Identity Theft Protection
Fraud and Identity Theft Protection
When you know what to look for, you can make simple changes in your life that protect you from fraud and identity theft... From fraudulent emails to viruses like Spyware, Trojan horses and worms, learn how to safeguard your information, increase your awareness and become proactive about detecting fraud. GBCIB would like to provide you with these sources of information on what to look for, and how to avoid being scammed.
Fraud Protection Resources
If you'd like to know more about Fraud Protection, here are some external resources for you to explore.
- Learn more about ID protection and discover Deluxe ID TheftBlock®
- Identity Theft Assistance Center (ITAC)
- Federal Trade Commission: Call the FTC hotline at 877-ID THEFT (877-438-4338) to speak with a trained identity theft counselor. Or submit a complaint to the FTC's secure online database.
- Spam: To avoid email scams and deal with deceptive spam visit ftc.gov/spam.
- Postal Inspection Service: If you believe your mail was stolen or redirected, notify the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at your local post office.
- Social Security Fraud Hotline: If you suspect someone is using your Social Security Number for fraudulent purposes, call (800) 269-0271.
- Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV): If you believe someone is trying to get a driver's license or identification card using your name and information, contact your local DMV. DMV web access can be found at your state government site or can be found here > http://www.dmv.org/
- Updates on Email Hoaxes: For the latest information on email hoaxes (phishing) visit Symantec.
- Credit Bureaus
Equifax: (800) 525-6285
Experian: (888) 397-3742
TransUnion: (800) 680-7289
Email Fraud Protection
Email fraud, often referred to as "phishing" or "spoofing," involves a fraudster sending you an email request that appears to be from a government agency, an official business, online payment service, or bank. If you follow the fraudulent instructions, you may unknowingly provide confidential information or even download worms or viruses to your computer.
Security Savvy: Email Best Practices
- Never respond to or click on a link in a suspicious email. Opening or clicking on a link could place a virus on your computer which can later capture your personal information.
- Inspect the company logo used in emails and compare it to that used on the legitimate Web site of that company. Look for any discoloration or disfiguration of the logo.
- If you receive an email that warns you that an account will be closed or online access will be terminated unless you reconfirm your billing information, contact the company cited in the email using a telephone number or Web site address you know to be genuine.
- Take the time to ask whether this is the type of action the company would ask you to take.
- Avoid sending personal financial information over the Internet unless you are sure you are on a secure site. Look for the padlock icon on your browser's status bar.
- You may also wish to contact your Internet Service Provider for support in blocking emails or subscribing to a spam filter they may offer.
Spyware and Viruses
Spyware is a software program that may become installed on your computer without your knowledge or consent. Once there, the software can record keystrokes, send pop-up ads, and redirect your computer to certain Web sites. Trojans are programs that can enable unauthorized people to access and send spam or other information from your computer. Viruses, like their name implies, invade your computer system often through an email attachment. They can wreak havoc on your operating system and also get into your address book and begin sending out emails from your system. Similar to viruses, worms reproduce themselves over a network and can shut your system down.
Security Savvy: Protect Yourself
To protect your computer from Spyware and viruses, make sure that you have anti-Spyware and anti-virus programs installed and regularly updated. There are many anti-Spyware and anti-virus programs for you to consider. Consult a computer professional and contact your Internet Service Provider for recommendations and technical support. When fraudsters obtain this information, they use it to transfer money, make payments, and commit other fraudulent acts.
Web Site Fraud Protection
Often a fraudster will create a Web page or Web site that is similar to that of a legitimate company, or use a Web site address that is similar to that of a reputable business. For example, the address of the phony Web site or Web page may use a common misspelling of the company's name or may add a word, symbol or number before or after the name.
Security Savvy: Watch for these signs
- Broken graphics, grammatical errors, misspellings, and poorly written sentences.
- A sense of urgency or immediate action required.
- Requests for personal or confidential information.
- Links that go to an unknown Web site or a Web site that looks similar but the site address may be slightly altered. Recheck any typed web addresses or URLs to ensure it was entered correctly before providing personal information on a site.
- Be suspicious of an information-collecting Web page that is not linked to a known home page for the company, or the home page has an "under construction" message on it.
- Look for the presence of an "@" symbol anywhere in the page URL. This is usually indicative of a fraudulent Web site.
Pop-ups are unsolicited advertising that appear as a "pop-up" window on your computer. These pop-ups can be created to look like a financial institution's request for personal information. You can set your computer preferences to block pop-ups, and you can also request spam-blocking programs from your Internet Service Provider.
