, there is no way to completely prevent identity theft from occurring. But there are ways you can help minimize your risk. This page contains valuable information on how you can protect yourself by managing your personal information wisely, the warning signs to identity theft and internet ‘phishing’, and what to do if you do become a victim.
Identity theft occurs when someone acquires your personal information and uses it without your knowledge to commit fraud or theft. It is a serious crime and cases are growing. An all-too-common example is when an identity thief uses your personal information to open a credit card account in your name.
Internet ‘phishing’ scams are one of the fastest-growing frauds today. Phishing typically involves a bogus e-mail message that uses legitimate materials, such as a company’s Web site graphics and logos, in an attempt to entice e-mail recipients to provide personal financial details, such as credit card and Social Security numbers.
Financial institutions, government agencies, retailers and many other organizations have seen their Web site graphics, including corporate logos and other materials, “borrowed” by fraudsters intent on tricking consumers into divulging personal financial information by responding to an official-looking, but entirely bogus, e-mail. Like many cons and scams, phishing preys on the unwary.
Helpful Tips to Avoid Identity Theft and Internet ‘Phishing’ Scams
Don’t give out personal information on the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you’ve initiated the contact or are sure you know whom you’re dealing with.
Don’t carry your Social Security card with you; leave it in a secure place.
Carry only the identification and credit and debit cards that you need.
Don’t put your address, phone number, or drivers license number on credit card sales receipts.
Social Security numbers or phone numbers should not be put on your checks.
Shred your charge receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, checks and bank statements, expired charge cards that you are discarding, and credit offers you get in the mail.
Secure your credit card, bank, and phone accounts with passwords.
Avoid using easily available information like birth date, any part of your SSN, or your phone number.
When opening new accounts, you may find that many businesses still have a line on their applications for your mother’s maiden name. Use a password instead.
Secure personal information in your home, particularly if you have roommates or hire outside help.
Promptly remove mail from your mailbox. If you are planning to be away from home and can’t pick up your mail, contact your local post office for instructions on how to request a vacation hold.
Never respond to an unsolicited e-mail that asks for detailed financial information.
Resist the urge to immediately respond to a suspicious e-mail despite urgent or exaggerated claims.
Before revealing any personally identifying information (for example, on an application), find out how it will be used and secured, and whether it will be shared with others. Ask if you have a choice about the use of your information. Can you choose to have it kept confidential?
Check your credit report every year. Make sure it is accurate and includes only those activities you have authorized.
Remember – GatewayBank, FSB will NEVER ask you to provide or update any personal information by utilizing a link on our Web site. When in doubt – contact your branch office.
Although there may be no warning signs that precede an identity theft, there are some reasons to be concerned.
Your bills or statements don’t arrive on time. A missing credit card bill could mean someone has taken over your account and changed your billing address.
You are denied credit for no apparent reason.
You begin to receive bills from companies where you haven’t bought anything.
Collection agencies begin trying to collect on debts you don’t recognize.
If You Do Become a Victim
Sometimes an identity thief can strike even if you’ve been very careful about keeping your personal information to yourself. If you suspected that your personal information has been hijacked and misappropriated to commit fraud or theft, take action immediately. Keep a record of your conversations and correspondence.
Contact the three major credit bureaus and request that a fraud alert be placed on your credit report and check your credit report. The credit bureaus and phone numbers are:
Equifax – www.equifax.com
To order your report, call 1-800-685-1111
To report fraud, call 1-800-525-6285
Experian – www.experian.com
TransUnion – www.transunion.com
To order your report, call 1-800-916-8800
To report fraud, call 1-800-680-7289
Close all accounts that you know or believe have been tampered with or opened.
Notify all creditors and financials institutions, in writing and by phone, that your name and accounts have been used without your permission.
File a Police Report Provide as much documentation as you can – such as debt collection letters, credit reports, and other evidence of fraudulent activity. This information will help the police file a complete report.
File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC is collecting identify theft complains from consumers to help law enforcement agencies worldwide.
Identity Theft Clearing House
Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20580
Or Call 877-IDTHEFT (438-4338)
When you follow these simple security measures, your interaction with our online banking system will be completely confidential. We look forward to serving your online banking needs today and in the future.