Identity Theft & Fraud Prevention
Identity theft continues to be one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States, and has ranked as one of the top consumer concerns for the past several years. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has produced a multimedia presentation to help consumers protect themselves from identity theft. Below are some resources for our customers:
- FTC Identity Theft
- FDIC Consumer Resources
- FBI Common Fraud Schemes
- Stay Safe Online
- OnGuardOnline.gov provides practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help you be on guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal information.
- StopFraud.gov - The Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force maintains a wide list of resources and information dedicated to helping find and report suspected cases of financial fraud
How can I protect myself?
- Monitor YourCredit Report - Monitor your credit reports. In addition, you can order a free copy of your credit report from all three of the credit reporting agencies at www.annualcreditreport.com. You are entitled to one free report from each of the credit bureaus once per year. Be aware that other sites may try to sell you your credit report or offer a “free” credit report if you sign up for credit monitoring.
- Fraud Alert – Consider placing a fraud alert on your credit report. An initial fraud alert can be placed on your credit report for free. Simply contact one of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion and ask the company to put a fraud alert on your file. Confirm that the company you call will contact the other two companies. The initial fraud alert will stay on your credit report for 90 days. You can renew it after 90 days.
- Monitor Your Accounts – Regularly monitor your bank accounts. Use online and mobile banking to keep a close eye on your accounts and watch for fraudulent activity.
- Credit Monitoring - Enroll in Equifax, Experian, or Transunion’s services or other credit monitoring service that you trust. Equifax is offering one year of free credit monitoring and other services, whether or not your information was exposed. A few examples of other credit monitoring companies include: Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, Life Lock, or Identity Guard (most have a fee).
- Shred sensitive documents – Keep paper copies of documents in a secure place and shred documents before throwing them away.
- Be Vigilant - Watch out for scams related to the breach. Do not trust e-mails that appear to come from Equifax regarding the breach. Attackers are likely to take advantage of the situation and craft sophisticated phishing e-mails. Don’t click on links or open email attachments unless the email was expected. Contact the sender directly by phone if you want to verify the legitimacy of the email. Be aware of the security on websites that you enter personal or credit card information into and don’t input sensitive information over unsecured, public wi-fi.
- Strong Passwords – Use strong passwords when accessing websites with sensitive information. Use different passwords on your critical accounts or websites and don’t share your passwords. Do not use the “remember my password” feature in web browsers. Add length to your passwords and consider a password manager to enable longer passwords without having to write them down.
- Don’t Ignore Bills – Don’t ignore bills from people or businesses you don’t recognize. This may be an indication someone else opened an account in your name. Contact the sender of the bill to find out.