Presented by: NobleBank & Trust
Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft
Sadly, Alabama is a hot spot for fraud aimed at consumers. This is particularly true for identity theft, a type of fraud involving an imposter stealing someone’s personal information, such as a Social Security Number or credit card information. Nationally, identity theft was the No. 2 consumer complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission, with 490,220 incidents, or 16 percent of the total complaints lodged from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2015. Identity theft complaints climbed 47 percent from 2014. Identity fraud cost 13.1 million U.S. consumers $15 billion in 2015. Nationwide, tax- or wage-related fraud was the most common form of reported identity theft, comprising almost 45 percent of complaints. Sixteen percent of complaints were due to credit card fraud and 10 percent stemmed from phone or utilities fraud. Bank fraud followed at 6 percent, loan fraud at 4 percent and employment-related fraud at 3 percent. Alabamians filed 4,973 identity theft complaints with the Federal Trade Commission in 2015, equal to 102.3 cases per 100,000 residents. The number of identity theft complaints in Alabama grew by 1,203 over 2014, a 32 percent increase.
At NobleBank & Trust, we suggest 9 easy tips to aid in preventing identity theft.
- Shred financial documents and paper work with personal information before you discard them.
- Protect your social security number. Don’t carry your social security card in your wallet or write your social security number on a check. Give it out only if necessary or ask to use another identifier.
- Don’t give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or over the internet unless you know who you are dealing with.
- Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails; instead, type in a web address you know. Use firewalls, anti-spyware, and anti-virus software to protect your home computer; keep them up-to-date. Visit OnGauardOnline.gov for more information.
- Don’t use obvious passwords like your birth date, your mother’s maiden name, or the last four digits of your social security number.
- Keep your personal information in a secure place at home. This is particularly important if you employ outside help or are having work done in your home.
- As you travel during summer months, be sure to review financial accounts and billing statements regularly. Look for charges you did not make and be on alert for denials of credit for no apparent
- Pay attention to billing cycles. Bills that do not arrive on time may have been misdirected by identity thieves.
- Carry only the credit cards and identification on you that you actually need.
If you are a victim of identity theft, NobleBank & Trust is here to help you. Visit our website at http://www.noblebank.com/ for additional financial resources.
Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender.
Senior EVP & Market President
NobleBank & Trust