How does identity theft happen?
Fraud and identity theft are an unfortunate part of today's world. Whether through internet schemes like phishing and malware, phone scams like spoofed caller ID, or tax related attempts, scammers are out there trying to obtain your personal, account, and consumer information in a variety of ways. McIntosh County Bank is here to help and provide you with tools to avoid becoming a victim, or resources to help when and if you do.
How does identity theft happen?
Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information, credit cards, checks or driver’s license and then obtains credit or merchandise in your name. Identity thieves may use a variety of methods to access your data including:
- Stealing wallets/purses
- Changing the address on credit accounts to divert mail to another location
- Stealing mail from mailboxes
- Rummaging through trash to obtain personal data
Posing as a legitimate company asking for information via email or the phone. This practice is known as "phishing" online or "pretexting" by phone.
Your mail has been stolen:
Contact your local US Postal Inspector. Stolen mail can be used to obtain new credit cards, bank or credit card statements, pre-screened credit offers or tax information. It may also be used to falsify change of address forms or to obtain your personal information through a fraud conducted by mail. To find your local postal inspector, check your telephone directory.
Your passport has been lost or stolen:
Contact the United States Department of State (USDS) local field office or visit this website for assistance.
Your checks have been stolen or misused:
Close the account with your financial institution and contact these major check verification companies to request that retailers using their databases refuse to accept your checks:
- Telecheck: 1 (800) 710-9898 or 1 (800) 927-0188
- Certegy, Inc.: 1 (800) 437-5120
International Check Services: 1 (800) 631-9656
How do I avoid becoming a victim?
- Carry only necessary credit cards and identification.
- Have your mail held by the post office if you will be away from home.
- Have your name removed from mailing and solicitation lists.
- Shred financial documents and paperwork with personal information before you discard them.
- Protect your Social Security number. Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write your Social Security number on a check. Give it out only if absolutely necessary or ask to use another identifier.
- If you shop or bank online, use websites that protect your financial information with encryption. An encrypted site has “https” at the beginning of the web address; “s” is for secure.
- Keep your personal information in a secure place at home, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help, or are having work done in your house.
- Be alert to signs that require immediate attention:
- Bills that do not arrive as expected
- Unexpected credit cards or account statements
- Denials of credit for no apparent reason
- Calls or letters about purchases you did not make
- Inspect your credit report.
- The law requires the major nationwide consumer reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – to give you a free copy of your credit report each year if you ask for it.
- Visit AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1.877.322.8228 to order your free credit reports each year.
- Inspect your financial statements regularly, looking for charges you did not make.
- Don’t give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you know who you are dealing with.
- Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails; instead, type in a web address you know. Use firewalls, anti-spyware, and anti-virus software to protect your home computer; keep them up-to-date.
- Don’t use an obvious password like your birth date, your mother’s maiden name, or the last four digits of your Social Security number.
- If you use public wireless network, don’t send information to any website that isn’t fully encrypted.
- Place paid bills in your mailbox for pickup
What information has been lost or exposed! What do I do?
What information has been lost or exposed? What do I do?
Social Security number
- If a company responsible for exposing your information offers you free credit monitoring, take advantage of it.
- Get your free credit reports from annualcreditreport.com. Check for any accounts or charges you don’t recognize.
- Consider placing a credit freeze . A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name, without your knowledge. NOTE: If you place a freeze, be ready to take extra steps the next time you apply for any service or purchase that requires a credit check.)
- Try to file your taxes early — before a scammer can. Tax identity theft happens when a scammer uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund. Respond right away to letters from the IRS.
- Continue to check your credit reports at annualcreditreport.com. You can order a free report from each of the three credit reporting companies once a year.
- Contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) Fraud Hotline at 1 (800) 269-0271.
Online login or password
- Log in to that account and change your password. If possible, also change your username.
- If you use the same password anywhere else, change that, too.
- Is it a financial site, or is your credit card number stored? Check your account for any charges that you don’t recognize. If you find fraudulent charges, call us and get them removed.
Debit or credit card number
- Contact your bank or credit card company to cancel your card and request a new one.
- Review your transactions regularly to make sure no one misused your card.
- If you have automatic payments set up, update them with your new card number.
- Check your credit report at annualcreditreport.com.
Bank account information
- Contact us to close the account and open a new one.
- Review your transactions regularly to make sure no one misused your account.
- If you have automatic payments set up, update them with your new bank account information.
- your credit report at annualcreditreport.com.
Driver's license information
- Contact your nearest motor vehicles branch to report a lost or stolen driver’s license.
- The state might flag your license number in case someone else tries to use it, or they might suggest that you apply for a duplicate.
- Check your credit report at annualcreditreport.com
Children's personal information
- Request a credit freeze for your child — if this service is available in your state. A credit freeze will make it difficult for someone to use your child’s information to open accounts.
- If a credit bureau has a credit report for your child, the credit bureau will send you a copy of the report. Use the instructions provided with the credit report to remove fraudulent accounts.
- Review the FTC’s information on Child Identity Theft.
Red Flags of Identity Theft
- Mistakes on your bank, credit card, or other account statements
- Mistakes on the explanation of medical benefits from your health plan
- Your regular bills and account statements don't arrive on time
- Bills or collection notices for products or services you never received
- Calls from debt collectors about debts that don't belong to you
- A notice from the IRS that someone used your Social Security number
- Mail, email, or calls about accounts or jobs in your minor child's name
- Unwarranted collection notices on your credit report
- Businesses turn down your checks
- You are turned down unexpectedly for a loan or job
Immediate Steps to Repair Identity Theft
- Place a fraud alert on your credit reports: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0275-place-fraud-alert#credit
- Equifax: 1.800.525.6285
- Experian: 1.888.397.3742
- TransUnion: 1.800.680.7289
- Close Accounts
- File a police report
- Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission
- Online: ftc.gov/idtheft
- By phone: 1.877.438.4338
- By mail: Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580
- Never provide your personal information in response to an unsolicited request.
