In this electronic age, your personally identifying information has become a gold mine to the thieves and fraudsters— and it seems there is never an end to the ways they will try to obtain that information from you.
How To Avoid Identity Theft
There are many things that you can do to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft:
Avoid PhishingIdentity thieves might "fish" for your personal information, but you can prevent them from reeling in your information.
Never provide your personal information including your Social Security number, account numbers or passwords, over the phone or on the Internet if you did not initiate the contact.
- Never click on a link provided in an email you believe to be fraudulent. It may contain a virus that can contaminate your computer.
- Do not be intimidated by an email or a phone caller who suggests dire consequences if you do not immediately provide or verify financial information.
- IF you believe the contact is legitimate, go to the company's Web site by typing in the site address directly or using a page you have previously bookmarked, instead of the link provided in the e-mail.
- Act immediately if you fall victim to an attack. Alert your financial institution, place fraud alerts on your credit files, monitor your credit files and account statements closely.
- Report all suspicious emails or calls to the Federal Trade Commission at www.consumer.gov/idtheft, or by calling 1-877-IDTHEFT.
Practice Internet SafetyWe're doing everything we can to ensure that you're identity is protected, but there are a few simple things that you can do, too.
Protect your password. Do not share your password with anyone. We will never ask you for a password for maintenance to our systems or to update your information.
- Use complex passwords. We recommend using at least 8 digits for your password, including number and symbols. Avoid using common words or passwords that would be easy to guess, like a well-known piece of personal information or your login name.
- Never supply information in a personal email. Timberland bank will never ask you to update your information via email or a pop-up window in your Internet browser.
- Beware of Phishing and Pretexting. Never give your personal information or passwords out over the telephone. Timberland Bank does not randomly call a customer to update records over the phone or by email. If updates are necessary, a customer service representative may request a letter or a visit to one our local branches.
- Use anti-virus, anti-spyware and a firewall and keep them up-to-date.
- Practice precaution when using public computers and wireless connections. Avoid accessing your financial accounts on public computers or wireless hot-spots.
- Logout completely. Just closing the browser does not log you out of an account. Be sure to click “Sign Out” or “Log Off” to completely log out of an account.
Protect Your Mobile DeviceBe sure to take these 10 simple steps to keep your mobile device safe.
Your mobile device provides convenient access to your email, bank and social media accounts. Unfortunately, it can potentially provide the same information to criminals. Follow these simple steps to protect yourself:
- Use the passcode to lock your smartphone and other devices. This will protect your information if the device is lost or stolen.
- Logout completely when you finish a mobile banking session.
- Employ security systems just like you do for your computer to protect your phone from viruses and malicious software.
- Use caution when downloading apps. Apps can contain malicious software, worms and viruses. Beware of apps that ask for unnecessary "permissions."
- Download the updates for your phone and mobile apps. Many of these updates fix security flaws or offer enhanced security measures.
- Avoid storing sensitive information, like passwords or a social security number on your device.
- Beware of shoulder surfers. The most basic form of information theft is observation. Be sure that you are aware of your surroundings especially when accessing sensitive information.
- Alert your financial institution immediately if you change your phone number or lose your mobile device.
- Wipe your device before donating or discarding. Use specialized software or the manufacturer's recommended technique. Some software allows you to wipe your device remotely if stolen.
- Report any suspicious activity to your bank immediately. Call us toll free at 1-800-562-8761.
Invest in Identity Theft and Fraud ProtectionSecurity and peace of mind are available for a small monthly fee.
For a small monthly fee, our Identity Theft and Fraud Protection products will provide you with the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your personal and account information is safe and secure. Visit our Security Center to learn more about our ID Theft and Fraud Protection services.
Additional PrecautionsStay safe and secure no matter where you are with these easy steps.
At home, keep personal information safe. Store your financial information, social security numbers and drivers license numbers out of sight.
- At the office, keep your purse or wallet in a locked drawer locker. You might trust your coworkers, by what about visitors?
- Carry only those items you need with you in your wallet or purse. Never carry your social security card, as it's the number one thing identity thieves need to steal your identity.
- Check your bank and credit card statements as soon as you receive them so you can take immediate action regarding any unauthorized activity.
- Shred all financial documents when you are done with them. This includes credit card offers, courtesy checks and statements.
Help, I'm a Victim
The unthinkable happens, you realize your identity has been stolen, but what do you do next?
Step 1: Place Fraud Alerts
It is important for victims of identity theft to act fast. Fraud alerts can help prevent an ID thief from opening any more accounts in your name.
To place an alert, you only need to contact one of the three consumer reporting agencies provided here. Once you've placed a Fraud Alert on your credit report, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three consumer reporting agencies. Review all three reports carefully and:
Look for inquiries from companies you haven't contacted
Verify that all of your personal information is correct
Check your credit report periodically to ensure that no new fraudulent activity has occurred
Step 2: Closed Compromised or Fraudulent Accounts
If your accounts have been tampered with or if fraudulent accounts have been opened under your name, you will need to close them. Your first step will be to speak with someone in the Security or Fraud departments of each company in which the new accounts were opened. Then:
Follow up in writing, including copies (NOT originals) of supporting documents. Send your letter via certified mail with a return receipt to document what the company received. Keep a file of correspondence and enclosures.
If charges have been made on existing accounts, request dispute forms from the company. If the company does not have special forms, visit www.ftc.gov for a sample letter. Always send correspondence to the address giving for "billing inquiries," NOT the address for sending payments.
If new, unauthorized accounts are discovered, file a dispute directly with the company or file a report with the police. Provide a copy of the Identity Theft Report to the company. An Identity Theft Report will require the company to stop reporting any negative information to your credit report resulting from fraudulent activity.
Once you've resolved a dispute with the company, request a letter stating that the company closed the accounts and discharged the fraudulent debt.
Step 3: File the Necessary Complaints
To protect yourself and others from future crime, please be sure to file complaints with the FDIC and your local police.
To file a complaint with the FDIC, visit www.ftc.gov, call 1-877-ID-THEFT or write the Identity Theft Clearinghouse at:
Identity Theft Clearinghouse
Federal Trade Commission
622 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20580
Then, call your local police department to file a report about your identity theft. If the Police are reluctant to file and ID Theft Report, request that a "miscellaneous incident" report be filed, or try another jurisdiction such as the state police agency. Be sure to:
Bring along a copy of your FTC ID Theft Complaint Form to be incorporated into the attached police report.
Request a copy of the formal police report