Protecting Yourself Against Fraud
By Anne Reger, Old Point National Bank
Banks are committed to protecting your financial information and educating you on how to avoid becoming a victim of fraud. There are many ways that dishonest individuals may attempt to compromise your sensitive personal information. All of them generally are after one or more types of information about you, like your social security number, bank account number, ATM, Visa check card or credit card number or credit card validation number.
Be proactive in protecting your identity.
If you receive a suspicious email or text DO NOT click any links included in the email or text, just delete it. If you receive a call or text from someone claiming to work for your bank who needs your password and/or account information, HANG UP immediately and report the incident by contacting your bank.
Be defensive to reduce your risk.
As is often said, the best offense is often a good defense. Use the following tips to defend yourself against fraud.
- Never provide your checking account, credit card or social security number to any unknown individual whether in person or through email or telephone solicitation.
- Memorize your PIN numbers. Never write them on your ATM or check cards.
- Promptly review your bank statements when they arrive and immediately report any suspicious transactions or discrepancies.
- Immediately report missing or stolen checks, ATM cards, credit cards or check cards.
- Protect and/or properly destroy receipts where some companies as well as financial institutions still print account numbers on your receipt.
If personal and financial information has been compromised as a result of theft or loss, or if you believe you have provided sensitive financial information through an email (phishing) or phone (vishing) scam, take the following steps:
Immediately contact your financial institution(s). They can help limit access to your accounts, change Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) and close accounts and open new ones where appropriate.
Contact your credit card issuers and the three major credit bureaus (Equifax at 1-800-525-6285; Experian at 1-888-397-3742 or TransUnion at 1-800-680-7289) to request that a fraud alert be placed on your credit report.
Most importantly, remember that most banks will never request personal information (for example, your social security number, account number, PIN, user ID or password) through email or unsolicited phone calls.
Anne Reger is the Vice President/Branch Officer of Old Point National Bank (New Town Branch). Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 757-325-6100.