Identity Theft Fraud Prevention
Identity theft is becoming a widespread problem reaching across the globe. Industry State Bank urges you to learn about the problem and take measures to protect yourself.
What Is Identity Theft
Identity theft is a serious crime that occurs when someone has stolen your personal information and is using it without your permission. This can disrupt your finances, credit history, and reputation, and it can then take time, money, and patience to resolve.
Identity Thieves Might
- Go through trash cans and dumpsters, stealing bills and documents that have sensitive information
- Work for businesses, medical offices, or government agencies, and steal personal information on the job
- Misuse the name of a legitimate business, and call or send emails that trick you into revealing personal information
- Read more about this by downloading Brochure on Phishing by the federal bank, thrift, and credit union regulatory agencies
- Pretend to offer a job, a loan, or an apartment and ask you to send personal information to “qualify”
- Steal your wallet, purse, backpack, or mail and remove your credit cards, driver’s license, passport, health insurance card, and other items that show personal information
You Can Fight Identity Theft – Here’s How
- Read your credit reports. You have a right to a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies. Order all three reports at once or order one report every four months. To order, go to www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.
- Read your bank, credit card, and account statements and the explanation of medical benefits from your health plan. If a statement has mistakes or doesn’t come on time, contact the business.
- Shred all documents that show personal, financial, and medical information before you throw them away.
- Never provide personal financial information, including your Social Security number, account numbers, or passwords, over the phone or the internet if you did not initiate the contact.
- Never click on the link provided in an email you believe is fraudulent. It may contain a virus that can contaminate your computer.
- Do not be intimidated by an email or caller who suggests dire consequences if you do not immediately provide or verify financial information.
- If you believe the contact is legitimate, go to the company’s website by typing in the site address directly or using a page you have previously book marked, instead of a link provided in the email.
- Create passwords that mix letters, numbers, and special characters. Don’t use the same password for more than one account.
- If you shop or bank online, use websites that protect your financial information with encryption. An encrypted site has “https” at the beginning of the web address; “s” is for secure.
- If you use a public wireless network, don’t send information to any website that isn’t fully encrypted.
- Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software and a firewall on your computer.
- Set your computer’s operating system, web browser, and security system to update automatically.
- If you fall victim to an attack, act immediately to protect yourself. Alert your financial institution. Place fraud alerts on your credit files. Monitor your credit files and account statements closely.
What To Do If You Fall Victim
- Contact your financial institution immediately and alert it to the situation.
- If you have disclosed sensitive information in a phishing attack, you should also contact one of the three major credit bureaus and discuss whether you need to place a fraud alert on your file, which will help prevent thieves from opening a new account in your name. Here is the contact information for each bureau’s fraud division:
- Report suspicious emails, calls or contacts to the Federal Trade Commission through the internet at www.consumer.gov/idtheft, or by calling 1-877-IDTHEFT.
**Recent Equifax Breach**
As you might have heard, there has recently been a major data breach at one of the nation's three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax. If you have a credit report, there’s a good chance that you’re one of the 143 million American consumers whose sensitive personal information was exposed.
There are steps to take to help protect your information from being misused. Visit Equifax’s website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com.
Find out if your information was exposed. Click on the “Potential Impact” tab and enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number. Your Social Security number is sensitive information, so make sure you’re on a secure computer and an encrypted network connection any time you enter it. The site will tell you if you’ve been affected by this breach.
For more information on how to protect yourself, please read this article from the Federal Trade Commission.
**Recent Equifax Scam**
Ring, ring. "This is Equifax calling to verify your account information."
STOP! Don’t tell them anything. They’re not from Equifax. It’s a scam. Equifax will NOT call you out of the blue.
For more information on this scam, please read this article from the Federal Trade Commission.
On several occasions, Industry State Bank has hosted Cyber Security Awareness Events within the local communities. Guest speaker Mr. James Morrison, a Computer Scientist with the FBI Houston Division, gave presentations about Identity Theft and Cyber Security. In his presentation, Mr. Morrison discussed recent threats and trends in the cyber world and gave tips on how to be careful with emails, passwords, social media, cell phones, and so much more. Please view his presentation here.