What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal identification information, like your name, Social Security number or credit card number, without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. Here are some ways you can protect yourself:
Shred financial documents and paperwork with personal information before you discard them. 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. Don’t give out personal information over the phone, through the mail, or on 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. Keep your anti-spyware and anti-virus software up-to-date. Visit OnGuardOnline.gov for more information.
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’re going on vacation or a business trip, call your credit card company(s) and let them know where you’re going and for how long.
Think you might be a victim?
What should you do if you are an apparent victim of identity theft? Learn More.
Maine Fraud Prevention Alliance
We are proud to be a founding member of the MFPA. Find out more about the MFPA and how you can DASH Fraud. Learn more
As our customer, your card is protected 24/7. Through Fraud Prevention Services, we provide industry leading technology, tools and expertise to manage fraud. Experienced fraud analysts work around the clock, watching for any suspicious card activity and will contact you immediately if they detect potential fraud on your card. In cases where transactions appear to be suspicious, and you are contacted by Fraud Prevention Services, you will be asked for the LAST 4 DIGITS of your social security number to verify your identity. Learn More
If you have any questions about this service, please contact our Customer Care Department at 207-284-4591. The Bank will receive a notification from Fraud Prevention Services whenever they attempt to contact you.
8 Ways to Stop an Identity Thief
More than 15.4 million Americans were victims of identity fraud last year, according to Javelin Strategy & Research. The American Bankers Association is offering eight tips to help consumers protect their information and avoid becoming a victim.
“Identity fraud continues to be a major problem for consumers,” said Doug Johnson, ABA’s senior vice president of payments and cybersecurity policy. “Fortunately, there are ways consumers can protect themselves, like being cautious about what information they share and who they share it with, especially online.”
ABA suggests following these eight tips:
Don’t provide your Social Security number or account information to anyone who contacts you online or over the phone. Protect your PINs and passwords and do not share them with anyone. Use a combination of letters and numbers for your passwords and change them periodically. Do not reveal sensitive or personal information on social networking sites.
Shred receipts, banks statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away.
Keep an eye out for missing mail
Fraudsters look for monthly bank or credit card statements and other mail containing your financial information. Consider enrolling in online banking to reduce the likelihood of paper statements being stolen. Also, don’t mail bills from your own mailbox with the flag up.
Use online banking to protect yourself
Monitor your financial accounts regularly for fraudulent transactions. Sign up for text or email alerts from your bank for certain types of transactions, such as online purchases or transactions of more than $500.
Monitor your credit report
Order a free copy of your credit report every four months from one of the three credit reporting agencies at annualcreditreport.com.
Make sure the virus protection software on your computer is active and up to date. When conducting business online, make sure your browser’s padlock or key icon is active. Also look for an “s” after the “http” to be sure the website is secure.
Protect your mobile device
Use the passcode lock on your smartphone and other devices. This will make it more difficult for thieves to access your information if your device is lost or stolen. Before you donate, sell or trade your mobile device, be sure to wipe it using specialized software or using the manufacturer’s recommended technique. Some software allows you to wipe your device remotely if it is lost or stolen. Use caution when downloading apps, as they may contain malware and avoid opening links and attachments – especially for senders you don’t know.
Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately
To contact us, please Click Here.
If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, Click Here for a helpful guide on the steps you can take to protect yourself.
AARP Scam Alerts
- Bank Impostor Scam
A new scam that has emerged this summer involves criminals posing as bank representatives and offering to pick up a customer’s “compromised” bank card. This scam originates over the phone with the impostor offering to send a ”senior services” agent to the house to pick up the credit card or debit card and PIN so the problem can be fixed. The crook then racks up credit card debt or drains checking accounts attached to debit cards.
Know this: banks don’t have “senior service centers” from which they send bank employees to your home. If you get a call like this, hang up.
Freezing Your Credit
The sheer volume of data breaches makes all of us vulnerable to identity theft. Placing a freeze on your credit is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from identity fraud – when someone uses your information to open accounts in your name, or even take over your existing accounts.
Here’s what to know before you start the process. First, you will have to freeze your credit with each of the three major credit agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You will also need to create passwords and PINs for each, so have a filing system for retrieving the information if you need to unfreeze your credit in the future. If you are placing a freeze for other family members, you will need their Social Security numbers.
- Pet Scams (Holiday)
The holidays are a popular time to add a new furry member to the family, but choosing a pet – especially online - can be tricky and sometimes dangerous. A national survey found that more than 80% of sponsored search sites offering pets for sale were fraudulent in 2017. The websites look legit and the “sellers” will ask you typical adoption questions, but the adorable photos you are falling in love with are stolen from legitimate sites. Once you start paying these scammers, the charges start to pile up for things like last minute medical needs or travel expenses, and the pet you’ve fallen in love with never shows up.
Thoroughly vet any online offering from breeders, shelters or rescue organizations. Better yet, consider adopting locally.
- Cyber Monday Scams (Holiday)
Everyone is on the lookout for the best Cyber Monday deal, which means scammers are on the lookout for you. Reported scams from fake shopping websites increased by 30% in 2017, according to Experian. Here are some tips to make sure the hot deal you’re clicking on is really legitimate.
Be suspicious of any discounts larger than 55% off. Irregular contact information, such as a Yahoo or Gmail address instead of a corporate account is another red flag. Web addresses that are overly complex, don’t include the corporate name or don’t start with https: are also indicators that your data and your money may not be safe.
