Identity theft occurs when someone illegally obtains key pieces of another person's identity with the intent to commit fraud. Information such as name, date of birth, social security number, mother's maiden name, etc., can help a criminal impersonate another individual. Once this person has access to this information, they can commit different kinds of fraud, including accessing bank accounts, obtaining loans, making purchases, renting apartments, etc.
Immediately contact an Anchor Bank Location to assist you.
Law Enforcement: Contact law enforcement to file a police report. Keep a record of the police department contact information and case number.
Credit Agencies: You are entitled to a free credit report if you are the victim of identity theft, have been denied credit, receive welfare or are unemployed. Contact one of the following credit reporting agencies to report the fraud and ask about adding a fraud alert on your record:
- Equifax: To order a report or to report fraud, call (800) 685-1111 or write P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241. To report fraud, call (800) 525-6285 and write to the address above.
- Experian: To order a report or to report fraud, call (888) 397-3742 or write P.O. Box 949, Allen, TX 75013-0949.
- TransUnion: To order your report, call (800) 916-8800 or write P.O. Box 1000, Chester, PA 19022. To report fraud, call (800) 680-7289 and write Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92384.
Contact the Federal Trade Commission's Identity Theft Hotline: 877-ID-THEFT [(877) 438-4338], or click on Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft.
Contact the local United States Postal Inspector: Report the theft of mail to your local postal inspector. To stop mail during vacation, call (800) 275-8777.
Check Security Companies: Inform check security companies about the fraud affecting your account. Contact them directly at:
|National Check Fraud Center||(843) 571-2143|
|Equifax Check Systems||(800) 437-5120|
|International Check Services||(800) 526-5380|
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 tactics that thieves can use to obtain personal information. The good news is that the more information you have about identity theft the better your defense.
Who does it affect?
Identity theft can happen to anyone in hundreds of different ways. It's the fastest growing crime facing every citizen. Identity theft is a felony crime; however, police can not help with your credit record or undo the damage that has been done. Delayed discovery of identity theft and the various ways criminals can now gain access to your personal information, can complicate a criminal investigation. Proper precautions with your information are the best protection.
How can I help protect myself?
Ideas on preventing identity theft:
- Do not open or respond to online solicitations for personal information.
- 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 safe deposit box.
- Shred financial or personal documents before discarding. Most fraud and identity theft incidences happen as a result of mail and garbage theft.
- Utilize paperless options and limit your receipt of paper statements by managing your accounts online with AnchorLink® Internet Banking. Checking your balances online can help you regularly monitor your account activity and more quickly detect any fraudulent transactions.
- Receive and pay bills online with Bill Pay. The fewer personal documents sent through the mail, the less chance there is for possible fraud.
- 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.
- Periodically check your credit bureau report to ensure accuracy.
How do I protect myself?
Never provide your personal information in response to an unsolicited request, whether it is over the phone or over the Internet. E-mails and Internet pages created by phishers may look exactly like the real thing. They may even have a fake padlock icon that ordinarily is used to denote a secure site. If you did not initiate the communication, you should not provide any information. If you believe the contact may be legitimate, contact the financial institution yourself. You can find phone numbers and Web sites on the monthly statements you receive from your financial institution, or you can look the company up in a phone book or on the Internet. The key is that you should be the one to initiate the contact, using contact information that you have verified yourself. Never provide your password over the phone or in response to an unsolicited Internet request. A financial institution would never ask you to verify your account information online. Thieves armed with this information and your account number can help themselves to your savings. Review account statements regularly to ensure all charges are correct. If your account statement is late in arriving, call your financial institution to find out why. If your financial institution offers electronic account access, periodically review activity online to catch suspicious activity.
How do I learn more about identity theft?
Click on these links to learn more about identity theft:
- Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information
- Office of the Inspector General: Identity Theft
- U.S. Department of Justice
What is phishing?
There's a type of Internet piracy called "phishing." It's pronounced "fishing," and that's exactly what these thieves are doing: "fishing" for your personal financial information. What they want are account numbers, passwords, Social Security numbers, and other confidential information that they can use to loot your checking account or run up bills on your credit cards. In a typical case, you'll receive an e-mail that appears to come from a reputable company that you recognize and do business with, such as Anchor Bank. In some cases, the email may appear to come from a government agency, including one of Anchor Bank’s regulatory agencies. The email will probably warn you of a serious problem that requires your immediate attention. It may use phrases, such as "Immediate attention required," or "Please contact us immediately about your account." The email will then encourage you to click on a button to go to the institution's Web site. In a phishing scam, you could be redirected to a phony Web site that may look exactly like the real thing. Sometimes, in fact, it may be the company's actual Web site. In those cases, a pop-up window will quickly appear for the purpose of harvesting your financial information. In either case, you may be asked to update your account information or to provide information for verification purposes: your Social Security number, your account number, your password, or the information you use to verify your identity when speaking to a real financial institution, such as your mother's maiden name or your place of birth. If you provide the requested information, you may find yourself the victim of identity theft.
What is vishing?
Vishing is the name for phishing attacks using the telephone. The term is a combination of voice and phishing and is typically used to steal credit card numbers, bank account numbers and passwords. You might receive a phone call advising you that your credit card has been used illegally, and to call a certain number to ‘verify’ your account number.
What is malware?
Malware, short for malicious software, is software used or created to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems. One example of malware prompts a user to input account and/or token data, which then results in another screen prompt indicating that the user will be unable to access the account for 24-hours while AnchorLink maintenance is performed. This allows the fraudster to take over the session and commit fraud while the user is detained on the fake ‘maintenance’ screen. In another version the customer receives a pop up asking for several pieces of personal information including a phone number. The user inputs the data and then receives a phone call immediately from a caller claiming to be a bank employee letting them know the system will be down for 24-hours which then allows the fraudster to access the account while on the phone with the user.