Identity Theft Protection Tips
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing types of financial fraud. Without stealing your wallet, a criminal can steal your financial identity with as little information as your Social Security number. It is also called "account-takeover fraud" or "true-name fraud," and it involves criminals assuming your identity by applying for credit, running up huge bills and stiffing creditors - all in your name.
For our customers’ protection, we flag and monitor purchasing activities outside the normal daily routine and block purchases on your Visa Debit Card if suspicious activity is suspected. If you will be traveling, moving and/or making purchases from foreign or long-distance retailers, it’s a good idea to call us at (800) 877-3728 and let us know beforehand. We can unblock purchases from almost anywhere with the proper notification.
Protection on the Internet
The internet is a wonderful and exciting way to communicate, learn, shop and play. However, it provides more ways for criminals to steal from the average person than a traditional brick-and-mortar store.
You take precautions when going out in public to protect yourself and your identity. Therefore, it makes perfect sense for you to take precautions while on the internet.
- The key to safety on the internet is to store as little as possible about your personal information including bank account, credit card and Social Security numbers on any website.
- Keep a handwritten list of all passwords to all internet sites where you have an account Never store this list in any format on your computer's hard drive.
- Do not save credit card numbers on any internet shopping site unless required.
- Passwords should contain a mixture of both letters and numbers. Never use your Social Security number, bank account number, PINs or other sensitive information as passwords.
- Do not have Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, Firefox or Safari (Mac-based browser) save any passwords for you for any website. If your browser asks you to save this information for future use, select "no."
- Disable auto-complete from your browser.
- After each shopping session, bill-paying session and/or online banking session, make sure you log out of the website then close the browser.
Protecting yourself from fraudulent emails
- The saying is true - "if it sounds too good to be true, it is." Do not answer emails that solicit money, especially from those who are in foreign countries and promise to repay you more than what you sent when they arrive.
- Delete emails that say you've won the lottery. Do not open them. Do not believe them if you do open and read them.
- Delete emails that have mostly symbols in the subject header.
- Ignore any prescription offerings by mail and emails.
- Spoof (aka FAKE) emails are everywhere and may appear to come from legitimate companies. If you suspect an email is a spoof, do not click any links. Instead, open a new browser window, go to the company’s website, log in and check the message center to see if the company is trying to contact you.
- If you are not expecting an attachment from a trusted source, don't open the attachment. Make sure your email does not open attachments automatically upon opening an email. Turn off the preview pane in your mail software.
- Make sure your antivirus software is always updated and is scanning all incoming emails. Routinely download the updates at least once a week.
- When emailing First State Bank & Trust Co., Inc. or anyone else, do not include your account number, your PIN number(s) or Social Security number in the email. Call this information in.
Protecting yourself from fraudulent phone calls
- Never provide personal or credit card information over the phone, unless you initiated the call.
- Sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry - this service is free for consumers. One tip: you have to call from the number you want to register. You can do this online at www.donotcall.com or call 888-382-1222. This will prevent most unsolicited calls to your phone, but it will not prevent them all.
- Placing your number on the National Do Not Call Registry will stop most telemarketing calls but not all. Calls from or on behalf of political organizations, charities and telephone surveyors are still permitted, as are calls from companies with which you have an existing business relationship or those to whom you've provided express agreement in writing to receive their calls. However, if a third-party telemarketer is calling on behalf of a charity, a consumer may ask to not receive any more calls from, or on behalf of, that specific charity. If a third-party telemarketer calls again on behalf of that charity, the telemarketer may be subject to a fine of up to $11,000.
- Even if you do not register with the National Do Not Call Registry, you can still prohibit individual telemarketers from calling by asking them to put you on their company's do not call list.
Protecting yourself from mail scams or fraud
- Tear up or shred preapproved credit offers, receipts and other personal information that link your name to account numbers.
- When you pay bills, don't put them in your mailbox with the red flag up. Instead, take them to the nearest post office.
Identity theft action tips
Take immediate action if you are a victim:
- Call your local police department - identity theft is a crime! Make sure to get a case number.
- Contact all three credit bureaus. Ask them to "flag" your account, which tells creditors that you are a victim of identity fraud. Also, add a victim's statement to each of your credit bureau reports that asks creditors to contact you in person to verify all applications made in your name. Call the fraud units of the credit bureaus at:
- TransUnion Fraud Assistance Department 800-680-7289
- Equifax Fraud Assistance Department 800-525-6285
- Experian Fraud Assistance Department 888-397-3742
- Call the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) ID Theft hotline at 1 (877) IDTHEFT. The hotline is staffed by counselors trained to help ID theft victims. Check out the FTC Web Site at www.consumer.gov/idtheft, which includes an Identity Theft Affidavit to help simplify the process of clearing up accounts opened by an identity thief.
- Notify your banks. They can help you obtain new account numbers for all of your checking, savings and other accounts. Be sure to pick a new PIN number for your ATM and debit cards. Close all of your credit card accounts and open with new account numbers.
- To report your stolen or lost First State Bank & Trust Co., Inc. ATM/Debit card, please call us during normal business hours (8am-4pm Mon-Thurs and 8am-5pm Fri) at (800) 877-3728.
For after-hours help, please call (866) 546-8273 within the US or (206) 352-4990 outside the US.
- Notify the Postal Inspector if you suspect mail theft - a felony.
- Depending on your situation, you may want to contact the Social Security Administration to get a new Social Security number at 800-772-1213. You may also want to contact your telephone, water, gas and electrical companies to alert them that someone may try to open an account in your name.
- Maintain a log of all the contacts you make with authorities regarding the matter. Write down each person's name, title and phone number in case you need to re-contact them or refer to them in future correspondence.