Avoid Identity Theft

Notice to Our Customers:

Please do not send any confidential information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, Driver License numbers, passwords, etc. via unsecured e-mail. Unsecured e-mail is not a secure means of communication. 

Tips for Safeguarding Your Information

Identity Theft occurs when a criminal uses another person's personal information to take on that person's identity. Criminals then use key pieces of information such as Social Security and driver's license numbers to obtain credit, merchandise and services in the name of the victim. The victim is left with a ruined credit history and the time-consuming and complicated task of regaining financial health.

While you probably can't prevent identity theft entirely, you can minimize your risk. By managing your personal information wisely, cautiously and with an awareness of the issue, you can help guard against Identity Theft.

  • Don't give your Social Security number or other personal information over the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you've initiated the contact or are sure you know who you're dealing with.
  • Guard your trash from theft. Tear or shred receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, checks and bank statements, expired charge cards, and credit offers you get in the mail.
  • Secure personal information in your home.
  • Don't carry your Social Security Number card; leave it in a secure place. Don't put your Social Security Number or drivers license number on your checks.
  • Give your Social Security Number only when necessary. Ask to use other types of identifiers when possible.
  • Ask about information security procedures in your workplace. Find out who has access to your personal information.
  • Guard your mail from theft. Deposit outgoing mail in secured mailboxes. Promptly remove your mail from your mailbox.
  • Notify your credit-card company if your card has expired and you have not yet received a replacement.
  • Carry only the identification information and the number of credit and debit cards that you'll actually need.
  • Protect your PINs and other passwords. Avoid using easily available information, such as your birth date, the last four digits of your Social Security number, your phone number, etc. 
  • Pay attention to your billing cycles. Follow up with creditors if your bills don't arrive on time.
  • Scrutinize monthly billing statements. Open bills promptly and check your accounts monthly. Look for charges you don't recognize and report them immediately. Save receipts to compare with your billing statements.
  • Keep your eyes on your credit card during all transactions and get it back as soon as possible.
  • Keep a record of all your credit card account numbers, expiration dates and the telephone numbers and addresses of each creditor. Store in a safe place.
  • Be wary of promotional scams. Identity thieves may use phony offers to get you to give them your personal information.
  • Keep your purse or wallet in a safe place at work.
  • Try not to divulge personal information over a cell phone; they are not as secure as you may think.
  • Review your monthly accounts regularly for any unauthorized charges.
  • Place passwords or PIN numbers for your credit cards, bank debit/ATM card and phone accounts in a safe place. DO NOT write them on the cards. Protect your PINs and passwords (don't carry them in your wallet!) Use a combination of letters and numbers for your passwords and change them periodically.
  • Limit the amount of information you place on your Internet homepage and websites detailing family genealogy.
  • Choose to do business with companies you know are reputable, particularly online.
  • Use a secure browser – software for your computer that encrypts or scrambles information you send over the Internet – to guard the security of your online transactions. When conducting business online, make sure your browser's padlock or key icon is active.
  • Don't open e-mail from unknown sources, and use virus detection software. Update this software regularly, or when a new virus alert is announced.
  • Use a firewall program on your computer, especially if you use a high-speed Internet connection like cable, DSL or T-1, which leaves your computer connected to the Internet 24 hours a day.
  • Try not to store personal/financial information on your laptop computer unless absolutely necessary. If you do, use a strong password – a combination of letters (upper and lower case), numbers and symbols.
  • Before you dispose of any computer, delete personal information. Deleting files using the keyboard or mouse commands may not be enough. Use a "wipe" utility program to overwrite the entire hard drive.
  • Look for website privacy policies. If you don't see a privacy policy, consider surfing elsewhere.
  • Order copies of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once a year to ensure that they are accurate. Each of the three national credit-reporting agencies may contain different aspects of your credit history. Contact each of the agencies, or you may receive one free credit report per year from the Annual Credit Report Service.
    AnnualCreditReport.com 1-877-322-8228 www.annualcreditreport.com
    Equifax  1-800-685-1111 www.equifax.com
    Experian 1-800-311-4769 www.experian.com
    TransUnion 1-800-916-8800 www.transunion.com
  • Report any suspected fraud to your bank and the fraud units of the three credit reporting agencies immediately. The fraud unit numbers are:

TransUnion  1-800-680-7289
 Experian 1-888-397-3742
 Equifax 1-800-525-6285


  • You may also contact the FTC's ID Theft Consumer Response Center at (877) IDTHEFT (438-4338) or visit their Identity Theft Website at www.ftc.gov/idtheft
  • If you prefer not to recieve preapproved offers of credit, you can opt out of such offers by calling 1-888-5-OPT-OUT [1-888-567-8688].
  • If you want to remove your name from many national direct mail lists, send your name and address to:

DMA Mail Preference Services

PO Box 9008

Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008

  • If you want to reduce the number of telephone solicitations from many national marketers, send your name, address, and telephone number to:

