Oregon Pacific Bank places the security of our clients as a very high priority. We have compiled information that can help educate you about the dangers of fraud and identity theft, and some tips that can help you prevent it.
Fraud and Identity Theft can happen to anyone. It can be prevented, but as a consumer, you must inform yourself and be aware that criminals are constantly finding new ways to steal your personal information. If it does happen to you, there are steps you can take to restore your good credit and good name.
What is Identity Theft?
Identity Theft is a fast growing and serious crime that occurs when your personal information is stolen and used without your knowledge to commit fraud or other crimes. Identity theft is costly and can be devastating. It can destroy your credit and ruin your good name.
How to Protect Yourself:
- Do not give out any personal information over the telephone, over the internet, or through the mail unless you know who you are dealing with.
- Shred financial documents and paperwork containing personal information.
- Protect your Social Security number. Never carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write your Social Security number on a check. Give it out only if absolutely necessary or ask to use another identifier.
- Check your credit report at least annually to make sure that it is accurate.
- Keep your personal information in a secure place.
- Do not use an obvious password like the last 4 digits of your Social Security number.
- Never click on an e-mail from someone you do not recognize. Use firewalls, anti-spyware and anti-virus software to protect your home computer.
- Limit online shopping to secure sites that you trust.
- Guard your mailbox against theft. Pick up your mail quickly after it is delivered, or have someone you trust pick it up for you. Never leave outgoing mail in your mailbox. Take it to the post office or a collection box.
- Pick up your checks from the bank to avoid having them stolen from your mailbox.
Signs That Your Confidential Information Has Been Stolen or Compromised:
- Credit is denied for no apparent reason.
- Bills do not arrive as expected.
- Calls or letters are received regarding purchases you did not make.
- Credit card statements or account statements arrive that are not familiar or expected.
What to Do if You Become a Victim of Identity Theft:
- Contact your financial institution and alert them to the situation.
- Close the accounts that you know or believe have been compromised or opened fraudulently.
- Contact the fraud departments of each of the three major credit bureaus:
To order your report, call 1.800.685.1111
or write P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374
To report fraud, call 1.800.525.6285
and write: P.O. Box 740250, Atlanta, GA 30374
- Experian: www.experian.com
To order your report, call 1.888.EXPERIAN (888.397.3742)
To report fraud, call 1.888.EXPERIAN (888.397.3742)
and write: P.O. Box 1017, Allen TX 75013
- TransUnion: www.transunion.com
To order your report, call 1.800.888.4213
or write P.O. Box 1000, Chester, PA 19022
To report fraud, call 1.800.680.7289
and write Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
- File a police report with your local police or the police in the community where the theft took place.
- Contact all creditors that are involved to be sure that they are aware of what has transpired. Do so in writing if possible, and keep copies of all documents. If you are contacted by debt collectors, respond quickly and keep copies of any correspondence.
- Keep records of every action you take, people you contact, as well as all information regarding the contact such as date, time of day, resulting action, etc.
- Keep track of all documents that verify any financial loss that results because of the crime.
What is Phishing?
Phishing, pronounced “fishing”, is a new form of internet piracy. The thieves are doing exactly that, “fishing” for your financial information. They are looking for account numbers, Social Security numbers, passwords and other confidential information that they can use to access money in your accounts or run up charges on your credit cards.
The thieves may also use the information to steal your identity. With the confidential information thieves can obtain while phishing, they can obtain credit cards, take out loans, rent a house, and even get a driver’s license in your name. They can do substantial damage to your credit rating and personal reputation that can take years to correct. But if you are aware of how criminals can “phish” your confidential information, you can protect yourself.
How Does Phishing Work?
You may receive an e-mail that appears to come from a reputable company that you recognize and do business with regularly, such as your financial institution. In some cases, the e-mail may appear to be from a government agency.
The e-mail may warn you of a problem with your account that requires your immediate attention. The e-mail may use phrases such as “Immediate attention required,” or “Please contact us immediately about your account.” The e-mail will then encourage you to click on a button to go to the institution’s website.
In a phishing scam, you could be directed to a phony website that may look exactly like the real thing. Sometimes, in fact, it may be the company’s actual website. In this case, a pop-up window would quickly appear for the purpose of obtaining your financial information. At that point, you may be prompted to update your account information or to provide information for verification purposes. The thieves are hoping to obtain 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.
How to Avoid Being “Phished”
- Never provide personal financial information, including your Social Security number, account numbers or passwords over the telephone or internet if you did not initiate the contact. 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.
- Do not be intimidated by an e-mail or caller who suggests dire consequences if you do not immediately provide or verify financial information.
- Never click on a link provided in an e-mail that you believe may be fraudulent. It may contain a virus that can contaminate your computer.
- If you believe the contact is legitimate, go to the company’s website by typing in the site address directly instead of using a link provided in the e-mail. You can find phone numbers and websites on the monthly statements you receive from your financial institution, or you can look up the company on the internet or in a phone book.
- Review your account statements often to ensure that all charges are accurate. If your account statement is late in arriving, call your financial institution to find out why. If your financial institution offers electronic account access, review the account activity online periodically to make sure to catch any suspicious account transactions.
- If you are a victim of a phishing attack, act immediately to protect yourself. Notify your financial institution. Place fraud alerts on your credit files and accounts. Contact the credit bureaus listed above.
- Report suspicious e-mails or telephone calls to the Federal Trade Commission by going to www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov, or by calling 1.877.IDTHEFT.
Oregon Pacific Bank will never request account numbers, user names, passwords, Social Security numbers or other confidential information over the telephone or via e-mail unless you initiate the call to the Bank and we need to verify your identity. If any of your confidential Oregon Pacific Bank account information has been compromised, please contact your local Oregon Pacific Bank branch immediately.
For more information, please visit the Federal Trade Commission (click here for link).