Identity theft is a serious crime. How does it happen?
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. While you cannot entirely control whether you will become a victim, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk.
You can easily deter potential theft of your privacy by following some of these steps as recommended by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission):
- Shred - financial documents and paperwork with personal information before you discard them.
- Protect - your Social Security Number. Do not carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write your Social Security number on a check. Give it out only if absolutely necessary or ask to use another form of identification.
- Don't give out - personal information on the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you know whom 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 www.onguardonline.gov for more information. Also never use public computers at libraries or internet cafes to look at your accounts.
- Be Suspicious - of any offer that seems to be too good to be true. Be especially wary of any offer that requires you to send an advance payment or deposit to an account by wire. If you receive a letter advising you that you won a lottery and you've never participated in such a lottery, this may be a scam. Also be careful when you sell something over the internet. If you receive a check for more than the sale price and the purchaser instructs you to send the difference, this may be a scam.
- Review - Check your bank, credit card, brokerage and other financial statements immediately upon receipt. Report any inaccuracies as soon as they are discovered.
- Don't use an obvious password like your birth date, your mother's maiden name, or the last four digits of your Social Security, phone number or address.
- Watch - your credit bureau reports and report any errors . Check the section that lists who ordered a report of your credit history. Report any errors or suspicions immediately.
- Keep - your personal information in a secure place at home, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help, or are having work done at your home.
If you think you are the victim of identity theft involving one of your accounts with The Adirondack Trust Company - call us immediately at (518)584-5844 and ask for the Compliance Officer.