Security Savvy: Protect Yourself
- Don't open unexpected attachments from known or unknown sources.
- Protect your computer with the latest anti-Spyware and anti-virus programs.
- Protect your computer with a software firewall and/or a hardware firewall.
- Only do business with Internet companies that use a secure form to capture private information. To verify your session is secure, look for "https:" instead of "http:" in the URL address line, as well as the padlock icon on your browser's status bar.
From credit card and check fraud to other common scams, it is important to understand fraud in all its disguises. Check fraud is the manipulation of checks. Examples include: counterfeiting through desktop publishing and copying or duplicating an actual financial document. In most cases, these crimes begin with the theft of a financial document. It can be perpetrated as easily as someone stealing a blank check from your home or vehicle during a burglary, searching for a canceled or old check in the garbage, or removing a check you have mailed to pay a bill from the mailbox.
Security Savvy: Watch for these signs
- The check number is missing or does not change.
- Customer's address or the address of the bank is missing.
- The type of font to print the customer's name looks visibly different from the font used to print the address.
- Stains or discolorations are on the check possibly caused by erasures of alterations.
- The word VOID appears across the check.
- Safeguard your checks.
- Store your extra checks and deposit slips in a secure locked location and properly destroy canceled checks.
- Protect your checkbook and bank documents (including statements and canceled checks) so they aren't accessible to guests, contractors, repairmen, etc. Never leave your checkbook in your vehicle.
- When closing a bank account, be certain to destroy or shred any extra checks and deposit slips.
- If your home is burglarized, validate your supply of checks to ensure they have not been compromised or stolen. Look closely, since thieves will sometimes take only one or two checks from the middle or back of the book, so it's harder to determine that they are missing.
- Purchase your checks and deposit slips from our approved check vendor to ensure quality of your check stock and the integrity of your account documents.
Credit Card Fraud
Most credit card fraud involves lost or stolen cards. Thieves can get your credit cards by stealing your wallet, burglarizing your home or even paying store employees for credit card numbers and reselling them on the black market. Credit card thieves don't need to have the credit card itself to do damage. All they need is a sales slip or bill with your account number and expiration date. Think of your credit card number as a confidential piece of information that you need to guard vigilantly.
Security Savvy: Guard your card
- Never give your card number to strangers or telemarketers who call you on the phone. Be wary of a tantalizing offer or prize that requires you to give out your credit card number.
- Write down the toll free numbers for reporting your credit cards lost or stolen and keep the number at home, in your purse or wallet and at your office so that you can call immediately if necessary.
- Always check that you get your card back after you make a purchase.
- Keep your cards in a safe place that won't be obvious to burglars.
- Always sign your card in ink as soon as you receive it.
- Never lend your card to anyone. If you want to let someone else use your card to buy something, handle the transaction yourself.
- Shred all credit card receipts and pre-approved credit card offers into tiny pieces before you throw them away. Keep your billing statements in a safe place.
- When you use your credit card online, make sure you are using a secure Web site. Look for a small key or lock symbol at the bottom right of your browser's window.
- Never give out your ATM, Check Card, or credit card PIN (Personal Identification Number).
- Never write your PIN or password on your ATM card, Check Card, or Credit card. Memorize your PIN or Password.
- Report lost or stolen checks, ATM cards, or Check Cards as soon as you discover they are missing.
- ATM, Check Card, and credit card receipts may bear your account numbers and should be securely destroyed or stored for your protection.
Monitor your Credit
Regularly reviewing your credit report alerts you to any suspicious activity, so you can take control as soon as possible. Here are a few more tips to detect fraudulent activities online and off.
- Review your accounts regularly using Online Banking. The sooner fraud is detected, the lower the impact. With Online Banking, you have time on your side because you can view your account daily, and immediately notice any irregularities. You can also set up email alerts that notify you when your account hits certain levels. Online Banking also removes the additional risk of mail fraud.
- Monitor your credit report annually. Look for any new accounts that may be opened that are not yours and alert the credit bureau with any suspicious information.
- Be alert for any irregularities. Did you not receive a bill or statement? Are there unexpected charges on any of your accounts, or charges from unknown vendors? Are there posted checks that are out of sequence? Have you been denied credit for reasons that don't match your financial profile? Are you getting calls from creditors of debt collectors about bills you know nothing about? When you see something unusual, check it out.
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