Alliance Community Bank recommends that consumers follow these simple guidelines in order to prevent fraud and protect their identity.
The following tips can help lower your risk of becoming a victim of identity theft:
Protect your Social Security number. Don't carry your Social Security card or other forms of identification that show reveal your Social Security number.
Use strong passwords that are hard to guess.
Use firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware software that you update regularly.
Download software only from sites you know and trust and only after reading all the terms and conditions.
Don't click on links in pop-up windows or in spam e-mail.
Ask questions whenever you are asked for personal information that seems inappropriate for the transaction. Ask how the information will be used and if it will be shared. Ask how it will be protected. If you're not satisfied with the answers, don't give your personal information.
Banks will not ask you to verify your personal account information over the phone or via e-mail if they initiated the call. They already have that on file. If you receive a phone call or e-mail asking you to verify such information, don't respond. Instead, contact the bank directly.
Shred or destroy papers containing your personal information. Pay especially close attention to credit card offers and convenience checks that you don't use. Failure to dispose of personal information properly may result in identity theft.
Retrieve your postal mail promptly, and discontinue delivery while you're out of town.
Whenever possible, mail bills from your post office, not your mail box.Stop or reduce junk mail or unsolicited credit card offers by visiting the National Credit Bureau's opt out website at: www.optoutprescreen.com or call them at (888) 567-8688.
Open your bills and bank statements right away. Check carefully for any unauthorized charges or withdrawals and report them immediately.
Call if bills don't arrive on time-it may mean that someone has changed contact information to hide fraudulent charges.
Check your credit reports.
Review your credit report at least once a year. Check for changed addresses and fraudulent charges. To find out more about credit reports, your rights as a consumer, access the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the FACT Act at www.ftc.gov/credit
Before you get rid of an old computer, make sure you destroy the information on the hard drive. Often that means destroying the drive itself because erasing data doesn't completely eliminate it. Otherwise look for software tools that will completely wipe data from the hard drive.
Refrain from disclosing personal information. As a general rule, don't disclose personal information over the phone, through the mail, or on the Internet unless you know who you're dealing with and preferably only if you've initiated the contact.
Don't put personal information in the public domain. Posting information such as your birth year, mother's maiden name or other information on public social media sites can be used by hackers to decipher your passwords. Be discretionary when posting this type of information and always consider its availability when creating your passwords and challenge questions.
Some signs that you may be a victim of Identity theft are:
Accounts you didn't open and debts on your accounts that you can't explain.
Fraudulent or inaccurate information on your credit reports. Pay close attention to personal information, such as your Social Security number, address, name or initials, and employers.
Failing to receive bills or other mail. Follow up with creditors if your bills don't arrive on time. A missing bill could mean an identity thief has taken over your account and changed your billing address to cover his tracks.
Receiving credit cards that you didn't apply for.
Being denied credit or being offered less favorable credit terms, like a high interest rate, for no apparent reason.
Getting calls or letters from debt collectors or businesses about merchandise or services you didn't buy.
If you find you have been a victim of Identity Theft or Fraud, Alliance Community Bank recommends you follow these steps:
Immediately report the ID Theft to Alliance Community Bank and your local Police Department.
Contact Credit Reporting Agencies and place a “Fraud Alert” on your credit reports. Placing these alerts will stop unauthorized users from opening new accounts in your name and will also entitle you to free copies of your credit reports. The three nationwide agencies are:
- TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
- Experian: 1-888-397-3742
- Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission.
By phone: 1-877-438-4338
Common Fraud Methods
Phishing – Phishing is an e-mail sent by a criminal that is made to look like a legitimate e-mail from a Financial Institution or other highly recognized agency such as the FDIC, IRS or FBI. Many times these messages contain links that when followed are designed to gather proprietary information from the unsuspecting user.
Some of the common traits of Phishing emails are:
High Priority messages claiming your account needs immediate attention or verification. Normally this message will contain a link to a fictitious verification site where the scammers will gather any information you enter.
Email requesting you verify your Internet Banking Username and Password. Remember, Alliance Community Bank will NEVER request this information.
More times than not Phishing emails originate in foreign countries so be aware of misspellings and poor grammar.
Vishing - Vishing is normally executed by leaving an automated voice recording with a prospective victim alerting them to unusual or suspicious activity on their account or debit card. The message instructs the consumer to call the same phone number shown in the spoofed caller ID with the same name as the financial company they are pretending to represent.
Rather than provide any information, you should contact Alliance Community Bank immediately at (217)632-3241, to verify the validity of the message.
SMShing - SMShing is a social engineering technique, much like Phishing, that is propagated on mobile phones via SMS (Short Message Service) text message. As with phishing, please do not divulge any personal information and contact Alliance Community Bank immediately at (217)632-3241.
Skimming – Skimming is the process of stealing credit or debit cards by using a special storage device to swipe information when processing your card. Sterling Savings Bank