Protect Yourself From Identity Theft
Identity theft is the fraudulent acquisition and use of a person’s private identifying information often for financial gain. Identity theft using the Internet to try to obtain financial or other confidential information is referred to as "phishing." After obtaining your private information the identity thief can easily take out loans, obtain credit cards and even a driver’s license in the victim’s name. This is a criminal activity that can damage the victim’s credit history, financial credibility and personal reputation.
How can you minimize the chance of becoming a victim of identity theft?
- Don’t carry your Social Security card or any documents containing your Social Security Number (SSN).
- Don’t give a business your SSN just because they ask. Ask why it’s needed and how it will be used and only if it is absolutely necessary.
- When traveling, work with your financial institution to let them know and ensure they have current contact information for you.
- Do not use ATMs or POS (point of service) systems that appear to be tampered with or broken. Also, do not write your PIN on your card and do not "loan" your card to another user.
- Protect your financial information. When shopping online, do not store your login credentials on your debit/credit card information on websites.
- Check your credit report at least once every 12 months.
- Secure personal information kept in your home.
- Change passwords for Internet accounts frequently. Also, make sure they are secure, complex ones that are difficult to guess.
- Protect personal computers by using firewalls, anti-spam/virus software and security software.
- Don’t give out personal information over the phone, through the mail or online unless you have initiated the contact or you’re sure you know who is asking.
- Review account statements regularly to ensure all charges are correct.
- If your account statement is late or does not arrive at all, call Ulster Savings Bank to find out why. Since we offer electronic banking, check your account activity online regularly to monitor suspicious activity.
What should I do if I become a victim of identity theft?
- Contact Ulster Savings Bank at 866-440-0391 immediately and alert us to the situation.
- Close compromised and/or fraudulent accounts. Call the security or fraud department of each company or financial institution.
- It is important to notify credit card companies and financial institutions in writing. Send your letters and supporting documents by certified mail with a return receipt requested. This way you can document when and what the company received. Keep copies of your correspondence and enclosures.
- Report all suspicious contacts to the Federal Trade Commission via their website or call: 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338).
- Check with your State Attorney General’s office to find out if state law requires the police to process identity theft reports. Check the Government Listings section of your telephone directory for the phone number, or check www.naag.org for a list of State Attorneys General.
- If possible, file a police report with your local police or police in the community where the identity theft took place. Obtain a copy of the police report or the report number. It can help you deal with creditors who need proof of the crime.