What is identity theft?
Identity theft is the utilization of another’s personal information
for fraudulent purposes. More often than not, personal information is
obtained illegally and without the identity theft victim’s knowledge. A
common example is when an identity thief uses someone else’s personal
information to open a credit card account in the identity theft victim’s
How identity thieves get information
Identity thieves get smarter and smarter regarding ways to steal ID
information. The following are commonplace ID theft practices:
- Stolen wallets or purses.
- Stolen mail.
- Residential trash or the trash of local businesses.
- Fraudulently obtained credit reports.
- Business or personal records from their workplace.
- Personal information shared over the internet.
How identity thieves use information
- Open new credit card accounts, make purchases without paying
the bills. The delinquent accounts are reported against the
- “Change of Address Forms” are used to divert mail to a
different location so time elapses before unauthorized activity
- Establish phone or wireless services.
- Open new bank accounts and write fraudulent checks.
- Make large purchases, such as an automobile, by applying for
Consumer education sources:
The following websites provide further information for
How to minimize risk
Before revealing any personal identification information,
find out how it will be used and whether it will be shared with
others. Don’t divulge unnecessary information.
- Pay attention to billing cycles. Follow up with
creditors if bills do not arrive on time.
- Deposit outgoing mail at the post office.
- Limit identifying information and credit cards carried
to those necessary.
- Do not give out personal information via phone, mail or
over the internet to undisclosed sources.
- Request a copy of your credit report annually from any
one of the three major credit bureaus for review.
- Equifax -
- Experian -
- Trans Union -
If you become a victim
If you suspect that someone has been using your personal
information, you should contact:
- The fraud departments of the three major credit
- The creditors of any accounts that have been misused
- The local police to file a report.
- It is wise to cancel existing accounts held in your
name and re-open new accounts with new passwords.
Protect Yourself Against Phishing
A new internet threat literally "fishes" for your
personal information through bogus e-mails and web
sites. Phishing is internet piracy that seeks to obtain
account numbers, passwords, social security information
and other confidential information in order to loot your
checking account or charge items on your credit cards.
How it Works
You might receive an e-mail that seems to come from
a respected business, even one you have a relationship
with, or a government agency.
It might warn you of a problem that you must attend to
immediately using words like, "Immediate Attention
Required" or "Contact Us Immediately."
In most scams you will be redirected to a fraudulent
website where your financial information is stolen. If
you provide information at that time you may find
yourself a victim of fraud.
- Never provide your personal information in
response to an unsolicited request.
- If you are not sure about the caller or e-mail,
contact your financial institution directly.
- Never provide critical information over the
phone or in response to an unsolicited internet
- Double check your account statement.
- Do not be intimidated.
- If you think you are the victim of a fraud,
contact your financial institution immediately so
that fraud alerts can be placed on your credit file.
- Suspicious e-mails or calls can be reported to
the Federal Trade Commission at
The Bank’s commitment to confidentiality
The Bank is committed to safeguarding our
customers’ financial information. Maintaining our
customers’ trust and confidence is a top priority.
To learn more about how we protect your information,
of our branch locations or click on the link below.