ID Theft Protection
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft occurs when someone without your permission uses personal information such as your name, Social Security number, credit or debit card number to commit fraud. Criminals use this information to charge purchases to your accounts, withdrawal money, and open new lines of credit in your name.
First Federal Savings Bank is committed to protecting and securing your private information here at the bank and we hope the following information will help you do the same in all of your financial transactions. Below are tips on how to reduce your risk and potential damage of Identity Theft, and what to do if you find yourself a victim.
How can you become a victim of Identity Theft?
Identity thieves have a number of ways in which to get ahold of your personal information. Many times, victims of identity fraud gave the thieves the necessary information unwittingly. The vast majority of the time emails that say "You have won the lottery!" or "The Prince of a foreign country has left you $5 million dollars" are in fact scams designed to get you to respond with valid account information the thieves will then use to defraud you. Another common way Identity Thieves "Phish" for your information is by sending emails or texts saying "There is an issue with your account, please login with your user name and password." The website or phone number these messages lead to is often designed to capture your account information and is never a valid website or number.
Fraudsters also look to steal your identity by going through your trash and looking for bank statements and other important documents. A great way to prevent this is to enroll in eStatements for all of your most important financial accounts and remove the paper trail.
Another common way you can become a victim is by downloading malware or spyware on your desktop, laptop or mobile device. Malware is a type of malicious software designed to infiltrate a computer system without the operator's knowledge or consent. The malware is then used to capture any personal information entered into or located on the device where it is installed. The more information criminals can acquire about you, the easier it is for them to steal your identity.
Common Signs of Identity Theft
- Withdrawals from your bank account that you can't explain
- Inaccurate information on your credit report
- Not receiving your mail or bills
- Receiving credit cards that you did not apply for
- Receiving bills or calls from businesses for merchandise or services that you didn't buy
- Being denied credit or offered less favorable credit terms for no apparent reason.
Reduce your risk of becoming a victim of Identity Theft
- Protect your Social Security number – Never carry your Social Security card with you
- Protect your online passwords and PINs – Avoid using common personal information as your password and use different passwords for each online account in order to reduce the risk of multiple accounts being compromised
- Never download a file to your computer if you are unsure of what it does or who it's from
- Never give out personal information over the phone if you did not initiate the call, First Federal will never call you to ask for personal information
- Download an anti-virus/spyware program and keep it up to date
- Don't open emails from people you don't recognize, never reply to these messages, just delete them and never open any attachments in these emails.
- If an email or phone call offers something too good to be true, it most likely is.
- Monitor your financial accounts and billing statements regularly for any unusual activity
- Shred financial documents before you throw them away
- Review your credit report for free each year by visiting www.AnnualCreditReport.com
What to do if you are a victim of Identity Theft
If you suspect your personal information has been stolen or compromised you should take action immediately:
- Contact First Federal or any other affected account providers immediately. Close any accounts that may have been tampered with or opened fraudulently and place an alert on your credit report with the three major credit bureaus.
- Equifax: 1-888-766-0008
- Experian: 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
- File a report with local police.
- Notify the Federal Trade Commission by calling 877.ID.THEFT (877-438-4338) or visit their website at www.consumer.gov/idtheft.
- Report any stolen mail to the Postal Service at www.usps.com.
- Close all affected accounts
- Place a security freeze on your credit by visiting www.ncdoj.gov. This freeze will block all access to your credit unless you have given your permission to have new accounts opened.
- Download the ID Theft Victim Toolkit from North Carolina Department of Justice website.