Protecting your Identity
Substantial measures are in place at Centennial Bank to protect your identity and your accounts against theft and fraud. For example, stringent bank privacy policies protect your personal and financial information. Password protection for online transactions helps assure online security. When using our online services, you develop a secret password that only you know. Encryption of online transactions with your bank converts your information into secure code, protecting you against hackers.
How serious is the Problem?
Thieves obtain personal information such as, social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, credit card numbers and even birth certificates and passports. Accounts are then opened in the victims’ name for credit cards and loans with the mail diverted to a different address.With this approach, it could take months or years to learn that you are a victim.
In the News
Read here to learn about how Apple Devices are being targeted for compromising users' information.
Maximum security is possible only with your help. Here’s what you can do to stop these crimes before they happen:
- Do not give out financial information such as checking and credit card numbers, or your social security number, unless you know the person or organization.
- Report lost or stolen checks immediately. Your bank will block payment on them.
- Notify your banker of suspicious phone inquiries such as those asking for account information to “verify your account” or “be awarded a prize.”
- Closely guard your ATM personal identification number and ATM receipts.
- Shred any financial solicitations and bank statements before disposing of them.
- Put outgoing mail into a secure, official Postal Service collection box.
- If regular bills fail to reach you, call the company to find out why.
- Destroy pre-approved credit card offers before you throw them out. A home shredder is the best thing to use on financial statements, receipts, and old cancelled checks that you are discarding.
- Account for all new checkbooks when you receive them in the mail.
- Keep new and cancelled checks in a safe place.
- Block your ATM transactions with your body. Keep the keyboard from view and prevent someone from learning your personal identification number (PIN).
- Commit all passwords and personal identification numbers to memory. The less you have on paper the less likely it is that someone will learn these numbers.
- Be creative when you select a password. Don't be obvious like using your last 4 digits of your social security number, phone number, address, birth date or any format that could easily be decoded by thieves.
- If your bills include questionable items, don't ignore them. Instead, investigate immediately to head off any possible fraud.
- Stay a step ahead with the latest info and practical tips from the nation’s consumer protection agency. Click here to review the FTC's Scam Alerts.
Periodically contact the major credit reporting companies to review your file and make the information is correct. Major Credit Reporting Bureaus:
Equifax - www.equifax.com
Place a fraud report: 1-888-766-0008
Order a credit report: 1-800-685-1111
Experian - www.experian.com
Place a fraud report: 1-888-397-3742
Order a credit report: 1-888-397-3742
TransUnion - www.transunion.com
Place a fraud report: 1-800-680-7289
Order a credit report: 1-800-888-4213
How to obtain a free credit report: (877) 322-8228 www.annualcreditreport.com
Common IRS Fraud Attempts and How to Respond
- If you receive a call from someone who (a) claims to be a member of the IRS or (b) demands that you pay back taxes, do not provide personal or confidential information. The first step of IRS correspondence is to mail the taxpayer, and the IRS will never email or call you to request personal information or immediate payment.
- Check any suspicious tax claims by calling the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to confirm any issues with your taxes.
- If you suspect that a caller is impersonating the IRS, report the call to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting.
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act) will help reduce identity theft according to Congress and the Federal Trade Commission. For example, one provision requires the three major credit-reporting agencies to provide consumers with a free copy of their own credit report. The requirement took effect in December 2004.
Another provision to help prevent identity theft is the National Fraud Alert System. Consumers, who reasonably suspect they have been or may be victimized by identity theft, or who are military personnel on active duty away from home, can place an alert on their credit files. The alert will put potential creditors on notice that they must proceed with caution when granting credit.
Centennial Bank has a personal checking account that offers credit and identity protection, cash back rewards, and more! Read more about it here, and ask your banker to upgrade your account to Centennial Club Checking.
What to do if you are a victim:
Contact your credit card company and your financial institution and close your accounts. The FBI suggests that you put passwords (not your mother’s maiden name) on any new accounts you open. Call the three major credit bureaus (numbers shown below) to tell them your identity has been stolen. Request that a “fraud alert” be placed on your file and that no new credit be granted without your approval.
Trans Union: 800-680-7289
Call the Social Security Fraud Hotline: 800-269-0271
Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) theft hotline: 1-877-438-4338, or visit them online here.
You should not only file a report with the police, but also get a copy of the report in case you need proof of the crime later for credit card companies etc.
If your checks are used fraudulently, report to:
National Processing Company: 800-526-5380
Other measures are in place to help consumers recover their credit reputation after they have been victimized:
Credit reporting agencies must stop reporting allegedly fraudulent account information when a consumer establishes that he or she has been the victim of identity theft;
Creditors or businesses must provide copies of business records or fraudulent accounts or transactions related to them. This information can assist victims in proving that they are, in fact, victims.
Consumers will be allowed to report accounts affected by identity theft directly to creditors-in addition to credit reporting agencies-to prevent the spread of erroneous information.
If you have any questions or concerns about protecting your financial identity, come in and visit your banker. Centennial Bank is committed to the fight against identity theft.