- If you are unsure whether a contact claiming to be from McIntosh County Bank is legitimate, contact your local bank office.
- Delete any e-mail without opening it if you don’t recognize the sender.
- Only provide your personal information if you initiated the sign on process to your internet banking account with McIntosh County Bank.
- Use virus protection software and keep it up-to-date.
- Review account statements regularly to ensure all charges are correct.
- Report lost or stolen checks or debit cards immediately.
- Notify us of suspicious phone calls or e-mails.
- Guard your Debit Card and PIN numbers. Do not give your card or card number to anyone you don’t know, or to a merchant you do not trust. And never give your PIN to anyone!
- Use a paper shredder to destroy any unwanted solicitations or bank statements before disposing of them.
- Call about any questionable charge on your statement.
- Contact the major credit reporting agencies. You can review your credit report and make certain the information contained in it is correct by contacting the three major credit bureaus:
- Equifax- 1-800-685-1111 www.equifax.com/fcra
- Experian- 1-888-397-3742 www.experian.com/
- TransUnion- 1-800-888-4213 www.transunion.com
- Receive a free annual credit report. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228 to obtain a free credit report, once a year, from each of the three major credit reporting agencies.
What is mobile banking?
- Mobile banking is a system that allows customers of a financial institution to conduct a number of financial transactions through a mobile device such as a mobile phone or personal digital assistant.
- Mobile app – Some banks offer a mobile “app” allowing you to log into your accounts and conduct business.
- Mobile web browser – This allows you to login to your account through the internet using your phone’s browser and internet connection.
- SMS/text – You can set up text alerts or text your bank for information about your accounts.
- How to make mobile banking safer:
- Don’t get phished – Avoid clicking on links in text messages or emails, since these links may lead to malicious websites or downloads.
- Don’t save login information on your mobile device, especially to online banking or e-commerce sites.
- Have a passcode on your device and set it to auto-lock after a certain period of time.
- Carefully review your mobile phone bills for any suspicious charges or activity.
- Create secure passwords and keep your PIN safe. Change your password often, and do not use your pets’ names, your child’s name, or any birthdays.
- Consider installing a security app from one of the known and reliable security providers.
Disposing of Your Mobile Device
- How to Remove Personal Information
- First, try to use the factory reset. Many devices allow you to “wipe” your device and clear nearly all the information in its memory. Sometimes, this is called a “hard reset,” or “factory reset.” You may be able to save or transfer the information to your new device before you delete it from your old one. For detailed instructions on how to “wipe” your device, read your owner’s manual or check the website of your mobile provider or the device manufacturer.
- Second, remove or erase SIM and SD cards. Many mobile devices store information on a SIM card or an external SD card as well as in the device’s internal memory. If you’re keeping your phone number, ask your mobile provider about transferring your SIM card to your new device. SD cards often contain photos and other sensitive information. Even when you “wipe” your device, your SIM card or SD cards may retain information about you. Remove them from your device or delete the data that’s stored on them.
- Checking Twice
- After you’ve deleted your personal information, it’s good to double-check to make sure it’s gone. Check your:
- phone book
- logs for both dialed and received calls
- sent and received emails and text messages
- downloads and other folders
- search histories
- personal photos
- If you stored apps on your device, remove them and the data associated with them.
- After you’ve deleted your personal information, it’s good to double-check to make sure it’s gone. Check your:
- Discarding with Care
- Once you have a “clean” phone, it’s up to you to decide what to do next.
- Recycling it is one option. Many mobile device manufacturers, wireless service providers, and other groups have programs to refurbish mobile devices or recycle their components, including accessories like chargers. For more information, check the websites of:
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- CTIA-The Wireless Association
- Your carrier
- Another option is to donate your device. Many organizations collect used mobile devices for charitable purposes. You also might decide to trade in your device for a credit toward a new one; resell it to a person or an organization; or just dispose of it altogether. If that’s your choice, keep the environment in mind. The EPA recommends that you check with your local health and sanitation agencies for their preferred way to dispose of electronics.
Debit Card: Traveling with your debit card
5 Simple ways to lower your fraud risk.
1. Contact your financial institution.
If you are traveling to a different country or another region of the United States, please share this information with your financial institution or credit card provider. Share as much detail as possible…dates of travel, cities, and how you can be reached.
2. Clean out your wallet.
It is a good to take more than 1 method of payment along to cover your needs and expenses. Carrying a lot of credit and debit cards on vacation only increases the likelihood that one of them will become lost or stolen. Be sure to only carry what you need. You should also know who to notify in case your card is lost or stolen.
3. Be careful of the ATM you select.
Many fraudsters will place a skimming device on an ATM for a specific time to capture the card and PIN numbers. This skimming device fits over the existing slot to insert your card. These are generally found on unmonitored ATM’s, (example: hotel lobbies, restaurants, and etc.) If something seems suspicious, select another ATM. You should also make sure that there is no one looking over your shoulder when entering your PIN number.
4. Keep an eye on your cards.
Food servers and store clerks can steal information easily with a skimming device or writing down your card information. If something seems fishy, consider paying with cash.
5. Monitor your account frequently.
Checking your account online is a great way to combat fraud. Review your transactions frequently and notify your Financial Institution immediately of any transactions that you did not make. If you are not currently using Online Banking with McIntosh County Bank, you can sign up on the home page of our website under Online Banking.