Education Center | Identity Theft

What is Identity Theft and how does it affect me?

Identity Theft is a serious crime. Identity Theft happens when someone uses information about you without your permission. They could use your:

  • Name and Address
  • Credit Card or Bank Account Numbers
  • Social Security Number
  • Medical Insurance Account Numbers

An Identity thief can use your name and information to:

  • Buy things with your credit cards
  • Get new credit cards
  • Open a phone, electricity, or gas account
  • Steal your tax refund
  • Get medical care
  • Pretend to be you if they are arrested

Signs that you may be a victim of identity theft

  • You notice errors or unfamiliar transaction on your bank and/or credit card accounts
  • Your credit report includes unfamiliar accounts or charges
  • Your credit report contains inquiries made by businesses in response to applications for credit, loans or services you didn't initiate
  • You receive collection notices or calls about a debt that isn't yours
  • You have a good credit rating but are denied credit in response to an application
  • Your checks are refused by merchants
  • Bills, statements or other expected mail or email doesn't arrive
  • You get bills for accounts you didn't open or medical services you didn't receive
  • Your health insurance responds to your legitimate medical claim with a notice that your benefits limit was reached
  • Your medical records report a condition you don't have
  • You are notified by the IRS that you have income from an employer unknown to you or that more than one tax return was filed with your Social Security number
  • You are notified of a DATA BREACH at a company that involves your information

What is a data breach?

A data breach is any instance in which secure information has been released or stolen intentionally or unintentionally. The organization that exposed or lost your information will notify you and should explain your rights and options.

The steps you should take depend on the type of information that was lost or stolen. In general you should do the following:

  • Monitor all bank account for suspicious activity
  • Change all passwords, PINs, or user names associated with compromised accounts
  • Order a copy of your credit report
  • Place a fraud alert and/or a credit freeze on your credit file
  • For more information on IDENTITY THEFT, go to identitytheft.gov.

Ways to protect yourself against identity theft

  1. GUARD YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY CARD AND NUMBER.
    Don't carry your card or give out the number unless absolutely necessary
  2. SHRED UNWANTED DOCUMENTS OR CARDS THAT CONTAIN PERSONAL INFORMATION
    Crosscut shredders offer the best protection.
  3. WHEN IN DOUBT, DON'T GIVE IT OUT.
    Never share personal information in response to unsolicited requests made online, by mail, or over the phone.
  4. SECURE YOUR COMPUTER.
    Install or update firewalls and anti-malware.
  5. BACKUP YOU DATA REGULARLY
    If your computer or device is compromised or stolen you'll still have access to important files.
  6. CREAT STRONG PASSWORDS
    Do not use the same password for work and personal. When creating passwords for financial sites use a combination of letters, numbers, upper & lower case, and special symbols and change your passwords often.
  7. NEVER DOWNLOAD OR OPEN FILES FROM AN UNKNOWN SOURCE.
    Doing so can expose your computer to hacking and malware
  8. CHECK YOU CREDIT REPORT AT LEAST ONCE ANNUALLY.
    Go online to AnnualCreditReport.com for a free annual report
  9. LIMIT WHAT YOU SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA SITES
    Information on these sites can be used to impersonate you
  10. USE CAUTION WHEN USING PUBLIC OR UNSECURED WI-FI CONNECTIONS.
    If accessing sensitive information via WI-FI, make sure your connection is secure
  11. BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR MOBILE PHONE OR OTHER DEVICE YOU USE TO MAKE PAYMENTS OR OTHER FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS.
    Secure your device with a passcode that is set to auto lock after a specific time of inactivity. As an added precaution, immediately lock your device when not in use.
  12. KEEP YOU MOBILE DEVICE UP TO DATE.
    Most update installs security fixes to correct previously identified issues.
  13. GO PAPERLESS WITH BILLS AND STATEMENTS
    Contact your financial institution about going paperless
  14. NOTIFY THE BANK OF CHANGES TO YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION
    Contact your financial institution of changes to your name, address, email, phone number, etc.
  15. REVIEW YOUR ACCOUNT/STATEMENTS REGULARLY AND REPORT ANY ISSUES TO YOUR FINANCIAL INSTITIUION IMMEDIATELY.

Caldwell Bank and Trust's customers can contact our bookkeeping department at 318-649-2351 or stop by your local branch for assistance.