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Identity Theft Info
What is Identity (ID) Theft?
Identity theft occurs when an unauthorized party uses your personally identifying information, such as your name, address, Social Security Number (SSN), or credit card or bank account information to assume your identity in order to commit fraud or other criminal acts.
How does identity theft occur?
Identity thieves can steal your personal information directly or indirectly by:
- Stealing your wallets and purses containing identification cards, credit cards and bank information.
- Stealing your mail including credit and bank statements, phone or utility bills, new checks, and tax information.
- Completing a "change of address form" to redirect the destination of your mail.
- Rummaging through your trash for discarded personal data in a practice known as "dumpster diving."
- Taking personal information that you share or post on the Internet.
What can ID thieves do with your information?
- Call your creditors and change your mailing address on your credit card account.
- Open new lines of credit using your personal identification information.
- Establish phone services using your name which are charged to you.
- Open bank accounts in your name and write bad checks.
- Forge checks to wipe out your bank account.
- Apply for auto loans taken out in your name.
- Commit other crimes and then give your name, instead of their own, to the police during their arrest.
What you can you do to prevent ID theft?
Identity theft is on the rise. While there are no guarantees that your identity will not be stolen there are steps you can take to minimize your risk.
- Use passwords on all your credit card, bank, and phone accounts.
- Never keep passwords, "PINs" or your SSN card in your wallet or purse.
- Learn about security procedures in your workplace.
- Never give out personal information on the phone, through mail, or over the internet unless you know the receiver and have initiated the contact.
- Guard your mail and trash from theft.
- Shred or destroy discarded financial statements in your trash.
- Give your SSN only when absolutely necessary.
- Keep your purse or wallet in a safe place at work.
How can you protect your personal computer from ID theft?
SSNs, financial records, tax information, birth dates, and account numbers may be stored on your personal computer.
Follow these tips to help keep your personal information safe.
- Update your virus protection software regularly, especially when a new virus alert is brought to your attention.
- Do not download files from strangers or click hyperlinks from people you don't know. This could expose your system to a virus.
- Use a firewall program. This will stop uninvited guests from accessing your computer.
- Use a secure browser to guard the security of your online transactions.
What do you do if you are a victim?
1. Contact the fraud departments of each of the three major credit bureaus and request that they place a fraud alert and a victim's statement in your file. The fraud alert puts creditors on notice that you have been the victim of fraud, and the victim's statement asks them not to open additional accounts without first contacting you.
You may request a free copy of your credit report. Credit bureaus must now provide one free copy of your report each year, if you have reason to believe the report is inaccurate because of fraud and you submit a request in writing.
The following are the telephone numbers for the fraud departments of the three national credit bureaus:
Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289
2. Close the accounts that you know or believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Contact any bank or other creditor where you have an account that you think may be the subject of identity theft. Advise them of the suspected identity theft. Request that they restrict access to your account, change your account password, or close your account, if there is evidence that your account has been the target of criminal activity. If your bank closes your account and opens a new one, ask them to issue you a new ATM card, debit card, or checks, as appropriate.
3. File a police report with your local police and/or the police in the community where the identity theft took place.
Phishing and Spoofing
At Maple City Savings Bank, Information Security is our number one priority!
You will never be asked to furnish your account information to us via an email or any other electronic means. If you are ever asked to furnish any personal information via email, please ignore the request and delete the email and contact the bank immediately.
Phishing and Spoofing
The first documented use of the word "phishing" took place in 1996. Most people believe it originated as an alternative spelling of "fishing," as in "to fish for information" [source: Next Generation Security Software].
Phishing is the act of sending an e-mail to a user falsely claiming to be an established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft. The e-mail directs the user to visit a Web site where they are asked to update personal information, such as passwords and credit card, social security, and bank account numbers, that the legitimate organization already has. The Web site, however, is bogus and set up only to steal the user's information.
If you receive an e-mail that looks like it is from Maple City Savings Bank or another well-known company requesting financial information or any other personal or sensitive data, please take the following actions:
- Treat the e-mail with suspicion.
