ID Theft          

               

ID Theft

 

Identity theft is America’s fastest growing crime.  In 2006, more than 9.9 million Americans were victims of identity theft, a crime that cost them roughly $5 billion.  The number of ID theft victims and their total losses are probably much higher.  It’s hard to pin down, because law enforcement agencies may classify ID theft differently—it can involve credit card fraud, Internet fraud, or mail theft, among other crimes.

What is identity theft?

Identity theft occurs when someone illegally obtains your personal information - such as your Social Security number, bank account number, or other identification - and uses it repeatedly to open new accounts or initiate transactions in your name. For example, someone might do a combination of the following: open new credit cards, open new bank accounts, forge checks, and even apply for loans using your name and personal information. This can cause financial loss and damage your credit, which can lead to a lengthy resolution process.

Keep in mind however, that even if you think your security has been compromised, it does not automatically mean that you are a victim of identity theft. It might be an incorrect entry or an isolated incident of theft from your C&F Bank account that is quickly resolved by calling C&F Bank at 1-800-296-6246.

How does identity theft happen?

Identity theft is portrayed as a high-tech crime affecting only those people who shop, communicate, or do business online. However, while thieves can obtain personal information via online methods, the majority of identity theft occurs offline. Stealing wallets and purses, intercepting or rerouting your mail, and rummaging through your garbage are some of the common tactics that thieves can use to obtain personal information. The good news is that the more information you have about identity theft the better your defense.

How can I help protect myself?

  • Do not open or respond to online solicitations for personal information. C&F Bank will never send email containing attachments, or require customers to send personal information via email or pop-up windows.
  • Carry only necessary identification. In particular, do not carry your Social Security card.
  • When a Social Security number is requested to sign up for a service, confirm that it is actually needed rather than some other identifier.
  • Make photocopies of all the information you carry daily and store them in a secure location like a safety deposit box.
  • Shred financial or personal documents before discarding. Most fraud and identity theft incidences happen as a result of mail and garbage theft.
  • Utilize paperless options and limit your receipt of paper statements by managing your accounts online with C&F Internet Banking. Checking your account online can help you regularly monitor your account activity and more quickly detect any fraudulent transactions.
  • Receive and pay bills online with Bill Pay. The fewer personal documents sent through the mail, the less chance there is for possible fraud.
  • Always put outgoing mail in a U.S. Postal Service mailbox, which is more secure than your home mailbox.
  • Collect your mail promptly each day.

C&F Bank will constantly work to help protect our customers from criminal activity. As an informed customer, you are a great ally in this effort. To learn more about identity theft, you can reference the following sites:

Federal Trade Commission: www.ftc.gov/idtheft
Identity Theft 911: www.idt911.com
Office of the Inspector General: www.ssa.gov/pubs/idtheft.htm
U. S. Department of Justice: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/programs/identitytheft.htm
U. S. Postal Inspection Service: www.usps.com/