Identity Theft: “Are you at risk?”

Posted on August 15, 2011. Filed under: Debbie Habeck, NMLS #501063 |

Identity Theft is a crime in which one person “steals” important pieces of another person’s personal information, such as their social security number and driver’s license number and uses them for their own personal gain, usually financial gain.   ~and YES, you are at risk!  There is no sure way to avoid being a victim of identity theft, but there are numerous ways that you can deter identity thieves from obtaining your personal information.

            How do thieves most often obtain your personal information?

  • Dumpster Diving – they dig through trash looking for papers that have personal info listed
  • Shoulder Surfing – they may be standing nearby in a store or at an ATM,  watching you punch in numbers or listening to your conversation
  • Skimming – they steal credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card
  • Phishing – they send you spam e-mail pretending to be a financial institution or company trying to get you to supply your personal information
  • Physically Steal – they steal wallets, purses, mail (statements, pre-approved credit card offers, tax information, new checks, etc.)

So, what can you do to deter your identity from being compromised?  Remember the word “SCAM”!

  • Selective/Stingybe cautious how much and to whom you give out your personal information
  • Check – regularly check your statements, bank and credit card.  As a banker, I regularly encourage my customers to be diligent in “knowing what’s happening with their accounts”.   
  • Ask – periodically ask for your credit report.  You can obtain your credit report for free once a year from www.annualcreditreport.com.
  • Maintain – maintain complete, thorough records of your bank accounts and keep credit/debit card receipts until you receive your statement

If you suspect you have become a victim of identity theft, you should file a report with your local police department and report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission.  Place a “Fraud Alert” on your credit report and close any accounts that have been affected. 

At Denmark State Bank, we offer Insure Checking.  Insure Checking offers a variety of account options that best fit your needs.  It provides peace of mind, that in the event your identity is stolen, you will have support and resources from a qualified person from an Identity Theft Recovery Unit. 

Remember, safeguarding your personal information and “staying on top” of your financial information is the best way to prevent identity theft from ruining your good name!

Member FDIC/Equal Housing Lender

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