Education and awareness are the first steps to preventing ID theft and fraud. Because you can control the information you choose to release, you are the single best person to protect your personal information. Learn more through the links below.
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America. Someone can use your name, address, Social Security number, bank or credit card account number, or other identifying information without your knowledge in committing this crime or other fraudulent activity.
If you are a victim of identity theft:
Contact the three major credit reporting agencies. Request that a fraud alert be placed on your file and all new credit requests be approved by yourself
- Equifax 1-800-525-6285
- Experian 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion 1-800-680-7289
Close any accounts with fraudulent activity by contacting the security department of the creditor or financial institution.
File a police report with your local police. Request a copy of the report as creditors or financial institutions may ask for a copy of the report as proof of your claim.
Protect your identity by following the following tips:
- Shred all financial information when it is no longer needed. This includes all credit applications
received by mail, insurance and investment information, utility bills. Fraudsters have been known to collect information by “dumpster diving” into garbage receptacles.
- Do not carry identity documents (credit cards, social security card, and passports) if they are not needed.
- Don’t place your social security or driver’s license number on your checks.
- Don’t give your personal information over the phone or the internet if you don’t know the party requesting the information. If someone represents themselves as a financial representative, get a phone number and call them back to confirm their identity. Recent fraud scams use the practice of “pretext calling” where individuals claim to be a representative from a financial institution and ask to verify your personal information. Your financial institution already has your information on file and will never ask for your verification.
- Obtain a free copy of your credit report once a year by contacting the three major credit reporting agencies.
- Review your account statement for accuracy.
- Watch out for email related scams such as Phishing. Phishing occurs when a web page is copied or imitated. Users are tricked to provide personal information.
For more information on Identity Theft, please review the following resources:
If someone you don’t know wants to pay you by check but wants you to wire some of the money back, beware! It’s a scam that could cost you thousands of dollars.
- There are many variations of the fake check scam. It could start with someone offering to buy something you advertised, pay you to do work at home, give you an “advance” on a sweepstakes you’ve supposedly won, or pay the first installment on the millions that you’ll receive for agreeing to have money in a foreign country transferred to your bank account for safekeeping. Whatever the pitch, the person may sound quite believable.
- Fake check scammers hunt for victims. They scan newspaper and online advertisements for people listing items for sale, and check postings on online job sites from people seeking employment. They place their own ads with phone numbers or email addresses for people to contact them. And they call or send emails or faxes to people randomly, knowing that some will take the bait.
- They often claim to be in another country. The scammers say it’s too difficult and complicated to send you the money directly from their country, so they’ll arrange for someone in the U.S. to send you a check.
- They tell you to wire money to them after you’ve deposited the check. If you’re selling something, they say they’ll pay you by having someone in the U.S. who owes them money send you a check. It will be for more than the sale price; you deposit the check, keep what you’re owed, and wire the rest to them. If it’s part of a work-at-home scheme, they may claim that you’ll be processing checks from their “clients.” You deposit the checks and then wire them the money minus your “pay.” Or they may send you a check for more than your pay “by mistake” and ask you to wire them the excess. In the sweepstakes and foreign money offer variations of the scam, they tell you to wire them money for taxes, customs, bonding, processing, legal fees, or other expenses that must be paid before you can get the rest of the money.
- The checks are fake but they look real. In fact, they look so real that even bank tellers may be fooled. Some are phony cashiers checks, others look like they’re from legitimate business accounts. The companies whose names appear may be real, but someone has dummied up the checks without their knowledge.
- You don’t have to wait long to use the money, but that doesn’t mean the check is good. Under federal law, banks have to make the funds you deposit available quickly – usually within one to five days, depending on the type of check. But just because you can withdraw the money doesn’t mean the check is good, even if it’s a cashier’s check. It can take weeks for the forgery to be discovered and the check to bounce.
- You are responsible for the checks you deposit. That’s because you’re in the best position to determine the risk – you’re the one dealing directly with the person who is arranging for the check to be sent to you. When a check bounces, the bank deducts the amount that was originally credited to your account. If there isn’t enough to cover it, the bank may be able to take money from other accounts you have at that institution, or sue you to recover the funds. In some cases, law enforcement authorities could bring charges against the victims because it may look like they were involved in the scam and knew the check was counterfeit.
