What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information such as your Social Security Number, your credit card number, or your bank account number without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes.
How is your Identity Stolen?
Protecting our customers’ financial and personal information is a priority for Citizens and Champaign Banks. The following are ways for you to be aware of how your identity can be stolen and prepare yourself from being the next victim.
- Dumpster Diving: Rummaging through trash looking for receipts, bills, personal records, or other paper with personal and financial information on it.
- Skimming: Stealing credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing a bank card.
- Phishing: Pretending to be a bank or company and sending spam or pop-up messages to get the victim to reveal personal information.
- Changing your address: Diverting billing statements to another location by completing a change of address form.
- Theft: Stealing a wallet or purse; mail, including bank and credit card statements; Pre-approved credit offers; new checks or tax information. Also may involve stealing personnel records or bribing employees who have access to such records.
- Pre-texting: Attempts to use the phone to gain access to another’s account information by pretending to be the account holder or an authorized signer on the account.
Protecting your online Identity
Security is a primary concern for anyone using the Internet today and particularly for Web based financial transactions.
Protecting your ATM and Debit Cards
Identity thieves who steal ATM/Debit cards can purchase items online easily. Here are tips on how you can keep your cards safe.
- Select a Personal Identification Number (PIN) with care and do not share it with anyone. Choose a combination that’s easy to remember, but not one easily obtained by others i.e., your birth date, phone number or part of your address or Social Security number.
- When entering a PIN or calling card number, position yourself to shield the key pad so others cannot observe your number.
- Use common sense when using an ATM in an isolated area. Be aware of your surroundings and leave promptly after completing your transaction. Replace your ATM card and receipt in your wallet/purse when you are in a secure area, not at the ATM.
- If you regularly use a machine and notice new attachments or instructions, notify the owner of the ATM immediately. Do not attempt a transaction if you see anything suspicious.
- Do not attempt to use an ATM if you are at all uncomfortable about the location or persons in the area. If you have started a transaction, just press “cancel”, retrieve your card and leave the area.
- If using an ATM with a card-activated entry, make sure the door closes securely after you enter. Do not open the door for anyone who cannot activate it with their own card.
Protecting your Credit
Annual credit reports are a great way to keep track of your credit. You have the right to a free credit report from www.annualcreditreport.com or call 877-322-8228. The ONLY authorized source under federal law.
You may also request your free annual credit report by mailing the Annual Credit Report Request Form:
Annual Credit Report Request Service,
P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
This is a free service and secure but always keep the following in mind:
- Do not share financial information with anyone unless you know the person or organization.
- Never give information by phone unless you initiated the call.
- Protect your credit by monitoring it regularly.
Everyday Security Tips
Protecting your identity in public is important, but so is protecting it in your home. These everyday “around the house” tips may help protect your identity and your money.
REMINDER: Citizens and Champaign Banks will never request information via an email or ask you to click on a link to verify personal account data.
- Check “washers” can eliminate ink from a regular pen, but not from gel pens. Get in the habit of using a gel pen when writing checks.
- Use a shredder to safely dispose of any items (no longer required for your records) that include account numbers or ways to access your account such as financial solicitations and “checks” for cash advances on a credit card.
- Watch your mail! Do not place any bill payments in your mailbox for pick-up. Take your outgoing mail to the Post Office or use the Bill Pay feature of our NetTeller™.
- Don’t give personal financial information to anyone unless you know the person or organization. Never give this information over the phone unless YOU have initiated the call.
- Check your bills carefully and notify companies if you do not receive regular bills in a timely manner.
- Review bank and credit card statements promptly and report any unauthorized activity so the accounts can be closed.
- Protect your checking account number by storing checks in a safe place. Report lost or stolen Citizens Bank checks immediately by calling 1-800-604-9368.
- Keep a list of all credit/debit/ATM cards and bank account numbers, expiration dates, credit limits and customer service numbers. A photocopy of the front and back is a convenient record if you can easily read the numbers. Report a lost or stolen Citizens Bank Debit or ATM card by calling 1-800-604-9368.
- Receipts from purchases that have debit/credit card numbers should not be casually discarded. Keep your ATM receipts and check them against your account statement each month.
What to do if you fall victim?
In order to protect your identity, keep in mind all of the tips provided. Unfortunately, identity theft is real and if you believe that you have had your identity stolen, call 1-800-604-9368 to report the issue, and we can note your accounts.
To begin the identity theft reporting process, use the universal ID Theft Affidavit at www.ftc.gov/idtheft to have a fraud alert placed on your credit file. You may also call the Federal Trade Commission’s toll-free ID Theft Hotline at 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338) for more information.
We will be glad to help you open a new checking account as a result of suspected fraud. We will assist you in the transfer and provide a free box of basic checks for your new account.