Identity theft occurs when someone acquires your personal information and uses it without your knowledge to commit fraud or theft. It is a serious crime and cases are growing. An all-too-common example is when an identity thief uses your personal information to open a credit card account in your name.
No matter how cautious you are, there is no way to completely prevent identity theft from occurring. But there are ways you can help minimize your risk. It’s always smart to stay informed on the latest tips and solutions. This page contains valuable information on how you can protect yourself by managing your personal information wisely, the warning signs of identity theft, and what to do if you do become a victim.
- Keep your computer up-to-date with the latest software installations, browser updates, and firewalls. This ensures you’re working with the most modern security features and aren’t leaving your information vulnerable to an attack.
- Password protect both your phone and computer in case you lose either or an unauthorized person tries to access your device.
- Don't give your social security number or other personal credit information on the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you've initiated the contact or are sure you know whom you're dealing with.
- Don't carry your Social Security card with you; leave it in a secure place. Carry only the identification and credit and debit cards that you need.
- Don't put your address, phone number, or driver’s license number on credit card sales receipts.
- Social Security numbers or phone numbers should not be put on your checks.
- Shred your credit card receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, checks and bank statements, expired credit cards that you're discarding, and credit offers you get in the mail.
- Don’t share your personal information with anyone including usernames, passwords, and account numbers.
- Secure your credit card, bank, and phone accounts with passwords. Avoid using easily available information like birth date, the last four digits of your SSN, or your phone number. When opening new accounts, you may find that many businesses still have a line on their applications for your mother's maiden name. Use a password instead.
- Secure personal information in your home, particularly if you have roommates or hire outside help.
- Promptly remove mail from your mailbox. If you're planning to be away from home and can't pick up your mail, call the U.S. Postal Service at 1-800-275-8777 to request a vacation hold.
- Avoid using public WiFi when using online banking and logout every time you exit the site. Only connect to your account over a secure network to avoid mobile hackers.
- If an email seems suspicious, don’t click on any attachments or links and simply delete it or report it to your email provider.
- If the email says it’s from the Bank and concerns you, immediately contact your banker and do not reply or click on anything.
- Ask about information security procedures in your workplace. Find out who has access to your personal information and verify that records are kept in a secure location. Ask about the disposal procedures for those records as well.
- Before revealing any personally identifying information (for example, on an application), find out how it will be used and secured, and whether it will be shared with others. Ask if you have a choice about the use of your information. Can you choose to have it kept confidential?
- Only keep essential credit and debit cards and IDs in your wallet and never write your PIN number down.
- If you receive an email offer that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Be wary of any stranger contacting you about money or prizes to claim. This is almost always a scam.
- Only download the Bank’s mobile banking app from the official app store. Don’t download any other apps that claim to be for banking but aren’t legitimate.
- Phishing (pronounced “fishing”) is a scam to send emails that appear to be from a real source, but are actually fishing for personal information. These false emails can be disguised as coming from the Bank, the IRS, or any retailer. If you suspect an email is phishing for your information, delete it and notify your banker as soon as possible.
- Always know Itasca Bank & Trust Co. will never ask you over the phone or by email for confidential information such as your Social Security number, user ID, password, or PIN number.
Federal Trade Commission
For comprehensive information on general consumer interests, policies, issues and consumer protection, visit the website of the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov.
For additional information including practical guidance on how to become a smarter, safer user of financial services, see FDIC Consumer News, provided by the FDIC.