THE NIGHTMARE OF IDENTITY THEFT
How can someone steal your identity? Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information such as your name, Social Security number, credit card number or other identifying information, without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes.
Identity theft is a serious crime. People whose identities have been stolen can spend months or years - and their hard-earned money - cleaning up the mess thieves have made of their good name and credit record. In the meantime, victims may lose job opportunities, be refused on loans, education, housing or cars, or even get arrested for crimes they did not commit.
PROTECTING YOUR IDENTITY
Do not give out financial information - such as checking account and credit card numbers or your Social Security number unless you know the person or organization and have initiated the contact.
Guard your Social Security Number - Don’t carry your Social Security card with you and don’t use your social security number as a PIN or password.
Use a shredder – Before disposing of any documents with personal information on it, be sure to shred them.
Protect your mail – It is safest to place mail in a Postal Service collection box. The red flag on a residential mail box not only lets the mail carrier know you have something to pick up, but it also lets thieves know you have something in there.
Stop pre-approved credit card offers – by calling 888-5OPTOUT (888-567-8688) or visiting the Opt Out web site at www.optoutprescreen.com.
If regular bills or mail fails to reach you – contact the company to find out why.
Check your bank statements - Review your account regularly to ensure accuracy. Sometimes identity thieves strike there first. If something does not look accurate, contact your bank immediately.
Pay attention to Internet security - Be sure to have proper security on your computer and use passwords with multiple characters and a mix of numbers, symbols, digits and upper and lower case letters. Look for “https” and/or a small padlock in the bottom right corner, which means that the site is secure if you are giving account or personal information.
Check your credit report regularly - You can obtain a free credit report from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion by calling toll-free to 1-877-322-8228 or online at www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp. You can get a free credit report from each agency once per year.
Click here to read about how to use credit reports and how to improve your score.
If you think your identity has been stolen, here's what to do now:
- Contact the fraud departments of any one of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit file. The fraud alert requests creditors to contact you before opening any new accounts or making any changes to your existing accounts. As soon as the credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the other two credit bureaus will be automatically notified to place fraud alerts, and all three credit reports will be sent to you free of charge. Equifax: 888-766-0008, Experian: 888-397-3742, TransUnion: 800-680-7289
- Close the accounts that you know or believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Use the ID Theft Affidavit when disputing new unauthorized accounts.
- File a police report. Get a copy of the report to submit to your creditors and others that may require proof of the crime.
- File your complaint with the FTC. The FTC maintains a database of identity theft cases used by law enforcement agencies for investigations. Filing a complaint also helps us learn more about identity theft and the problems victims are having so that we can better assist you.
- File a complaint with the Wisconsin Office of Privacy Protection by calling 1-800-422-7128 or logging onto www.privacy.wi.gov.
Beware of unsolicited "phoney" emails
The State Bank of Cross Plains has become aware of an increase in phoney emails, often referred to as "Phishing" or "Brand Spoofing."
Be cautious of "Brand Spoofing" emails and web sites coming from parties pretending to be real companies that request personal or financial information. Customers are led to believe the request is from a real company when in fact it is a malicious attempt to collect customer information for the purpose of committing fraud.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
- Customers receive an unsolicited email appearing to be from a legitimate company.
- The email claims that a billing error or account problem has occurred or that the customer can enter a contest to win a prize. Other enticements may be used.
- Customers are asked to follow instructions that will take them to a web site that appears legitimate, complete with a company's brand name and corporate colors.
- Customers are asked to provide updated personal and financial information by completing an online form. The form requests a variety of information such as credit card numbers, account numbers, passwords, PIN numbers, date of birth, driver's license number, or social security numbers.
- There may be a risk associated with the request. For example, customers are asked to submit the information or risk having their account suspended or terminated.
TIPS TO HELP YOU IDENTIFY AND RESPOND TO POTENTIAL "BRAND SPOOFING" EMAILS OR WEB SITES
- Never provide sensitive personal or financial information such as a credit card number, account number, driver's license number, or social security number in response to an email.
- Look for misspelled words either in the message or in the hyperlink if one is provided. "Brand Spoofing" scams often contain misspelled words.
- If the email requests that you click a link provided in the message, check the address to help determine if it is legitimate. Sometimes, the link does not resemble the company's actual name at all. At other times, it is very similar but may still appear suspicious.
- If a link is provided in the message, do not click it because it may take you to a fraudulent web site. Instead, type the company's web address in the address bar of your browser. Once on the site, search for any information, bulletins or notices that convey the same message provided in the email you received.
“VERIFIED BY VISA” PHISHING SCAM
In the past some customers were receiving an email requesting credit card information. A copy of the email is below and following that is the response we received from our representative at Visa.
Verified by Visa protects your existing Visa card with a password you create, giving you assurance that only you can use your Visa card online. Simply activate your card and create your personal password. You’ll get the added confidence that your Visa card is safe when you shop at participating online stores. You may activate now by entering your card number over our secure server. If your card issuer is participating in Verified by Visa (most issuers are) you’ll complete a brief activation process. You’ll verify your identity, create your Verified by Visa password and you’re done. © Copyright 2005, Visa U.S.A. All rights reserved.
This is a Phishing Scam, please advise your cardholder to disregard. Visa will never email your cardholders to ask for account validation to include security data. In addition, FIS does not store the cardholder email address, so this information could not have been shared; Visa would not have this information to begin with. Verified by Visa enrollment is only available when a cardholder visits Visa's website or during online purchase with a participating merchant. Issuers do not carry the option to participate in Verified by Visa as indicated in the email; it is the Merchant’s option to participate. You can see related phishing scams by Google searching keywords "firstname.lastname@example.org.”
What action should be taken if you suspect an email or web site referencing State Bank of Cross Plains is not legitimate?
Contact us at email@example.com. If possible, include a copy of the phoney email.
Please note: the State Bank of Cross Plains will never call you and ask for confidential information over the phone or contact you through regular email because we already have this information. Further, the State Bank of Cross Plains will never ask you for your password or PIN. If someone calls or emails you and identifies themselves as a Bank employee and asks for your account information, password or PIN, take caution. They do not represent the Bank. Do not reveal your information to them. To further protect you, when you call the Bank, we will ask confidential information in order to identify you and make sure we are talking with the correct person. Please be aware of this.
If you believe you may have been a victim of "Brand Spoofing," please contact your local police.
For additional information, visit:
To receive a free copy of your credit report click here: www.annualcreditreport.com.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) released an on-line multimedia education tool that consumers can use to learn how to better protect their computers and themselves from identity thieves. Click here to view this presentation: http://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/guard/index.html1