Did you know that up to 500,000 individuals each year are victims of identity theft, a fast-growing form of fraud?
“Identity theft” or “account takeover fraud” involves criminals stealing a person’s personal information. These criminals assume a person’s identity and apply for and use credit in the victim’s name, harming the victim’s credit record. Simple steps can be taken to protect your identity and improve account security.
The following security tips can help you protect yourself and your money.
- Keep your important papers secure, shred documents with sensitive information before you put them in the trash, and limit the personal information you carry with you are among the ways you can protect your identity.
- Use strong passwords for all your accounts. A strong password will have eight or more characters, including letters, numbers and symbols.
- Keep a close eye on your bank statements watching for any unusual transactions. *Download the B of C mobile app for free on your mobile device to monitor your account 24/7.*
- Don’t use any part of your social security number as a password, user ID or personal identification number (PIN).
- Don’t respond to emails that claim to be from your bank (or any other company) requesting your account details.
- Be mindful of how much personal information you share on social networking sites. The more you post about yourself, the easier it might be for someone to use the information.
- Keep sensitive personal information and bank account numbers/passwords off your phone.
- Keep your computer operating system, your Web browser and your mobile device software up to date with the latest security patches.
- Each year, obtain a copy of your credit report to make sure your repayment information is being correctly reported. If you have recently been denied credit, you are entitled to a free credit report within 60 days of the date you receive notice of such denial. Under other circumstances, you may be charged a small fee. You can call any of the three national credit reporting agencies to get a copy of your credit report: (1) Transunion 800-888-4213; or (2) Equifax 800-685-1111; or (3) Experian 888-397-3742.
- Read these tips from the Department of Homeland Security regarding identity theft prevention and response.
Learn how to Protect your Privacy Online with these tips from the Department of Homeland Security
Social Media Safety:
- Be wary of strangers
- Protect your identity by limiting personal information that you post
- Use strong passwords, and change them often!
- Do not exchange passwords, personal information, or login information over social media messengers or comments
- Avoid posting travel plans
- Learn more about social media safety here
Avoid telephone scams:
Telephone spoofing or number spoofing is a sophisticated new type of fraud that enables criminals to pose as trusted organizations by displaying a legitimate name and phone number on their victim’s caller ID. It’s very effective, since the phone number displayed can be your bank’s actual phone number!
What could happen: you may receive a phone call that displays “Bank of Cashton” and our actual phone number on your caller ID (this can affect both landlines and cell phones). You answer the call, and a person will present you with an urgent sounding scenario in order to trick you into giving sensitive financial or personal information. Often, the pretense involves “securing your accounts due to fraud being detected.”
After convincing you of legitimacy, the criminal will then attempt to gain access to your funds. Some victims have lost thousands of dollars.
To beat this scam, hang up the phone. When in doubt, hang up. Then, after ensuring the line is disconnected (some fraudsters will suggest you call your Bank’s number, but will keep the current call’s line open, play a fake dial-tone, and “answer” your call to further convince you their call is real) re-dial our phone number and report the incident.
When in doubt, hang up, and call us. Together, we can protect your information and put an end to these scams.