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
With economic recovery checks arriving in bank accounts, scammers are lurking trying to separate recipients from their needed financial resources. One way this is happening is shady contractors showing up at people’s front door offering to fix their roof or driveway at a discounted price. These scams usually start with a deep discount and a down payment and then the friendly contractor disappears.
Beware of contractors who say they stopped by because they just happen to be in your neighborhood. And always get at least three bids and check references.
Do Me a Favor Scam
Government grant scams are on the rise. Scammers lure targets through ads (newspaper, email, text messages, and even by hacking into your friends’ social media accounts), claiming you’re eligible for a $25,000 grant for a $1,200 fee. Know that government agencies do not hand out “free” money and most government grants go to institutions following lengthy applications. Never pay money to receive money. Watch out for requests to wire money for upfront fees or taxes or requests for banking information for “deposits.”
Fake checks are the darlings of many scam artists, from bogus lottery winnings, fake employment opportunities, to phony grant awards. Whatever the story, the scam artist sends you a check and then asks you to use it to buy gift cards or wire money to them. You deposit the check into your account, and when it bounces, you are responsible for covering those funds. There is no legitimate reason why someone who gives you money would need you to send money back to them.
A growing number of people are fighting loneliness with a new pet, 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.
The current “new normal” of so many people working from home has opened a wide window for scammers. They are taking advantage of so much work and decision-making being conducted by e-mail.
One such scam involves a “boss” emailing to ask an employee to help purchase gift cards, and once purchased, to share the information on the cards. It’s only later the employee realizes that the boss’s email address was spoofed, and the money is long gone.
To ensure a safe summer getaway, be wary of hotel or airline deals that are just too good to be true and be on the lookout for websites with odd spelling or grammatical errors, which indicate it may have been created by a scammer in a foreign country.
Fraudsters follow the headlines, taking advantage when an outbreak like coronavirus, Ebola or swine flu makes global news. Until there is a readily available treatment and vaccine for this outbreak, we can expect these scams to continue.
Be skeptical of claims made for untested or little-known health products and closely check email and web addresses in messages purporting to be from major health organizations like the CDC and WHO. Most importantly, never give out your Medicare or health insurance information to anyone other than your trusted health care providers.
Tax ID Theft
Everyone is guilty of procrastinating from time to time, but one place where it doesn’t pay to wait is doing your taxes. Scammers take full advantage of opportunities during tax filing season to make a fast buck. They commit tax identity theft by filing a phony tax return using victims’ personal information to get a refund. To protect yourself against this scam, file your return as early as possible, use a secure Internet connection if you file electronically, or mail your tax return directly from the post office.
Consumer Sentinel 2019 Report
The numbers are in. The Federal Trade Commission released its report of fraud complaints from 2019, and scams show no sign of abating. Reported losses amounted to almost $2 billion – and older victims report losing more than younger victims. Impostor scams topped the list – where scammers pretend to be someone they are not to convince you to hand over personal information or money. In fact, government impostor scam reports are up by 50% over 2018. Here’s a tip: that message from the Social Security Administration saying your account has been suspended? It’s a scam. So is the one from your county court saying you face a fine for missing jury duty.
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.