You are in the best position to control the information that you choose to release, and thus you are in the best position to protect your personal information. The following safety tips are provided to assist you in protecting yourself from fraud.
Protecting Your Personal Information
- Carry only necessary identification. Do not carry your social security card with you.
- Take steps to reduce the amount of mail you receive that displays personal information.
- Be cautious when providing your Social Security Number. It’s okay to ask whether it is needed for the application or transaction.
- Check your credit report annually at a minimum.
- Never provide personal information over the phone or internet unless you have initiated the contact and have confirmed the business or person’s identity.
- Avoid leaving any personal information in your car.
- Shred unnecessary documents and eliminate as many paper documents containing your personal information as possible.
- Take your outgoing mail to the post office rather than using street-side mailboxes.
Protecting Your Bank Accounts
- Use online services to monitor your bank accounts regularly.
- Receive your paychecks, dividends and other reoccurring deposits directly into your account electronically.
- Purchase checks from a reputable company that provides security features within the check stock paper.
- Avoid preprinting personal identifiers on your checks (SSN, DL#, Personal phone numbers, etc).
- Store your checks securely and know who has access to them.
- Report suspicious activity immediately (lost, stolen or unauthorized use of checks or cards).
- Avoid writing down, carrying or sharing your online banking or card PIN (Personal Identification Number) with anyone. Memorize it or secure it at home.
- Choose passwords or PINs that are difficult for others to guess by not using personal information within the password such as address, phone number, SSN or date of birth. It is much more secure to use random information.
- Consider different passwords for each online account. Never “lend” your debit cards to others. You are responsible for transactions initiated from a card that was lent to someone else.
Protecting Yourself at the ATM
- Limit time spent at the machine.
- Protect your PIN and passwords — don't keep them in your wallet.
- Keep receipts and compare to monthly statement.
- Treat your ATM card like cash by always protecting it.
- Be aware of strangers when you enter or exit an ATM site. If you notice anything suspicious or unsafe, report it.
- Shield the ATM keypad with your hand or body while entering your PIN (Personal Identification Number).
- Put away your card and cash immediately after completing your transaction.
- Do not let strangers assist you with a malfunctioning ATM, exit to another ATM for use.
- Be extra cautious when using an ATM at night.
Protecting Your Credit Cards
- Sign your card when you receive it.
- Always take your credit card and your receipt back after every transaction and keep receipts in a secure place until you compare them to your credit card activity statement.
- Shred paper receipts and statements when you are finished verifying them.
- Use online services to receive, store and regularly monitor your credit card statements.
- Avoid writing down, carrying or sharing your credit card PIN (Personal Identification Number) with anyone. Memorize it or secure it at home.
- Make copies of all credit card information that you carry and secure it at home.
- Never provide your credit card information over the phone or internet unless you have initiated the contact and have confirmed the business or person’s identity.
- Never “lend” your credit cards to others. You are responsible for transactions initiated from a card that was lent to someone else.
- Check your credit report at least annually.
- The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FACT Act) by the Federal Trade Commission allows you to ask for and receive one free credit report every 12 months from each of the three major nationwide credit reporting agencies. You can get your free annual report at www.annualcreditreport.com. The Fraud Alert System by the Federal Trade Commission grants alerts on active military personnel's accounts.
Protecting Your Personal Computer:
- When conducting online business, make sure your browser's padlock is active. Make sure that this icon is in your browser - not on the page you are viewing.
- Secure sites have https:// in front of the web address.
- Don't allow Windows to remember your passwords.
- Log off completely after banking online.
- Clear your browser's cache and history after visiting any Hoosier Heartland State Bank website.
1. Know the Scams
- Phishing, Spoofing, Pop-up Fraud – types of online fraud used to obtain personal information.
- Trojan Horse – Virus that can record your keystrokes. It can live in an attachment or be accessed via a link in the email, website or pop-up window.
- Counterfeit Websites – URLs that forward you to a fraudulent site. To validate a URL, you can type or cut and paste the URL into a new web browser window and if it does not take you to a legitimate web site or you get an error message, it was probably just a cover for a fraudulent web site.
2. Activate a pop-up window blocker.
There are free programs available online that will block pop-up windows. Be sure to perform an Internet search for “pop-up blocker” or look at the options provided by major search engines. You will need to confirm that these programs are from legitimate companies before downloading. Once you have installed a pop-up blocker, you should determine if it blocks information that you need to view or access. If this is the case, you should consider turning off the blocker when you are on Web sites you know use pop-up windows to provide information you need or want to view.
3. Scan your computer for spyware regularly.
You can eliminate potentially risky pop-up windows by removing any spyware or adware installed on your computer. Spyware and adware are programs that look in on your Web viewing activity and potentially relay information to a disreputable source. Perform an Internet search for “spyware” or “adware” to find free spyware removal programs. As with any pop-up blocker, you will want to be sure that your removal program is not blocking, or removing, wanted items. If it is, consider turning it off for some websites.
4. Avoid downloading programs from unknown sources.
Downloads may contain hidden programs that can compromise your computer’s security. Likewise, email attachments from unknown senders may contain harmful viruses.
5. Keep your computer operating system and Internet browser current.
6. Keep anti-virus software up-to-date.
Anti-virus software needs frequent updates to guard against new viruses. Select a reputable provider. Download the anti-virus updates as soon as you are notified that a new program update or flag your program to download and install the up dates automatically if that option is available.
7. Keep your passwords secret.
Change your passwords regularly, using a mixture of numbers and characters.
Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions (FACT) Act of 2003
The FACT Act is an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which regulates credit reporting agencies. This new law will be an important tool for consumers in the fight against identity theft.
Key information includes:
- Question suspicious emails - Do not open emails from senders you do not recognize. Hoosier Heartland State Bank will never send you an email asking for your online identification or password/passcode. Also, never open email attachments that have file endings of .xe, .pif or .vbs. because these are file extensions for executables, and are commonly dangerous files.
- Consumers will be able to receive a free copy of their credit report from all three credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, Equifax) once a year.
- Consumers may receive additional free credit reports if identity theft is suspected.
- Identity theft victims will only have to make one call to receive advice, set off a nationwide fraud alert and protect their credit rating.
- Identity theft victims who file police reports will be able to block fraudulent information from appearing on their credit reports.
- Identity theft victims will have access to business records that list an identity thief's fraudulent transactions.
- Credit reporting agencies must ensure that all credit requests are legitimate after a credit report has been flagged for suspected identity theft.
- Active duty military personnel may place special alerts on their files when they are deployed overseas.
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281