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 https://www.identitytheft.gov/.
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
How to 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
CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau): https://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201306_cfpb_msoa-participant-guide.pdf
Adult Protective Services: https://www.dfps.state.tx.us/Adult_Protection/ or 1.800.252.5400
US Department of Justice: https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice