About Identity Theft
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.
What You Need to Know
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.
Reduce Your Risk
Now that you know how Identity Theft can occur, here are some safeguards to lower the chance that it will happen to you:
- Protect your Social Security number: Don't carry your Social Security card with you – leave it in a safe place.
- Guard your passwords and personal identification numbers (PINs): Avoid using information such as your mother's maiden name, your birth date, and the last four digits of your Social Security number or phone number.
- Be protective of giving out personal information over the phone or Internet: The best way to know whom you are dealing with is to initiate the phone call or type the Internet address in your browser address bar.
- Shred financial documents before you throw them out. Also, remove new mail from your mailbox promptly and send outgoing mail from the post office or a secure drop box.
- Review your credit report annually for incorrect information. Federal law gives consumers the right to a free credit report every year from the three national reporting agencies. Free credit reports can be requested through www.AnnualCreditReport.com.
- Check your financial accounts regularly for charges you did not make. Also, keep a list of all your credit cards and account numbers in a secure location and watch your incoming mail for missing statements.
- Find out who has access to your personal information at work. Verify that records are kept in a secure location.
Act Quickly If Identity Theft Happens 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.
Identity Theft Resources
If you suspect your personal information has been misused, take action immediately by following these three steps:
- Contact the fraud department of one of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit report. The company you call is required to notify the other two credit bureaus to place an alert on their versions of your report. The fraud alert tells creditors to contact you before opening any new accounts or making changes to existing accounts. Also, ask for a free copy of your credit report and request that only the last four digits of your Social Security number appear on your report.
- Contact your creditors to close any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. If you believe your Peoples Bank accounts or credit cards were used fraudulently, contact these numbers:
VISA Credit Cards
Available 24 hours, 7 days a week
Peoples Bank 24 Express ATM or Check Cards
800-948-7195 (8:00 am–7:00 pm, M-F)
After hours, call 800-523-4175
Electronic Banking Department
P.O. Box 467
Newton, NC 28658-0467
- File a police report with your local police department or the police in the community where the identity theft took place. Request a copy of the report to submit as proof to your creditors.
Fight Back Against Identity Theft
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.
File a complaint with the FTC
Submit the online complaint form at: www.ftccomplaintassistant.govWrite to:
Identity Theft Clearinghouse
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580 Call the FTC’s Identity Theft Hotline
Toll free: 877-ID-THEFT (877-438-4338)
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.
Contact us immediately if you think one of your Peoples Bank accounts or services has been compromised.Report Fraud