Ten Ways to Prevent Identity Theft
Perhaps you have heard of them: Identity theft and account fraud. They happen when your personal information, such as your bank account number or Social Security number is stolen by someone who then poses as you. They then can clean out your bank account, run up debt in your name, or both. This type of crime is becoming more and more common. The government estimates 400,000 people are victimized by these crimes each year.
We at Grand Valley Bank work to protect you from these threats, but we need your help if we are to maximize your security. Here is what you can do to help prevent these crimes, and protect your good name and assets.
Together, you and Grand Valley Bank can head off identity theft and account fraud before they happen. Remember, if you have any questions or concerns about protecting your financial identity, come in and visit with us. We are here to help.
- Never give out your financial information. Such as: credit card number, checking account numbers, and especially your Social Security number, on the phone unless you placed the call and know the person, business, or organization with whom you are dealing. We at Grand Valley Bank will never call you asking for that information; so don’t give out that information to anyone claiming to be from the bank.
- If your checks are lost or stolen, report it to the bank immediately! We will block payment on the check numbers involved. Also, when you get each new order of checks, review their numbers to make sure that none were stolen in transit.
- Store all of your checks, both new and used, in a safe place.
- Notify us if you get suspicious phone inquiries asking for account information “to verify a statement” or “award a prize”.
- Guard your ATM Personal Identification Number and ATM receipts. Pick up your receipts from the ATM machine before you leave, and don’t just throw them in the nearest trash receptacle. Thieves can use them to access your accounts.
- Don’t throw away financial solicitations that you get in your mailbox. Tear them up or shred them so that thieves can’t use them to assume your identity. The same is true for any other financial documents, such as bank statements or invoices.
- Don’t put outgoing mail in or on your mailbox. Drop it into a secure, official Postal Service collection box. Thieves may use your mail to steal your identity.
- If your regular bills fail to reach you, call the company and find out why. Someone may have filed a false change-of-address notice to route your information to his or her address.
- Review your bills carefully. If they include suspicious items, don’t ignore them. Instead, investigate immediately to head off any possible fraud before it occurs.
- Once a year, contact the major credit reporting companies to review your file and make certain that the information about you is correct. Colorado and Utah residents can get a free report annually from each of the credit reporting agencies from www.annualcreditreport.com, or by calling 877-FACTACT (877-322-8228). For a small fee, you can get your credit score as well.