- National Cyber Security Month
October is National Cyber Security Month and there are three keys to staying safe online: Own it, Secure it, and Protect it. The “it” is your digital profile – the personal things about yourself that you put online. Living in the digital age means putting a lot of personal information online like your home address, where you work, family members, and much more. Keeping that information safe requires a bit of work. First, you need to own it by understanding what you’re putting out there (such as what you’re posting on social media). Next, you have to secure it with strong passwords or using a password manager and enabling two-step authentication where available. Lastly, you need to protect it by staying current with the latest security updates on your devices and using Public Wi-Fi safely.
- Scam Tracker Map
Scammers work 24 hours a day, seven days a week looking for their next victims. The unfortunate reality is that millions of people fall victim to scams carried out by sophisticated national and international criminal organizations every year. You can get a sense of how widespread this is by visiting the AARP scam-tracking map. Understanding how widespread scams are and which ones are trending in your community can help us all stay safe.
- Medicare Open Enrollment Scam
Medicare Open Enrollment season is here, which means it is also Medicare fraud season. Between now and December 7th seniors across the country will be shopping for the best deal for their health care dollar. Unfortunately some of the deals they will be offered won’t be deals at all. Medicare scams are expected to spike during open enrollment season with scammers posing as impostors calling and emailing seniors offering free gifts or limited time offers. These scams are all designed to capture your Medicare number so the crooks can charge Medicare for services you didn’t receive. Be suspicious of anyone who calls, emails or visits you promoting a Medicare plan. Legitimate health plans can only contact you if you’ve requested information. Don’t give personal information to anyone who calls or visits out of the blue and always review your Medicare statement to ensure fraudulent charges aren’t included.
- Password Managers
One of the best ways to protect your online information is to use strong, unique passwords for each password-protected website you use. But keeping track of all of these passwords is not easy. One solution is to use a password manager – a software program that creates, stores and retrieves strong and unique passwords for you. Do some research to find an option that best suits your needs and budget.
- ID Theft: What to Do Next
We take a lot of precautions to protect our personal information, but we’re not the only people responsible for our data. So many different entities have our personal information it’s hard to keep track of. Our banks, health providers, email TV and Internet provider, retailers and more all have our data and many of them have been hacked. The reality is that most Americans have already had their identity compromised. So what can we do to protect ourselves after the fact? Here are 3 steps to protecting yourself after your personal information has been stolen. 1) Sign up for credit monitoring that will alert you if someone tried to open an account in your name. 2) Place a free security freeze on your credit to help stop identity thieves from opening new accounts in your name. 3) Establish online access to all of your bank accounts, credit cards and retirement accounts and check them frequently.
- Labor Day/Work from Home Scams
Today’s work world is vastly different than when Labor Day was first celebrated more than 130 years ago. Today, more and more people are working from home for companies halfway around the country or even the globe. But with this new flexibility comes a new risk of falling victim to scammers looking to take advantage of people wanting to work from home.
The scams can promise work on medical billing, data entry or starting an online business, but they all require paying something up front. Once you start paying, the requests for more money for training never stop and in return you get a lot of useless information or requests to recruit more people into the scheme.
There are genuine work-from-home jobs out there. The trick is knowing how to spot the real opportunities in a sea of empty — and costly — promises.
- Small Scale Cyber Attacks
If you do business with a national retailer or bank, chances are you’ve had your identity compromised at one time or another. These large scale cyber attacks have unfortunately become commonplace, but it’s important to know that criminals are trying just as hard to hack you as they are big corporations. Personal cyber attacks can come in the form of malicious attachments that steal personal information from your computer. They can also come in the form of email attacks, called phishing, appearing to come from a trusted source and asking you to confirm a password or verify personal information.
Be careful online and check your emails for common warning signs like misspellings, generic greetings, free offers or urgent requests for action. Never click on suspicious links and always look up call back numbers rather than relying on those listed in the message.
- Gift Cards and Fraud
You see them in just about every store you shop in, colorful kiosks filled with gift cards. Gift cards for everything from coffee, to movies to video games. What you don’t realize is those colorful cards can also be the currency of fraud.
Gift cards are one of the top ways today’s scammers steal money from their victims. They convince their targets to purchase gift cards and share the numbers and security codes. Once shared, the scammer drains the value of the card and disappears. Keep this in mind: if someone asks you to pay for something by gift card, it’s a scam.
- Impostor Scams
The ability of technology to connect us to family and friends is amazing. Grandparents can talk online with their grandkids, high school friends can stay in touch from across the country and you can meet new people with similar interests every day. However, the distance and remote nature of digital communications means you often don’t know exactly who you’re connecting to.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, scammers stole nearly half a billion dollars in 2018 by posing as someone else online. These impostor scams take many forms. They can pretend to be government agencies, a burgeoning love interest, or a long lost friend. However, they all have one thing in common: at some point, they will ask you for money. Here’s a rule to live by: if someone you’ve only met online and never in person asks you for money, assume it is a scam.
Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.
Report scams to local law enforcement. Visit the AARP Fraud Website for more information on fraud prevention.
The Federal Trade Commission and American Bankers Association have posted a helpful infographic on Fake Check Scams.
Click here to view the Fake check Scam Infographic.