Identity theft happens when a criminal obtains your personal information to steal money from your accounts, open new credit cards, apply for loans, rent apartments and commit other crimes – all using your identity. These acts can damage your credit, leave you with unwanted bills and cause you countless hours and frustration to clear your good name.
If You're a Victim of Identity Theft or Account Fraud
If you're a victim of identity theft or account fraud, you should notify your bank(s) immediately.
We also suggest that you immediately:
Call the fraud departments of all three credit bureaus. Ask them to put a "fraud alert" on your file. This tells creditors to call you before they open any more accounts in your name.
Contact your local police and ask them to file a report. Even if the police can't catch the identity thief, having a police report can help you in clearing up your credit records later on.
File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Call the FTC's identity theft hotline toll-free at 1.877.IDTHEFT (438.4338). The hotline is staffed by counselors trained to help victims and take their complaints. You may also file a complaint online at www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft
Complete the identity theft affidavit, which will assist you in reporting to many companies that a new account has been opened in your name. Obtain a copy of the identity theft affidavit by clicking this link: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/resources/forms/affidavit.pdf
If you would like more information about identity theft, you can do any or all the following:
- Get more information on fighting identity theft from the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency at
- Visit the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) consumer website at www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft
- Call the FTC toll-free at 1.877.IDTHEFT (438.4338)
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How to Protect Yourself
At Home State Bank, we use a variety of technologies and techniques to help ensure our products and services are secure. You should protect yourself, too, by making an effort to control risks when you use your personal computer to conduct business on-line.
Here are some of the steps you can take:
- Do what you can to prevent unauthorized people from using your personal computer (PC)
- Log off or lock your workstation whenever you leave your computer
- Change your password often. Be sure to choose passwords that are hard for others to guess
- Don't give your passwords to anyone. Don't record your passwords in an easy-to-find place
- If you notice suspicious activity in your accounts, report it immediately to the appropriate parties
- Install anti-virus, anti-spyware, and other internet software on your PC. Use it regularly and keep it up-to-date
- Be leery of e-mails you receive from people you don't know, and don't open any attachments they may contain. When in doubt, delete the message without opening it
- Take advantage of your PC's security features
- Make sure your browser uses the strongest encryption available and be aware of the encryption levels of the sites and applications you use
- Use only software from reliable vendors
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"Phishing" (pronounce "fishing") is when criminals use e-mail to try to lure you to fake websites, where you're asked to disclose confidential and personal information, like passwords, credit card account numbers or Social Security Numbers.
The most common type of phish is an e-mail threatening some dire consequence if you do not immediately log in and take action.
You should never respond or reply to e-mail that:
- Requires you to enter personal information directly into the e-mail or submit that information some other way
- Threatens to close or suspend your account if you do not take immediate action by providing personal information
- Solicits your participation in a survey where you are asked to enter personal information
- States that your account has been compromised or that there has been third-party activity on your account and requests you to enter or confirm your account information
- States that there are unauthorized charges on your account and requests your account information
- Asks you to enter your User ID, password or account numbers into an e-mail or a non-secure webpage
- Asks you to confirm, verify, or refresh your account, credit card, or billing information
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