Identity Theft occurs when someone uses your name, Social Security number, credit card number or other personal information without your permission to commit fraud. At Peoples Bank, we want to help ensure that your private information remains secure – at the bank and in all your transactions.
The following information provides guidelines on how to protect yourself against Identity Theft and minimize the damage if your information is accidentally disclosed or deliberately stolen.
Identity thieves have several ways to obtain your personal information. They might steal your wallet or purse to get your ID, credit cards and debit cards. They also search the trash or steal your mail for bank statements, receipts, credit card offers, health insurance forms, tax information and other financial information. Some thieves access information from offices where you are a customer, employee, patient or student.
To avoid becoming a victim, it’s important to take the following measures to protect your personal information.
Now that you know how Identity Theft can occur, here are some safeguards to lower the chance that it will happen to you:
The Federal Trade Commission has a new website which offers step-by-step checklists of what to do right away, and what to do next, depending on the information that’s been stolen or exposed. It lists warning signs indicating your identity was stolen, and gives websites and phone numbers for organizations you’ll need to reach. And, it has sample letters for disputing fraudulent charges, correcting information in your credit reports, and getting business records relating to the theft.
Check out www.identitytheft.gov as your first line of defense against identity theft.
If you suspect your personal information has been misused, take action immediately by following these three steps:
To protect yourself and others against future Identity Theft, it’s important to file your complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Complaints are entered into a secure consumer fraud database used by law enforcement agencies for criminal investigations. Filing a complaint helps the FTC prosecute identity thieves and provide victim assistance and education.
Submit the online complaint form at: www.ftccomplaintassistant.govWrite to:
Be sure to call the Hotline to update your complaint if you have any additional information or problems.
For more information about Identity Theft, visit the FTC Web site at www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft. The site also contains this 10-minute educational video that outlines steps consumers can take to fight back against Identity Theft.