Identity Theft

To minimize the chances that you fall victim to identity theft and financial fraud, it is vital that you recognize the various types of fraud and learn how to protect yourself against them.

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Identity Theft

The following information will help you safeguard your identity and protect your financial assets from fraud. Identity theft is more extensive than fraud, which is usually limited to an isolated attempt to steal money from an existing account. Fraud and identity theft can be easily confused.

What is Identity Theft?

The crime of identity theft occurs when someone, without your knowledge, acquires a piece of your personal information and uses it to commit fraud. Personal information such as your social security number, bank account number, or other identification, and uses it repeatedly to open new accounts or initiate transactions in your name. For example, someone might do a combination of the following: open new credit cards, open new bank accounts, forge checks, and even apply for loans using your name and personal information. This can cause financial loss and damage your credit, which can lead to a lengthy resolution process.

Keep in mind however, that even if you think your security has been compromised it does not automatically mean that you are a victim of identity theft. It might be an incorrect entry or an isolated incident of theft from your account that is quickly resolved by calling Community Bank of Snyder at 325-573-2681.

How does identity theft happen?

Identity theft is portrayed as a high-tech crime affecting only those people who shop, communicate, or do business online. However, while thieves can obtain personal information via online methods, the majority of identity theft occurs offline. Stealing wallets and purses, intercepting or rerouting your mail, and rummaging through your garbage are some of the common tactics that thieves can use to obtain personal information. The good news is that the more information you have on identity theft the better your defense.

What is “Phishing”?

Phishing (pronounced “fishing”) is a form of online scam where “phishers” attempt to gain customer account information such as user names, passwords, PINs (personal identification numbers), or social security numbers. This is accomplished by creating official looking emails with pop-ups or links that appear to be from your bank, online retailer, or government agency. These deceptive communications are the tools the “phishers” use to attempt to gain your confidential information.

How does “Phishing” work?

These phony emails often use phrases such as “your account may have been compromised”, “your account is in violation”, “we need you to verify your account information” and other variations. These emails will then usually offer a link where you can access your account to prevent adverse actions such as account closure or a freeze on an account’s assets. These links will then connect you to a site that will often look identical to the business site the email refers to. These, sites however, are forgeries created to trick users into logging into the sites with their genuine user ID and password. Once the “phishers” have obtained this information, they can then go to the real website and transfer, withdraw, or redirect the funds to another location. Then when the customer logs into their account again (on the real business website) they are surprised to find all of their assets are gone. In addition to loss of funds, there can also be adverse credit affects which may take weeks or months to resolve.

How can I protect myself from “Phishing” attacks?

The most important thing to remember is that no reputable business will send you an email requesting your personal account information. Any email you receive asking for this information should be considered phony and brought to the attention of the business being “phished”. Another way to further protect yourself is to keep your Operating System and Internet Browser software up to date. “Phishers” often use software vulnerabilities to further mask their de caption on their fake websites. Also, antivirus software can often detect methods used by “phishers” attempting to steal your information. But it is imperative that your antivirus software be updated as frequently as possible. Finally, if you are unsure as to whether or not an email or message is legitimate, call the company directly. This will ensure that you are speaking with a representative of that company and that your personal information will not be compromised.

What is “Spoofing”?

Spoofing is pretending to be something it is not, on the Internet, usually an e-mail or a Web site.

What if you downloaded a Virus or “Trojan Horse”?

Some phishing attacks use viruses and/or “Trojan Horses” to install programs called “Key logger” on your computer. These programs capture and send out any information that you type to the phisher, including credit card numbers, user names and passwords, social security numbers, etc. If this happens, it is likely you may not be aware of it until you notice unusual transactions on your account.

To minimize this risk, you should:

What is “Skimming” (ATM Tampering)?

Thieves tamper with ATMs by using a special storage device, which steals credit/debit card numbers when processing your card.

Other Forms of Identity Theft and Fraud

How can I protect myself?

How can I detect fraud?

What do I do if I am a Victim?

If you have given out your credit or debit card information

Credit or Debit Card Loss or Fraudulent Transactions

As a consumer you are protected by Federal law and by many card protection programs if you exercise reasonable care and report any unauthorized transactions promptly.

If you have given out your personal identification information

If you believe you have given out personal information such as your name, address, and social security number to someone who may use it for fraud: Contact the three major credit reporting agencies – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion and do the following:

Major Credit Bureaus

Equifax – http://www.equifax.com/

Experian – http://www.experian.com/

TransUnion – http://www.transunion.com/

Identity Theft Resources