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
- 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.
- Medicare Fraud 101
According to Government estimates, Medicare lost $52 billion to fraud, abuse and improper billing in FY2017. Medicare fraud typically involves rogue health care providers or medical suppliers who bill the program for services, equipment or medication that they don’t actually provide, or else inflate the cost of those items. Some will even falsify patients’ diagnoses to justify unnecessary tests, surgeries and other procedures or write prescriptions for patients they’ve never examined. Others use genuine patient information, sometimes obtained through identity theft, to create fake claims.
One of the most effective ways to combat against Medicare fraud is to review your Medicare statements and make sure the dates and services listed are correct. If something doesn’t look right, call your medical provider’s office.
- Do Me a Favor Scam
We all want to please our bosses, especially when they need help. This fact is not lost of some scammers who have started sending fake boss messages asking employees for a favor. Several reports have emerged this summer of employees getting texts or emails from their “boss” asking them to purchase gift cards and send the account numbers. The supposed boss might be travelling or claim they are too busy to take care of the task. But once the gift cards are purchased and the information sent, the money is gone.
Because scammers are so good at spoofing email addresses and phone numbers, you don’t always know when your boss really is your boss. However, whenever you are asked to purchase a gift card and give out the card information by phone or email, it is most likely a scam.
- College Scholarship Scam
It’s back to school season and for many parents and grandparents of college students, and that may mean looking for ways to help pay for school. Please beware of scholarship, financial aid and government grant scams. Fraudsters guarantee to award a scholarship as long as you pay an upfront processing fee for their services, but then you never see any scholarship money. To apply for true federal student aid, use the FAFSA, the official online form which is free to submit. Save your money and put it towards education instead.
- Free Medicare Device Scam
One tell-tale sign that should make every consumer suspicious is when something is offered “for free.” These free offer scams are often associated with Medicare. The program spends around $6 billion a year on medical devices, and a market this big draws scammers. In a medical equipment scam, someone reaches out with an offer of a “free” brace, wheelchair or other device. All they need is your Medicare number. Once they have it, scammers can use it to bill the government for devices and services that aren’t needed.
Medicare fraud results in higher deductibles and copays for Medicare beneficiaries, and can even put affected patients at risk. Be suspicious of unsolicited free offers and never give out your Medicare number to anyone who isn’t a trusted health care provider.
- Peer-To-Peer Payment Apps
With new technologies come new ways scammers are trying to steal our money. Peer-to-Peer (P2P) money sending apps – Zelle, Venmo, PayPal and the like – are popular ways for friends to send money back and forth. Unfortunately, scammers are using the same technology to receive payment from individuals they deceive into believing they owe money. These platforms have fewer consumer protections than other forms of payment. Use caution when sending money to people you do not know and watch out if a stranger insists on paying you via P2P apps.
- Door-To-Door Scams
Warm weather brings out the door-to-door solicitations. Be cautious anytime a stranger comes knocking unsolicited, especially if the visitor is trying to sell you goods or services. To avoid door-to-door scams, refuse to do business right on the spot. Always ask for credentials and check with an objective third party to verify someone’s identity. Never pay for services in cash and be wary of paying upfront for a product or service that will be delivered at a later date. A receipt is worth nothing unless the business is valid and reputable. Be sure you read and understand any agreements or contracts you sign. Don't be afraid to offend someone by not doing business with them.
- Public Wi-Fi Scams
Are you using public Wi-Fi? Free Wi-Fi is a great convenience, but it can be risky. Scammers can set up a Wi-Fi network with a name similar to the one you’re intending to use, hoping you’ll connect to it, or they can hijack your information between you and the Wi-Fi access point. Do no more than checking the weather or browsing sports scores; otherwise, hackers can steal your passwords, see your email, or intercept financial transactions. Make sure your device isn’t set to connect to Wi-Fi automatically. When on public WiFi, use your device’s data service or install a “virtual private network” (VPN) to protect yourself while using public Wi-Fi.
- Rental Property Scams
Renting a home is often a big expense and an even bigger one when the rental is a scam. Scammers look for easy cash by collecting first month’s rent, deposits, and application and background check fees and then bolt before handing over the keys. Numerous versions of rental frauds abound: some are bait-and-switch while others will attempt to rent out properties that are already leased or otherwise unavailable. Leasing based on units similar to a model unit and putting money down on a place unseen is on the rise, and would-be renters are being scammed out of hundreds or even thousands of dollars. When renting a new place, watch out for scammers who ask you to sign before seeing anything or request payment via money wire, peer to peer apps or cash. Do your research on the property and owner read agreements carefully.
- Free Trial Offer Scams
Social media, TV, and other media often advertise free trial offers that claim to be “risk free.” However, some “free” trial offers end up being traps that lock consumers into plans that charge recurring fees. Often a free trial offer will require you to provide your credit card information for a nominal shipping fee. However, once you accept the offer and the company has your payment information, you may be charged for products you never intended to order. Read up on both the company (reviews and contact information) and the terms and conditions of the offer. Be sure to monitor your financial statements: If you see charges you didn’t agree to, contact the company directly to cancel future charges, and if that doesn’t work, contact your credit card company to dispute the charges. Bottom line? Be wary of signing up to receive products or services that claim to be “free.”
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.