Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
Identity theft occurs when someone assumes your identity to perform a fraud or other criminal act. Criminals can get the information they need to assume your identity in a variety of ways, including by stealing your wallet, sifting through your trash, or by obtaining your credit or bank information. They may approach you in person, or contact you by telephone, or via the Internet and ask you for the information. The sources of information about you are so numerous that you cannot prevent the theft of your identity, but you can minimize your risk of loss by following a few simple rules:
Tips for Avoiding Identity Theft
- Never throw away ATM receipts, credit cards or statements, or bank account statements or notices in a readable form.
- Always shred or mutilate sensitive documents before disposing of them.
- Never give your credit card number over the telephone unless you make the call.
- Reconcile your bank account at least monthly — and notify Citizens National Bank of discrepancies immediately.
- Keep a list of telephone numbers to call to report the loss or theft of anything containing sensitive information, such as your wallet, credit cards, etc.
- Report unauthorized financial transactions to Citizens National Bank or your credit card company, and the police as soon as you detect them.
- Review a copy of your credit report at least once each year. Notify the credit bureau in writing of any questionable entries and follow through until they are explained or removed. You may visit https://www.annualcreditreport.com for one-stop shopping to access your FREE report from each of the three credit bureaus.
- If your identity has been stolen, ask the credit bureau to add a statement as such to your credit report. This is called a “fraud alert.”
- If you know of anyone who receives mail from credit card companies or banks in the names of others, report it to local or federal law enforcement authorities.
REMEMBER: Citizens National Bank will never call you to request your PIN number, passwords, account or Social Security Number, or any other non-pubic personal information. If anyone calls claiming to be with Citizens National Bank and requests this information, please record their name and phone number and call your local Banking Center.
Report identity theft immediately at identitytheft.gov/.
Mobile Security Tips
- Use passcodes to protect mobile devices and enabling screen-lock features after inactivity
- Turn off mobile features that are not being used
- Before downloading any app in Android market, read reviews about the app developer or company publishing the app — and understand user app permissions that will be allowed once the app is downloaded
- Install mobile malware protection
- Install anti-virus and file integrity software
- Turn off geo-location when not in use
- Avoid connecting to unknown wireless networks, as they could be rogue access points that capture information passed between your device and a legitimate server
- Reset or wipe devices before they are sold or traded
- Keep smart-phone software patches and upgrades up to date
- Avoid links or software downloads from unknown sources
- Use the same precautions on a mobile device as you would use on a PC
Elder Financial Exploitation
As defined by the Older Americans Act, elder financial exploitation is the fraudulent or otherwise illegal, unauthorized, or improper actions by a caregiver, fiduciary, or other individual in which the resources of an older person are used by another for personal profit or gain; or actions that result in depriving an older person of the benefits, resources, belongings, or assets to which they are entitled. Plainly stated, it is the theft of money, property or belongings.
Examples of Financial Exploitation
- Misusing or stealing someone’s money or property
- Coercing or deceiving someone into signing documents such as a contract or will
- Improperly using conservatorship, guardianship, or a power of attorney
- Withdrawing money without approval
- Sudden changes in a will or other financial documents
- Unexplained missing funds or valuables
- Unpaid bills despite having enough money
- Forging of a signature for financial transactions or for the titles of property
- Investment fraud and scams, including deceptive “free-lunch seminars” selling unnecessary or fraudulent financial services or products
- Contractor fraud and home improvement scams
- Reverse Mortgage fraud
- Lottery and sweepstakes scams
- Scams by telemarketers, mail offers or door-to-door salespersons
Who May Exploit Others?
- Family members
- Caregivers — paid or volunteer
- Neighbors or friends
- Financial advisors
Protect Yourself from Financial Exploitation
- Don’t sign blank checks allowing another person to fill in the amount.
- Don’t leave money or valuables in plain view.
- Watch out for scams by phone, mail or email. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Don’t give strangers access to your bank accounts.
- Check your financial statements often and carefully for withdrawals you did not approve.
- Don’t sign any document you have not completely read or don’t fully understand.
- Don’t be pressured by family, friends, caregivers, or anyone to do anything you don’t want to do
Adult Protective Services or 1-800-252-5400
Identity thieves, hackers, and scammers are looking to steal your personal information and money.
How to Protect Yourself
- Update your computer software like your operating system, web browsers, and apps.
- Protect your personal information. Don’t hand out your Social Security number, credit card number, and bank account number just to anyone. Every time you are asked for personal information think about why someone needs it.
- Protect your passwords. Have a good strong password, and don’t share your password with others. Legitimate companies will not ask you for your password.
- Consider turning on two-factor authentication. For accounts that support it, two-factor authentication requires both your password and an additional piece of information to log in to your account.
- Give personal information over encrypted websites only. When shopping or banking online stick to sites that use encryption.
- Back up your files. Keep a copy of your files on an external hard drive or cloud storage.
Malware includes viruses, spyware, and other unwanted software that gets installed on your computer or mobile device without your consent. Criminals use malware to steal personal information, send spam, and commit fraud. There's a lot you can do to protect yourself and your computer. One of the most important steps you can take is to install security software, such as anti-virus and anti-malware, from a reputable company and set it to update automatically. Criminals are constantly developing new ways to attack your computer, so your software must be up to date in order to best protect you and your personal information.
To learn more on avoiding, detecting, getting rid of and reporting malware, go to consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0011-malware.
Phishing is when a scammer uses fraudulent emails or texts, or copycat websites to get you to share valuable personal information – such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, or your login IDs and passwords. Scammers use your information to steal your money or your identity or both. Phishing scammers make it seem like they need your information or someone else’s, quickly – or something bad will happen.
Tips to Avoid a Phishing Scam
- Be cautious about opening attachments or clicking on links in emails. Even your friend or family members’ accounts could be hacked.
- Make the call if you’re not sure. If you think a company, friend or family member really does need personal information from you, pick up the phone and call them yourself using the number on their website or in your address book, not the one in the email. Do not respond to any emails that request personal or financial information, especially ones that use pressure tactics or prey on fear.
- Do your own typing. Rather than merely clicking on the link provided in the email, type the URL into your web browser
- Turn on two-factor authentication. For accounts that support it, two-factor authentication requires both your password and an additional piece of information to log in to your account.
Report Phishing Emails & Texts
- Forward phishing emails to [email protected] – and to the organization impersonated in the email. Your report is most effective when you include the full email header, but most email programs hide this information. To ensure the header is included, search the name of your email service with “full email header” into your favorite search engine.
- File a report with the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov/complaint
- Visit IdentityTheft.gov. Victims of phishing could become victims of identity theft; there are steps you can take to minimize your risk.
- You can also report phishing email to [email protected]. The Anti-Phishing Working Group – which includes ISPs, security vendors, financial institutions and law enforcement agencies – uses these reports to fight phishing.