Your Security is important to us at People’s Bank. We want to educate and provide you with tools and resources that will assist you in preventing identity theft.
To minimize the chances that you fall victim to identity theft and financial fraud, it is vital that you recognize the various types of fraud and learn how to protect yourself against them. The following information will help you safeguard your identity and protect your financial assets from fraud. Identity theft is more extensive than fraud, which is usually limited to an isolated attempt to steal money from an existing account. Fraud and identity theft can be easily confused.
What is Identity Theft?
The crime of identity theft occurs when someone, without your knowledge, acquires a piece of your personal information and uses it to commit fraud. Personal information such as your social security number, bank account number, or other identification, and uses it repeatedly to open new accounts or initiate transactions in your name. For example, someone might do a combination of the following: open new credit cards, open new bank accounts, forge checks, and even apply for loans using your name and personal information. This can cause financial loss and damage your credit, which can lead to a lengthy resolution process.
Keep in mind however, that even if you think your security has been compromised it does not automatically mean that you are a victim of identity theft. It might be an incorrect entry or an isolated incident of theft from your account that is quickly resolved by calling People’s Bank at 866.454.4735.
How does Identity Theft happen?
Identity theft is portrayed as a high-tech crime affecting only those people who shop, communicate, or do business online. However, while thieves can obtain personal information via online methods, the majority of identity theft occurs offline. Stealing wallets and purses, intercepting or rerouting your mail, and rummaging through your garbage are some of the common tactics that thieves can use to obtain personal information. The good news is that the more information you have on identity theft the better your defense.
What is “Phishing”?
Phishing (pronounced “fishing”) is a form of online scam where “phishers” attempt to gain customer account information such as user names, passwords, PINs (personal identification numbers), or social security numbers. This is accomplished by creating official looking emails with pop-ups or links that appear to be from your bank, online retailer, or government agency. These deceptive communications are the tools the “phishers” use to attempt to gain your confidential information.
How does “Phishing” work?
These phony emails often use phrases such as “your account may have been compromised”, “your account is in violation”, “we need you to verify your account information” and other variations. These emails will then usually offer a link where you can access your account to prevent adverse actions such as account closure or a freeze on an account’s assets. These links will then connect you to a site that will often look identical to the business site the email refers to. These sites, however, are forgeries created to trick users into logging into the sites with their genuine user ID and password. Once the “phishers” have obtained this information, they can then go to the real website and transfer, withdraw, or redirect the funds to another location. Then when the customer logs into their account again (on the real business website) they are surprised to find all of their assets are gone. In addition to loss of funds, there can also be adverse credit affects which may take weeks or months to resolve.
How can I protect myself from “Phishing” attacks?
The most important thing to remember is that no reputable business will send you an email requesting your personal account information. Any email you receive asking for this information should be considered phony and brought to the attention of the business being “phished”. Another way to further protect yourself is to keep your Operating System and Internet Browser software up to date. “Phishers” often use software vulnerabilities to further mask their appearance on their fake websites. Also, antivirus software can often detect methods used by “phishers” attempting to steal your information. But it is imperative that your antivirus software be updated as frequently as possible. Finally, if you are unsure as to whether or not an email or message is legitimate, call the company directly. This will ensure that you are speaking with a representative of that company and that your personal information will not be compromised.
What is “Spoofing”?
Spoofing is pretending to be something it is not, on the Internet, usually an e-mail or a Web site.
What if you downloaded a Virus or “Trojan Horse”?
Some phishing attacks use viruses and/or “Trojan Horses” to install programs called “Key logger” on your computer. These programs capture and send out any information that you type to the phisher, including credit card numbers, user names and passwords, social security numbers, etc. If this happens, it is likely you may not be aware of it until you notice unusual transactions on your account.
To minimize this risk, you should:
- Install and/or update anti-virus and personal firewall software. (Several products are available online or through computer retail stores).
- Update your anti-virus programs often and all virus definitions and run a full scan.
- If your system appears to have been compromised, repair it, and then change your password again, since you may have transmitted the new one to the hacker.
- Check your other accounts. eBay account, PayPal, your e-mail ISP, online bank accounts, online trading accounts and other e-commerce accounts, and everything else for which you use online passwords, to ensure they remain secure and have not been compromised by unauthorized access.
What is “Skimming” (ATM Tampering)?
Thieves tamper with ATMs by using a special storage device, which steals credit/debit card numbers when processing your card.
Other Forms of Identity Theft
- Stealing checking/savings account statements, credit card statements, preapproved credit offers, new checks, and tax information from your mailbox.
- Obtaining your credit report by posing as your landlord, employer, or someone else who may have a right to such information.
- Stealing wallets or purses.
- Imprinting your credit or debit card, or swiping it on a skimming device, while the card is out of your sight at a restaurant or retail establishment.
- Completing “change of address” forms to send your mail to another address.
- Hacking into retail store’s computer system and collecting debit or credit card information, such as card and PIN numbers.
How can I protect myself?
- Do not open or respond to online solicitations or phone calls asking for personal information. People’s Bank will never require customers to send personal information via e-mail or pop-up windows.
- If you initiate an online transaction and are required to provide personal data, look for indicators that the Web site is secure, like the “https” in the URL or padlock icon.
- Carry only necessary identification. In particular, do not carry your social security card.
- When a social security number is requested to sign up for a service, confirm that it is actually needed rather than some other identifier. Make photocopies of all the information you carry daily, and store them in a secure location like a safety deposit box.
- Shred financial or personal documents before discarding. Most fraud and identity theft incidents happen as a result of mail and garbage theft.
- Do not let your debit card out of sight when purchasing goods and services. Debit cards pose a greater risk because they are associated with your checking account.
- Checking your account balances and transactions online can help you regularly monitor your account activity and more quickly detect any fraudulent transactions.
- Do not use an obvious password like your birth date, your mother’s maiden name, or the last four digits of your Social security number. Change your passwords frequently.
- People’s Bank may force password changes on electronic products.
- Always put outgoing mail in a U.S. Postal Service mailbox, which is more secure than your home mailbox.
- Collect your mail promptly each day.
To report a suspicious email that uses the People’s Bank name, forward it to us immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org