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Identity theft can strike anyone. Protect yourself and your hard earned assets.

The FTC estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. In fact, you or someone you know may have experienced some form of identity theft. Identity thieves may rent an apartment, obtain a credit card, or establish a telephone account in your name. You may not find out about the theft until after it has already occurred.

While some identity theft victims resolve their problems quickly, others spend hundreds of dollars and countless hours repairing damage to their reputation and credit record.  Some consumers victimized by identity theft may lose out on job opportunities, or be denied loans for education, housing or cars.

In an effort to educate our customers on these concerns, we have posted some helpful information.

How/Why does fraud happen?

How do thieves get your personal information?

Skilled identity thieves use a variety of ways to gain access to your personal information. The following examples are ways thieves may attempt to steal your identity:
Dumpster Diving

They rummage through trash looking for bills or other paper with your personal information on it.

Skimming

They steal credit/deebit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card. Skimmers can be found anywhere credit/debit cards can be run including ATMs and self-pumps at gas stations.

Changing Your Address

They divert your billing statements to another location by completing a change of address form.

Old-Fashioned Stealing

They steal wallets and purses; mail, including bank and credit card statements; pre-approved credit offers; and new checks or tax information. They steal personnel records or bribe employees who have access.

Phishing

Phishing is fraudulent emails alleging to be from your bank or a similar trusted source that lures you to a copy cat website (one that may look just like your bank's site). Once there you are instructed to "verify" certain information, which is then used to hijack your accounts and your identity. If you receive a suspicious email, delete the message and call us to inform us of the email. Our phone number is 1.888.272.8866.

Smishing

This is very similar to "phishing". However, smishing is when an SMS text message is sent to a mobile phone. This text message will try to get you to give information including a name, date of birth, address, phone number, social security number, account number, password, etc. Citizens Security Bank will never send you a text message asking you to verify information. If this occurs or you have any questions, please contact us at 1.888.272.8866.

Pharming

Pharming is when computer hackers redirect a website to a false website that looks similar to the original. This false website will often ask for personal information such as passwords and credit card numbers. These hackers will use your information to access your bank account, steal your identity, or commit other fraud in your name. Please contact us if you notice any suspicious activity.

Pretext Calling

Pretext calling is when someone calls the bank and pretends to be a customer. They will provide certain information to retrieve more information including biographical and account information. The bank takes steps to prevent this, such as giving limited information over the phone. They will also only give information to those who have identified themselves correctly. For this reason, you should be very careful with personal information, PIN numbers, passwords, and so forth so that it does not end up in the wrong hands.

Keystroke Logging or Keylogging
Keylogging is a method by which fraudsters record your actual keystrokes and mouse clicks. Key loggers are "Trojan" software programs that can detect and copy any files opened on your computer, internet pages visited, information keyed in, and much more. Passwords and personal information can be stolen using this method. To protect yourself from fraudsters using keylogging, make sure your anti-virus and anti-spyware programs are valid and up to date.

What do thieves do with a stolen identity?

Once they have your personal information, identity thieves use it in a variety of ways.

Credit card fraud

  • They may open new credit card accounts in your name. When they use the cards and don't pay the bills, the delinquent accounts appear on your credit report.
  • They may change the billing address on your credit card so that you no longer receive bills, and then run up charges on your account. Because your bills are now sent to a different address, it may be some time before you realize there's a problem.

Phone or utilities fraud

  • They may open a new phone or wireless account in your name, or run up charges on your existing account.
  • They may use your name to get utility services like electricity, heating, or cable TV.

Bank/finance fraud

  • They may create counterfeit checks using your name or account number.
  • They may open a bank account in your name and write bad checks.
  • They may clone your ATM or debit card and make electronic withdrawals your name, draining your accounts.
  • They may take out a loan in your name.

Government documents fraud

  • They may get a driver's license or official ID card issued in your name but with their picture. 
  • They may use your name and Social Security number to get government benefits.
  • They may file a fraudulent tax return using your information.

Other fraud

  • They may get a job using your Social Security number.
  • They may rent a house or get medical services using your name.
    They may give your personal information to police during an arrest.
  • If they don't show up for their court date, a warrant for arrest is issued in your name.
What can I do?

