Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing types of financial fraud. Without stealing your wallet, a crook can steal your financial identity with as little information as your social security number. It is also called "account take-over fraud" or "true-name fraud", and it involves crooks assuming your identity by applying for credit, running up huge bills and stiffing creditors - all in your name.
Reducing the possibility of being a victim of identify theft:
1. Give your bank a security password used to retrieve account information by telephone.
2. Do not leave bill payment envelopes clipped to your mailbox or inside with the flag up; criminals may steal your mail and change the address.
3. When you order checks, ask when you can expect delivery. If your mailbox is not secure, then ask to pick up the checks instead of having them delivered to your home.
4. Do not have your Social Security number printed on your checks, and do not allow merchants to write your Social Security number on your checks.
5. Never give your Social Security number, account numbers or personal credit information to anyone who calls.
6. Never leave your purse or wallet unattended.
7. Keep a list of all your credit cards and bank accounts along with their account numbers, expiration dates and credit limits, as well as telephone numbers of customer service and fraud departments.
8. Shield the keypad when using ATMs or when placing calling card calls.
9. Cancel your unused credit cards so that their account numbers will not appear on your credit report.
10. When possible keep your credit and check cards visible as a merchant completes a transaction.
11. Sign all your cards immediately upon receipt.
12. Keep track of credit card, check card and ATM receipts. Never throw them in a public trash container. Tear them up or shred them at home when you no longer need them.
13. Do not save passwords on your computer, many scam and conartists use viruses to extract saved passwords without your knowledge. Update your virus software regularly.
14. Order a copy of your credit report from any report agency of your choice, look for indications of fraud such as unauthorized applications, unfamililar credit accounts and deliquincies you did not cause.
15. Check your Social Security Earnings and Benefits statements once each year to make sure no one else is using your Social Security number.
Bank Card Fraud
Theft is the most common occurrence of card fraud. The theft can happen to your physical card, your card number and/or your PIN (Personal Identification Number). There are many ways a thief may retrieve your card information. The perpetrator can find your card number by searching through trash to find discarded receipts, carbons or bills containing your card number. You may receive a letter for a bargain-priced vacation or prize promotion requesting card information or a simple email from what seems to be valid email from a previously used merchant or financial institution requesting information to update their records (called phishing).
1. Sign your new cards as soon as they arrive.
2. Carry your cards separately from your wallet.
3. Keep a record of your card numbers, their expiration dates, and the phone number and address of each company in a secure place.
4. Keep your card in view after you give it to a clerk. Retrieve your card promptly after using it. Don't use your card for open restaurant or bar tabs.
5. Don't sign a blank receipt. Draw a line through the blank spaces around the total when you sign card receipts.
6. Destroy all carbons and incorrect receipts.
7. Save your receipts to compare with your statements or simply use LCNB On-Line to track and verify Debit MasterCard® transactions.
8. Never lend a card(s) to anyone.
9. Never leave your cards or receipts lying around.
10. Never put your card number on a postcard or on the outside of an envelope.
11. Never give your number over the phone unless you are initiating a transaction with a company you know is reputable.
12. Never for any reason give out your PIN to anyone for any reason, including LCNB employees.
As identity theft and fraud increases, so does the creativity of scam artists. This is prominent in the retirement and senior communities. These scam artists are creative in both phone presentations and door to door calls. The scams can be disguised as travel deals, prize promotions, winnings or awards or money due to you, magazine subscriptions, insurance, investment frauds and the list goes on even including charitable solicitation or donations.
Tips to help you avoid being take by a scam artist:
1. Never give out personal information, social security number or account information to anyone.
2. Never make a quick decision over the phone or in person. If the deal seems legit and worth pursuing, the company will allow you time to get back to them.
3. Investigate the company being represented. Ask for a company phone number and call them back to verify the number is not a personal phone number, check with the Better Business Bureau or ask to see some type of identification.
4. Never give out cash for donations without investigating first and getting a receipt for the cash.
5. Don't ever do business with someone requiring money or credit card information before they process the information. Only give out a credit card number when making purchases with a reputable company and always get the company name, phone number, extension, and name of the person you are dealing with.
6. Always consult someone if you are unsure of the situation. A second opinion never hurts and may in some cases help you from being a victim.
Skimming involves criminals installing equipment on legitimate bank ATMs to steal both the ATM card number and the PIN. The criminals then sit in a nearby vehicle receiving the information transmitted wirelessly over weekends and evenings from equipment they install on the front of the ATM. The equipment used to capture the information is clearly disguised to look like normal ATM equipment. A "skimmer" is mounted to the front of the normal ATM card slot that reads the ATM card number and transmits it to criminals sitting in a nearby vehicle. At the same time, a wireless camera is disguised to look like a leaflet/brochure holder and is mounted in a position to view ATM PIN entries. The thieves copy the cards and use the PIN numbers to withdraw thousands from many accounts in a very short time directly from the bank ATM. It is very important to always be aware of your surroundings and any type of ATM or terminal used by your ATM/Check Card.
As the electronic age advances, so do the talents of the con artists. Con artists are now using email to scam you into giving them personal financial information. The Internet Piracy scam is called "phishing" and pronounced "fishing" and involves scammers claiming to be from a reputable company, financial institution or government agency, including one of the federal financial institution regulatory agencies. The scammers then send out emails to thousands of email addresses in hopes that the recipients of the emails will respond with their personal financial information, credit/check card numbers, PINs, passwords and other sensitive information including Social Security numbers. The con artists are quite advanced in their technology to make the emails look very authentic including using company logos and banners copied from actual web sites. The email often contains wording expressing there has been a change in security procedure or they need to update (validate) your information and you are directed to a look-alike web site. This information is then obtained and fraud is committed on your account and or your identity (Identity Theft), depending on the information requested..
Tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of phishing:
1. Never provide your personal financial information in response to an unsolicited phone call, fax or email, or other request no matter how official it may seem. If you do not initiate the communication, you should not provide the information.
2. Do not respond to email that may warn of dire consequences unless you validate your information immediately. Contact the company to confirm the emailâ€™s validity using a telephone number or Web address you know to be genuine.
3. Check your credit card and bank statements regularly and look for unauthorized transactions, even small ones. Some thieves hope small transactions will go unnoticed. Report discrepancies immediately.
4. If you have responded to an email, contact LCNB immediately so your information can be protected as best as possible.