- Do not reply to the e-mail or respond by clicking on a link within the e-mail message.
- Do not download anything or open attachments.
- Report the suspicious e-mail to the FTC and forward the e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have already provided personal financial information via e-mail and feel that your Maple City Savings Bank accounts are in jeopardy, contact Maple City Savings Customer Service as soon as possible to report the suspicious activity. You can reach Customer Service by calling 1-607-324-1822 or via email at email@example.com.
Counterfeit websites (spoofing)
Online thieves often direct you to fraudulent websites via email and pop-up windows and try to collect your personal information. In many cases there is no easy way to determine that you are on a phony website because the URL will contain the name of the institution--this is spoofing. If you type or copy/paste the URL into a new browser window and it does not take you to a legitimate website, or you get an error message, it was probably just a cover for the fake site.
Another way to detect a phony Web site is to consider how you arrived there.
Maple City Savings Bank, FSB will not request personal information from you via email and any unsolicited request should be considered fraudulent and be reported immediately.
Beware of Ransomware
The FBI has recently warned that ransomware attacks are on the rise.
Over the last year, ransomware incidents have dramatically increased among businesses and consumers alike. Earlier in May, it was reported that even the U.S. House of Representatives had been a victim.
So what exactly is it?
Ransomware is a type of malware that accesses your files, locks and encrypts them and then forces victims to pay a ransom to get those files back. Users typically become victims when they click on an attachment or link that appears legitimate, such as an invoice or electronic fax, but which actually contains the ransomware code. Think of it as the "digital kidnapping" of your most valuable data – from personal photos and memories to client information, financial records and intellectual property. Consumers, hospitals, school districts, state and local governments, law enforcement agencies, small businesses and large businesses are all potential ransomware targets.
"As cybercriminals become more cunning and sophisticated, we must become more vigilant about basic digital hygiene and protecting our data and devices – including smartphones and tablets. There are simple things everyone can do like keeping all software updated, turning on two-factor authentication, backing up data in the cloud or other removable media and making strong passwords," said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA).
Email and social posts and even texts remain the primary ways cybercriminals are infiltrating computer networks. Therefore, NCSA strongly urges all Internet users to be very cautious about clicking on any sort of link or attachment that looks suspicious.
Cybersecurity is about resisting and preventing attacks and also being able to recover as quickly as possible after a cyber incident. In the case of ransomware, having a back up that can restore an impacted system is a primary defense as well as a pathway to resuming normal operations as soon as possible.
We can help protect ourselves against ransomware and other malicious attacks by following these STOP. THINK. CONNECT. tips:
Keep all machines clean. Immediately update all software on every Internet-connected device. All critical software including PCs and mobile operating systems, security software and other frequently used software and apps should be running the most current versions.
Get two steps ahead and protect core accounts such as email, financial services and social networks with two-factor authentication (also known as two-step verification or multi-factor authentication). Two-step authentication requires a second step, such as a text message to a phone or the swipe of a finger to be used in addition to a password to log on to an account. Visit stopthinkconnect.org/2stepsahead to learn more and view a list of the websites that offer two-factor authentication.
Back it up: Make sure you have a recent and securely stored back up of all critical data.
Make better passwords: A strong password is a sentence that is at least 12 characters long. Focus on positive sentences or phrases that you like to think about and are easy to remember.
When in doubt, throw it out: Links in email, tweets, posts and online advertising are often how cybercriminals try to steal your personal information. Even if you know the source, if something looks suspicious, delete it.
Plug & scan: USBs and other external devices can be infected by viruses and malware. Use your security software to scan them.
To learn more about ransomware and malware and how to protect yourself, visit:
National Cyber Security Alliance: staysafeonline.org
Microsoft Malware Protection Center
FBI Ransomware Brochure
Symantec: Ransomware Do's and Don't's
If you receive a suspicious email that uses Maple City Savings Bank's name, forward it to us immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org.