Awareness is an effective weapon against many forms identity theft. Be aware of how information is stolen and what you can do to protect yours, monitor your personal information to uncover any problems quickly, and know what to do when you suspect your identity has been stolen.

Armed with the knowledge of how to protect yourself and take action, you can make identity thieves' jobs much more difficult. You can also help fight identity theft by educating your friends, family, and members of your community.

How can you tell if someone has stolen your information?

  • Failing to receive bills or other mail on time.
  • Receiving credit cards for which you did not apply.
  • Denial of credit for no apparent reason.
  • Receiving calls from debt collectors or companies about products or services you didn't buy.

Precautions you should take:

  • Carefully monitor te balances an statements of all your financial accounts.
  • Look for unexplained charges or withdrawals.
  • Place passwords on all of your financial accounts.
  • Limit the number of credit cards or other identifying information that you want to carry.
  • Tear or shred any identifying information before throwing it away. Don't forget pre-approved credit offers, charge receipts, checks and bank statements and insurance forms.
  • Update the virus protection software on your PC regularly; do not open files from strangers or companies you don't know.
  • Use a "wipe" utility program to overwrite the entire hard drive disposing of a computer.

Awareness is an effective weapon against many forms identity theft. Be aware of how information is stolen and what you can do to protect yours, monitor your personal information to uncover any problems quickly, and know what to do when you suspect your identity has been stolen.

Armed with the knowledge of how to protect yourself and take action, you can make identity thieves' jobs much more difficult. You can also help fight identity theft by educating your friends, family, and members of your community.

How does the bank protect me?

Please remember that Citizens Security Bank will never send an email or make a phone call prompting you for personal information such as account numbers, pin numbers, social security numbers, mother's maiden name, and so forth. If you do receive an unexpected email asking you for personal information, do not click on any links in the email. If you have received an email such as this, please notify us immediately at 888-272-8866.

What if I have been a victim of fraud?

If you find that you have been a victim of fraud and possible Identity Theft, the following steps should be taken:

  • Place a fraud alert on your credit report and review your credit reports. Credit reports may be requested for free from www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.
  • Contact your Bank and close accounts where information has been compromised and ask your Bank what further steps you need to take.
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission by going to their website www.ftc.gov/idtheft or call 1.877.ID-THEFT (438.4338).
  • File a "Miscellaneous Incidents" report at a police station where the identity theft occurred, and get a copy of the police report. It can help you deal with creditors who need proof of the crime.
  • In addition to these steps, further steps may need to be taken for specific types of fraud.

Reporting Check Fraud

Check fraud describes a number of activities including, but not limited to, counterfeiting, and forgery.If you are a victim of check fraud, it is in your best interest to immediately contact:

  • Check service companies- These companies gather information on returned checks and report that information to their customers. Visit TeleCheck website for forgery forms and reporting. TeleCheck® How to Report Check Fraud - by First Data
  • Chexsystems Inc. - ChexSystems Lost or Stolen Check Hotline 800.428.9623 (this alerts retailers and other banks to the missing checks or information.) You can also contact ChexSystems to order a copy of your consumer report, dispute any information you believe may be inaccurate or incomplete, and/or place a Consumer Reported Identity Theft Security Alert on your file.

Reporting a Phishing Scam

Remember, security tools such as PIN numbers and passwords help keep your transactions safe. Keep them private. Learn more about how to protect your personal and financial information at http://www.phishinginfo.org/.

  • If you provided account numbers, PINs or passwords to a phisher, notify the companies with which you have those accounts immediately.
  • Even if you were not victimized, you should report phishing to the company or agency that was being impersonated and to the National Consumers League's National Fraud Information Center, http://www.fraud.org/ or toll-free 800-876-7060. The TDD number is 202-835-0778.

Reporting a Lottery Scam that You Received Through the US Postal Service

  • Contact your local Post Office for any scam that you received through the US Postal Service
  • Or contact the US Postal Inspection Service at 1.888.877.7644.

Reporting Internet Crime

Internet crime complaints may be reported to http://www.ic3.gov/