DMA Telephone Preference Service

PO Box 9014

Farmingdale, NY 11735-9014

Tips for Safeguarding Your Business' Information

  • Identity theft is not something that just happens to consumers. Businesses are victims as well. According the U. S. Postal Inspection Service, corporations lose millions of dollars every year from computer crime and credit card fraud that link to identity theft. The main thrust of identity thieves is to obtain key pieces of victims' identity - name, address, date of birth, social security number, and mother's maiden name - in order to impersonate them. Businesses need to protect this key information not only for their customers, but for their employees as well. The Better Business Bureau suggests that businesses take the following proactive steps to avoid identity theft:
  • Develop a process to screen employees who have access to personal information, even if they are part-time.
  • Screen the cleaning service and temporary firms you use.
  • Keep all personal information in locked files, and establish secure procedures for data services.
  • Limit use of personal identifiers. Use an alternative number and means of identification instead of social security number.
  • Encrypt all personal and confidential information on computers. Make sure your systems administrator checks on a regular basis that your system is hacker-proof.
  • Consider placing photos on your business cards, employee identification cards and badges. This avoids the problem of an imposter "borrowing" business cards and using them to pose as the victim.
  • Adopt secure methods for disposing of personal information, such as using shredders.
  • Instruct staff on security procedures when sending personal information by fax, including using a confidential cover and double-checking the fax number.
  • Do not leave personal or confidential information on voice mail, pagers, cellular phones or email. These are not reliable ways to transmit sensitive messages.
  • Use designated and secure printers and copiers for personal information. Keep shredders nearby.
  • Adopt a written protection policy and display it in your company literature and web site.
  • Rethink what type of information you really need from customers and employees versus the information you currently gather. In this case, less is better. Limit data collection to information necessary to the purpose, not information you might use later. 
  • For more information on identity theft visit IdentityTheft.gov


Mobile Banking Security Tips

Protect your personal information by ensuring your mobile device maintains a PIN, secure password, fingerprint, or the highest level of similar security setting your phone is capable of. Enable automatic screen lock for when your phone is not in use.

  • Once your session is complete, log out of mobile banking before closing the app.
  • Do not share personal and financial information via email, text or phone. Social Security number, birthdate, passwords and account numbers should be kept private and never stored on your mobile device.
  • Delete security codes and message alerts you may receive via text from your financial institution. If you change your mobile phone number, be sure to update your online banking profile to protect sensitive message alerts.
  • Report a lost or stolen device. Contact your financial institution immediately to update your information. You can also log in and remove the old device from your online banking profile.
  • Use caution when downloading banking apps. Only install apps from reputable sources such as the Apple® App Store, Google™ Play or a direct link from your financial institution’s website.
  • Keep your mobile operating system up-to-date by installing the latest updates as prompted by your device to ensure maximum security.
  •  Access mobile banking on a secure wireless network. Do not use public Wi-Fi hotspots. Unsecure networks can expose sensitive data, making it vulnerable to hackers.
  • Do not root or jailbreak your device. This practice weakens device security.
  • When depositing a check through our mobile banking app, wait until the funds are available and then destroy the check.

Cybersecurity Checklist

  •  Have computer security programs running and regularly updated to look for the latest threats. Install anti-virus software to protect against malware (malicious software) that can steal information such as account numbers and passwords, and use a firewall to prevent unauthorized access to your computer.
  •  Be cautious about where and how you connect to the internet for banking or other communications involving sensitive personal information. Public Wi-Fi networks and computers at places such as libraries or hotel business centers can be risky if they don’t have up-to-date security software.
  • Get to know standard internet safety features. For example, when banking or shopping online, look for a padlock symbol on the page (that means it is secure) and “https://” at the beginning of the Web Address (signifying that the website is authentic and encrypts data during transmission).
  • Ignore unsolicited email asking you to open an attachment or click on a link if you’re not sure who truly sent it and why. Cyber criminals are good at creating fake emails that look legitimate, but can install malware. The best option would be to either ignore unsolicited requests to open attachments or files or to independently verify that the supposed source actually sent the email to you by making contact using a publicized email address or telephone number.
  • Be suspicious if someone contacts you unexpectedly online and asks for your personal information. A safe strategy is to ignore unsolicited requests for information no matter how legitimate they appear, especially if they ask for information such as a Social Security number, bank account number, or password.
  • Use the most secure process you can when logging into financial accounts. Create “strong” passwords that are hard to guess, change them regularly, and try not to use the same passwords or PINs (personal identification numbers) for several accounts.
  • Be discreet when using social networking sites. Criminals comb those sites looking for information such as someone’s place of birth, mother’s maiden name, or a pet’s name. Criminals gather this information to help them guess or reset passwords for online accounts.
  • Be careful when using smartphones and tablets. Don’t leave your mobile device unattended. Use a device password or other method to control access in case the device is stolen or lost.
  • Parents and caregivers should include children in their cyber security planning. Talk with your child about being safe online, including the risks of sharing personal information with people they don’t know, and make sure the devices they use to connect to the Internet have up-to-date security.
  • Small business owners should have policies and training for their employees on topics similar to those provided in their checklist for customers, plus other issues that are specific to the business. For example, consider requiring more information beyond a password to gain access to your business’s network. Consider additional safety measures, such as requiring a confirmation call with your financial institution before certain electronic transfers are authorized.