Protect Your Identity

Widespread Telephone Phishing Scam

Beware! Cardholders may receive what appear to be automated phone calls or texts, telling them that their ATM/Debit cards are locked.

The automated message requests call recipients to “Press 1” where they are to enter their 16-digit card number into their telephone key pad. Once this is entered, the scammers are then requesting the card’s Personal Identification Number (PIN).  The scam artists are attempting to obtain customer card numbers and PINs in order to gain access to customer accounts via ATMs or POS (point of sale) purchases.

Financial institutions will not request card, account information or PIN numbers from cardholders over the phone.  In many cases, phishing scams, whether by phone or through emails, attempt to gain personal information from the call or email recipients such as:

  • First and Last Name
  • Debit Card or ATM Card Number
  • Debit or ATM Card Personal Identification Number (PIN)
  • Date of Birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Account Number and/or Account Type


Warning Signs of Identity Theft

Many times the warning signs for identity theft are not obvious. Some things to watch for:

  • Your monthly credit card and bank statements stop arriving.
  • You are denied credit for no apparent reason.
  • You start getting bills from companies you do not recognize.
  • Collection agencies start trying to collect on bills you do not owe.


Protect Your Personal Information

  • Never carry your Social Security Card, birth certificate or passport unless necessary.
  • Do not put your telephone number, drivers license number or address on a credit card sales receipt.
  • Social Security numbers or phone numbers should not be put on checks.
  • Identifying information should not be given over the phone or Internet to someone you do not know or on a cellular or cordless phone.
  • Shred all personal documents before placing them in the trash.


Financial Information

  • Get a credit report from the three national credit reporting agencies every year.
  • Keep your financial records out of site.
  • Check monthly credit card statements for charges you did not make.
  • Keep a list, in a safe place, of all credit cards and bank accounts including the account numbers, expiration dates and phone numbers.
  • Do not use your mothers maiden name as a password for accounts.
  • Carry only the credit cards you plan to use.
  • Shred financial or confidential information such as credit card pre-approvals, receipts etc.
  • Unless your mailbox is secure, mail payments at the Post Office and pick up new checks at the bank.
  • If you are not interested in pre-approved credit card offers, opt-out by calling 1-888-5-opt-out.


What to Do if You Become a Victim

Record Keeping
Be sure to keep records of all correspondence with creditors and government agencies you contact. Include the date and name of contact. Follow up all telephone contacts with a letter and keep a copy.

Notify all creditors and financial institutions, in writing and by phone, that your name and accounts have been used without your permission.

Local Law Enforcement
Immediately file a police or identity theft report with your local police. Provide them with as much documentation as possible. Get a copy of the report. This may be required by credit card companies, banks or credit reporting agencies.

Federal Law Enforcement
Report the crime to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC collects complaints about identity theft from consumers and stores them in a secure online database called the Consumer Sentinel that is available to law enforcement agencies worldwide.

Federal Trade Commission Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington D.C. 20580

Credit Reporting Agencies
Contact the fraud unit at one of the three national credit reporting agencies. They will notify the other agencies. Have a fraud alert put on your credit report to prevent new fraudulent accounts from being opened. Keep track of when the alert expires.

As an ID fraud victim, you are entitled to free copies of your credit report. Ask the three national agencies for a copy of your credit report every three months.


Credit Scores

Equifax 1-800-525-6285

Experian 1-888-397-3742

Trans Union 1-800-680-7289

Information provide by Call For Action, VISA, and CBM Credit Education Foundation, Inc.

Identity Theft Protection Products

Learn about Identity Theft Protection with Lifelock.

Consumer Alerts

FDIC Consumer Education The FDIC has an on-line tool  to help educate consumers on how to better protect their computers and themselves from identity theft, and steps to take if they have been victimized. The presentation, Don’t Be an On-Line Victim: How to Guard Against Internet Thieves and Electronic Scams, is on the FDIC’s website.

Internet Safety Alert Are you a safe internet user? You may be at risk if you answer “yes” to any of the following questions:

  1. Do you visit websites by clicking on links within an email?
  2. Do you reply to emails from companies or persons you are not familiar with?
  3. Have you received packages to hold or ship to someone you met on the internet?
  4. Have you been asked to cash checks and wire funds to an employer you met online?
  5. Would you cash checks or money orders received through an online transaction without first confirming their legitimacy?
  6. Would you provide your personal/banking information as a result of an email notification?

Don’t be an internet crime victim! 

Source: FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center


Consumer Fraud Reporting – Directory of Sample Lottery Scam Emails Here are some of the more common clues you will see in a lottery or sweepstakes scam email:

  1. Email notification. Real lotteries NEVER notify the winners.
  2. You didn’t buy a ticket. Then how could you win?
  3. Email address draw. There is no such thing as a “computer draw system” or “computer ballot draw”  of email addresses.
  4. Sent from free email account. The email is sent from a free email provider such as Yahoo, Hotmail, AIM, etc.
  5. Pay to collect winnings. You NEVER have to pay to collect winnings from a legitimate lottery. You pay taxes AFTER you receive the winnings.

Click here to see a directory of sample lottery scams.