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.
What should you do if you are an apparent victim of identity theft? Learn More.
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.
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 share your secrets
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 sensitive papers
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.
Protect your computer
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
Credit Repair Scams
If you’re like a lot of Americans, you spent a lot this holiday season and you might be in the mood to tackle your debt in the New Year. Getting yourself out of debt is hard work. It takes time and discipline. Be wary of offers of guaranteed quick fixes. Con artists prey on consumer’s frustration over finances by offering the keys to getting your finances in order. These offers usually involve up-front fees, bad advice like stopping communication with your creditors and vague details on what services they actually provide.
Whether at work or school, December is the season for gift exchanges and scammers want to get in on the action. One pyramid scam often seen around this season involves a viral social media post about joining in a Secret Holiday gift exchange. It promises that if you send one gift to a recipient, you will receive upwards of 30 gifts in return. However, these chain “gift exchanges” are a form of illegal gambling. Not only may you not receive any gifts, but you also may end up in legal trouble. With so many ways to give in real life, skip the virtual gift giving and have a safer holiday season.
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.
Thoroughly vet any online offering from breeders, shelters or rescue organizations. Better yet, consider adopting locally.
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.
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.