One of the most common types of email fraud is phishing, which happens when a criminal sends phony email messages to steal personal and financial information. Some of these emails ask you to go to a website and enter personal information, and if you don’t your account may be suspended.
If you ever receive one of these emails, do not reply to it or click any of the links that are provided. Please contact Main Bank immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Identity Theft Protection
How imposters get your personal information:
- Accessing your credit report fraudulently by posing as an employer, loan officer or landlord who may have a legitimate need for the information.
- “Shoulder surfing” at ATM machines.
- Stealing mail from mailboxes.
- Completing a “Change of Address Form” to divert your mail to another address.
- “Dumpster diving” in trash bins for un-shredded credit card and loan applications.
- Gaining access to your personnel records where you work.
- Using information you share on the Internet.
- Buying your personal information from “inside” sources. For example: an identity thief may pay a store employee for information about you that appears on an application for goods, services, or credit.
How identity thieves use your personal information:
- Calling your credit card issuer and, pretending to be you, ask to change the mailing address. The imposter then runs up charges on your account. Because your bills are being sent to a new address, it may take some time before you realize there’s a problem.
- Establish phone or wireless service in your name. Opening a bank account in your name using forged identification and write bad checks on that account.
- Filing bankruptcy under your name to avoid paying debts they’ve incurred under your name, or to avoid eviction.
- Counterfeiting checks or debit cards and draining your bank account.
- Buying cars by taking out auto loans in your name.
What you can do to avoid being a victim:
- To minimize the amount of information a thief can steal, do not carry extra credit cards, your Social Security card, birth certificate or passport in your wallet or purse, except when needed.
- Reduce the amount of personal information that is “out there”; remove your name from marketing lists of the three credit reporting bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. This will limit the number of pre-approved credit cards offers you receive. Sign up for the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service and the Telephone Preference Service. Your name is added to computerized name deletion lists used by nationwide marketers.
- Have your name and address removed from the phone book and reverse directories.
- Consider installing a locked mailbox or use a post office box.
- When you order new checks, do not have them sent to your home’s mailbox, pick them up at the bank.
- When you pay bills, do not leave them at your mailbox for your postal carrier to pick up, mail them at a neighborhood drop box or post office.
- Reduce the number of credit cards you actively use. Carry only one or two in your wallet. Cancel all unused accounts. Even if you don’t use them, the account numbers appear on your credit report.
- Keep a list or photocopy of all your credit cards, the account numbers, expiration dates and telephone numbers of the customer service and fraud departments.
- Never give out your credit card number or other personal information over the phone unless you have a trusted business relationship with the company.
- Order credit reports once a year from each of the three credit bureaus to check accuracies.
- Always take credit card receipts with you. Never toss them in a public trash container.
- Watch the mail when you expect a new or reissued credit card to arrive. If it does not arrive timely, contact the issuer.
- When creating passwords and PINs, do not use the last four digits of your social security number, your date of birth, middle name, pet’s name, consecutive numbers or anything else that could easily be guessed.
- Ask your financial institution to add extra security protection to your account by using a code (a number or word) when accessing your account.
- Memorize all your passwords. Don’t record them on anything in your wallet or purse.
- Shield your hand when using ATM machines.
- Protect your Social Security number. Release only when absolutely necessary.
- Do not have your Social Security number printed on your checks.
- Order your Social Security Earnings and Benefits Statement once a year to check for fraud.
- Carefully review your credit card statements and phone bills.
- Do not toss pre-approved credit offers in your trash or recycling bin without first tearing into small pieces or shredding them.
- Demand that financial institutions adequately safeguard your data.
- Store canceled checks in a safe place.
- If you become a victim of identity theft, it is important to act immediately:
- Report the crime to the police immediately. Get a copy of the police report.
- Immediately call all your credit card issuers. Get replacement cards with new account numbers.
- Call the fraud units of the three credit reporting companies—Experian, Equifax and Trans Union. Ask how long the fraud alert is posted on the account.
- Notify your bank(s) of the theft. Cancel your checking and savings accounts and obtain new account numbers. Stop payment on any outstanding checks that you are unsure of.
- To prove your innocence, you may be required to fill out fraud affidavits with banks and credit grantors where fraudulent accounts have been established in your name.
- If you use an ATM or debit card, get a new card and PIN. Do not use your old PIN.
- If you have had checks stolen or bank accounts set up fraudulently, report it to TeleCheck, National Processing Company (NPC) or Equifax.
- The Secret Service has jurisdiction over financial fraud cases. Ask someone in the fraud department of your credit card companies and/or banks to notify the particular agent they work with.
- Notify the Postal Inspector if you suspect mail theft. Theft of mail is a felony.
- If you have a passport, notify the passport office to be on the lookout for anyone ordering a new passport fraudulently.
- Call your telephone, electrical, gas and water utilities and alert them of the fraudulent activity.
- You may want to change your driver’s license number if someone has been using your identification on bad checks. In New Mexico call the Drivers Services of the Motor Vehicle Division, 1-505-827-2241.
- The nearest office of the Consumer Credit Counseling Service might be able to give you advice on removing fraudulent claims from your credit report. Call 1-800-388-2227.
- In dealing with the authorities and financial institutions, keep a log of all conversations. Keep copies of all correspondence. Provide your police report number to expedite reporting the crime.
If you notice something on your credit report that is not yours, contact one of the three credit bureaus immediately:
- Equifax 1-800-525-6285
- Trans Union 1-800-680-7289
- Experian 1-800-397-3742
For fraudulent checking accounts, call TeleCheck 1-800-710-9898, NPC 1-800-526-5380 or Equifax 1-800-437-5120.
If you have any questions, please contact Main Bank at email@example.com.