- There is no legitimate reason for someone who is giving you money to ask you to wire money back. If a stranger wants to pay you for something, insist on a cashiers check for the exact amount, preferably from a local bank or a bank that has a branch in your area.
- Don’t deposit it – report it! Report fake check scams to Waldo State Bank at 920-528-8385.
fish´ing (n.) The act of sending an e-mail to a user falsely claiming to be an established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft. The e-mail directs the user to visit a Web site where they are asked to update personal information, such as passwords and credit card, social security, and bank account numbers, that the legitimate organization already has. The Web site, however, is bogus and set up only to steal the user’s information.
Don’t get Hooked!
- Waldo State Bank does not send customers random email to request or verify any personal or bank information.
- Don’t reply to email or pop-up messages that ask for personal or financial information, and don’t click on links in the message. Don’t cut and paste a link from the message into your web browser – phishers can make links look like they go one place, but actually send you to a different site.
- If you are concerned about your account, contact the organization using a phone number you know to be genuine, or open a new internet browser session and type in the company’s correct web address yourself.
- Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software, as well as a firewall, and update them all regularly.
Don’t email personal or financial information.
- Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them to check for unauthorized charges.
- If you see any information you do not recognize on your credit report, contact any credit agency immediately.
- Forward spam that is phishing for your information to the company, bank or organization impersonated in the phishing email.
Choosing an ATM
- Tip 1 - Where possible use ATMs with which you are most familiar. Alternatively, choose well-lit, well-placed ATMs where you feel comfortable.
- Tip 2 - Scan the whole ATM area before you approach it. Avoid using the ATM altogether if there are any suspicious-looking individuals around or if it looks too isolated or unsafe.
- Tip 3 - Avoid opening your purse, bag or wallet while in the queue for the ATM. Have your card ready in your hand before you approach the ATM.
- Tip 4 - Notice if anything looks unusual or suspicious about the ATM indicating it might have been altered. If the ATM appears to have any attachments to the card slot or key pad, do not use it. Check for unusual instructions on the display screen and for suspicious blank screens. If you suspect that the ATM has been interfered with, proceed to another ATM and inform the bank.
- Tip 5 - Avoid ATMs which have messages or signs fixed to them indicating that the screen directions have been changed, especially if the message is posted over the card reader. Banks and other ATM owners will not put up messages directing you to specific ATMs, nor would they direct you to use an ATM which has been altered.
Using an ATM
- Tip 6 - Be especially cautious when strangers offer to help you at an ATM, even if your card is stuck or you are experiencing difficulty with the transaction. You should not allow anyone to distract you while you are at the ATM.
- Tip 7 - Check that other individuals in the queue keep an acceptable distance from you. Be on the look-out for individuals who might be watching you enter your PIN.
- Tip 8 - Stand close to the ATM and shield the keypad with your hand when keying in your PIN (you may wish to use the knuckle of your middle finger to key in the PIN).
- Tip 9 - Follow the instructions on the display screen, e.g. do not key in your PIN until the ATM requests you to do so.
- Tip 10 - If you feel the ATM is not working normally, press the Cancel key and withdraw your card and then proceed to another ATM, reporting the matter to your financial institution.
- Tip 11 - Never force your card into the card slot.
- Tip 12 - Keep your printed transaction record so that you can compare your ATM receipts to your monthly statement.
- Tip 13 - If your card gets jammed, retained or lost, or if you are interfered with at an ATM, report this immediately to the bank and/or police using the help line provided or nearest phone.
- Tip 14 - Do not be in a hurry during the transaction, and carefully secure your card & cash in your wallet, handbag or pocket before leaving the ATM.
Managing Your ATM Use
- Tip 15 - Memorize your PIN (if you must write it down, do so in a disguised manner and never carry it with your card).
- Tip 16 - NEVER disclose your PIN to anyone, whether to family member, bank staff or police.
- Tip 17 - Do not use obvious and guessable numbers for your PIN like your date of birth.
- Tip 18 - Change your PIN periodically, and, if you think it may have been compromised, change it immediately.
- Tip 19 - Set your daily ATM withdrawal limit at your branch at levels you consider reasonable.
- Tip 20 - Regularly check your account balance and bank statements and report any discrepancies to your bank immediately.
Please note that you should show the same precautionary care when using your card(s) at a POS (point of sale) pinpad terminal in a retail environment or at a restaurant or when conducting transactions online, telephonically or when writing checks – speak to your bank branch about security when using these other service delivery channels.