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Preventing Fraud

Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when a thief obtains some piece of personal information about a consumer, and without the consumer’s knowledge, appropriates the information to commit fraud or theft. A common example is when an identity thief uses consumers’ personal information to open a credit card account in the consumer’s name, and uses the account to “run-up” fraudulent charges or obtains credits for business etc.

Helpful Tips

  • Don't give out personal information on the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you've initiated the contact or are sure you know whom you're dealing with.
  • Don't carry your Social Security card with you; leave it in a secure place. Carry only the identification and credit and debit cards that you need.
  • Don't put your address, phone number, or driver’s license number on credit card sales receipts.
  • Social Security numbers or phone numbers should not be put on your checks.
  • Shred your charge receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, checks and bank statements, expired charge cards that you're discarding, and credit offers you get in the mail.
  • Secure your credit card, bank, and phone accounts with passwords. Avoid using easily available information like birth date, the last four digits of your SSN, or your phone number. When opening new accounts, you may find that many businesses still have a line on their applications for your mother's maiden name. Use a password instead.
  • Secure personal information in your home, particularly if you have roommates or hire outside help.
  • Promptly remove mail from your mailbox. If you're planning to be away from home and can't pick up your mail, call the U.S. Postal Service at 1-800-275-8777 to request a vacation hold.
  • Ask about information security procedures in your workplace. Find out who has access to your personal information and verify that records are kept in a secure location. Ask about the disposal procedures for those records as well.
  • Before revealing any personally identifying information (for example, on an application), find out how it will be used and secured, and whether it will be shared with others. Ask if you have a choice about the use of your information. Can you choose to have it kept confidential?
  • Keep an eye out for any missing mail.
  • Don’t mail bills from your own mailbox.
  • Review your monthly accounts regularly for any unauthorized charges.
  • Only do business with companies that are reputable, particularly online.
  • Protect your PINs (don’t carry them in your wallet!) and passwords; use a combination of letters and numbers for your passwords and change them regularly.

Protect Your Computer and Network

  • Secure your computer with anti-virus and anti-spyware software protection and keep them updated.
  • Install routers and firewalls to prevent unauthorized access to your computer or network.
  • Install security updates to operating systems and all applications as they become available.
  • Block pop-ups, and use current versions of browsers as they contain advanced security features.
  • Install, use and maintain spam filters.

Help Guard Against Online Thieves (Phishing)

Phishing usually comes in the form of fraudulent emails that appear to come from legitimate sources. These ask customers to verify personal information or link to counterfeit Web sites that appear real.

  • Don’t open email from unknown sources.
  • Do not respond to unsolicited e-mail and do not click on links contained within an unsolicited e-mail.
  • Avoid filling out forms contained in e-mail messages that ask for personal information.
  • Log directly onto the official website for the business identified in the e-mail, instead of “linking” to it from an unsolicited e-mail.
  • Contact the actual business that supposedly sent the e-mail to verify if the e-mail is genuine.

Watch for emails that:

  • Purport to be from a financial institution, NACHA, IRS, FDIC, Federal Reserve Board, UPS, Federal Courts or other agencies. Do not follow links in these e-mails. They are most likely scams.
  • Claim to contain pictures in attached files, as the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders. Scan the attachments for viruses if possible.
  • Urge you to act quickly because your account may be suspended or closed, or to update your personal information. Fraudsters create a sense of urgency to get you to act quickly.
  • Don't address you by name, but use a more generic one like "Dear valued customer."
  • Ask for account numbers, passwords, Access IDs, or other personal information.
  • Offer a scheme or plan involving wire transfers, Cashier’s Checks, and/or funds transfers
  • Offer to overpay you for goods sold over the internet or rentals, with the difference being sent to a third party such as a “shipper” or “agent”

The Bank will NEVER ask for sensitive information, such as account numbers, Access IDs or passwords, via e-mail.  Always type directly into your browser and NEVER follow a link to access our site.

Check Your Credit Report

Order a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit-reporting agencies every year by visiting Make sure it is accurate and includes only those activities you have authorized.

By checking your report on a regular basis you can catch mistakes and fraud before they wreak havoc on your personal finances. Don't underestimate the importance of this step.

Credit Bureaus

To order your report, call: 1-800-685-1111
To report fraud, call: 1-800-525-6285

To order your credit report or report fraud, call: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)

To order your report, call: 800-916-8800
To report fraud, call: 1-800-680-7289

If you become a victim, contact:

  • The fraud departments of the three major credit bureaus
  • The creditors of any accounts that have been misused
  • The local police to file a report
  • The bank to cancel existing accounts held in your name and re-open new accounts with new passwords

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, please ask for a copy of our privacy policy or click on the link in our website.