The following websites provide further information for consumers:
How to minimize risk
Before revealing any personal identification information, find out how it will be used and whether it will be shared with others. Don't divulge unnecessary information.
Other protections include:
- Pay attention to billing cycles. Follow up with creditors if bills do not arrive on time.
- Deposit outgoing mail at the post office.
- Limit identifying information and credit cards carried to those necessary.
- Do not give out personal information via phone, mail or over the internet to undisclosed sources.
- Everyone is entitled to receive a free copy of his or her credit report annually from each credit reporting agency, but you must go through the Federal Trade Commission's website at www.annualcreditreport.com, or call 1-877-322-8228.
If you become a victim
If you suspect that someone has been using your personal information, you should contact:
- The fraud departments of the three major credit bureaus
- Your bank
- The creditors of any accounts that have been misused
- The local police to file a report
- It is wise to cancel existing accounts held in your name and re-open new accounts with new passwords.
Protect Yourself Against Phishing
A new internet threat literally "fishes" for your personal information through bogus e-mails and web sites. Phishing is internet piracy that seeks to obtain account numbers, passwords, social security information and other confidential information in order to loot your checking account or charge items on your credit cards.
How it Works
You might receive an e-mail that seems to come from a respected business, even one you have a relationship with, or a government agency.
It might warn you of a problem that you must attend to immediately using words like "Immediate Attention Required" or "Contact Us Immediately."
In most scams you will be redirected to a fraudulent website where your financial information is stolen. If you provide information at that time you may find yourself a victim of fraud.
- Never provide your personal information in response to an unsolicited request.
- If you are not sure about the caller or e-mail, contact your financial institution directly.
- Never provide critical information over the phone or in response to an unsolicited internet request.
- Double check your account statement. Always balance your accounts to your records when you get your statements.
- Do not be intimidated.
- If you think you are the victim of a fraud, contact your financial institution immediately so that fraud alerts can be placed on your credit file.
- Suspicious e-mails or calls can be reported to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov.
PROTECTING YOUR COMPUTER AND INFORMATION
Worms, viruses and spyware that have appeared on the Internet carry a variety of problems. Some have the capability to install software on an end user's computer, seeking Internet banking or financial data with the intent of communicating the data back to the attacker.
A financial institution or a service provider cannot prevent these items from being sent out and infecting people's computers. What we can do is ensure that our systems are virus-free, properly patched and that our users are knowledgeable of the risks.
The following are tips to help protect your computer and information:
- Keep anti-virus software current on any computer, especially those from which financial transactions are conducted over the Internet.
- Keep software patched with the latest updates, especially computers that conduct financial transactions over the Internet.
- Install a personal firewall and anti-spyware software on your computer from a vendor you know and trust.
- Do not open emails or attachments that are of unknown origin, as this is often the source of virus and worm infections.
- When conducting online transactions, ensure that it is a secure connection. Visual markers to indicate a secure connection include:
- "https://" in the address line of your browser
- a padlock image in the lower right-hand corner of your screen (with Internet Explorer)
- two halves of a key, which are highlighted and connected in the lower right-hand corner (with Netscape Navigator).
You can also view the security levels provided on any page by going to File/Properties in the menu bar.
- Never reveal your password to another person and change it periodically. Avoid using passwords such as: Birth dates, first names, pet names, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, etc.
- Always sign-off (log out) of a web site when completing a secure online session.
For more tips on protecting your computer and personal information, visit the following web sites:
- Federal Trade Commission - http://www.ftc.gov/infosecurity
- National Cyber Security Alliance - http://www.staysafeonline.org/
The Bank's Commitment to Confidentiality