Identity Theft. Protecting Yourself and Your Identity. Course objectives learn about:

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1 financialgenius.usbank.com Course objectives learn about: Avoiding Identity Theft Recognize Phishing Attempts Getting Help for ID Theft Victims Identity Theft Protecting Yourself and Your Identity

2 Index What You Need to Know About Identity Theft , 2 Phishing Report Identity Theft Incidents Resources Notes

3 What You Need to Know About Identity Theft What is Identity Theft? Identity Theft occurs when someone acquires key pieces of another person s identity with the intent to commit fraud. Information such as name, date of birth, social security number, account numbers, passwords, Personal Identification Number (PIN), etc. can help a criminal impersonate another individual. Identity Theft is the fastest growing crime today; it can happen to anyone in hundreds of different ways. Proper precaution with your information is the best protection. How to Avoid Being Victimized You can minimize your Identity Theft risk by following these simple tips. Password/PIN Change all passwords regularly, including ATM and Internet Banking passwords. Use passwords that are a combination of numbers and characters. Make passwords unique avoid birthdays, social security numbers, and the obvious (like the word password ). Memorize your passwords. Online Be aware of and online fraud activity in order to protect yourself. Phishing is a term used to describe activity where websites are copied and phony sites are established to acquire personal and account information. Be alert and take these steps: Protect your account and password information. Do not record or save your user names or passwords on any computer, even your own. Do not use your credit card or check card number on the Internet unless you have initialized the transaction and the site has a secured, encrypted system (look for the https in the Internet address line or the lock icon). Sign up for Internet Banking and monitor your account activity regularly. Review your statements monthly and sign up to get them electronically. When going to any bank website, go directly to the address line and type in the address do not use any attachment or link that may be provided to you. Also make sure you type in the correct website address. Web addresses can be very similar, and sometimes fraudulent websites will be set up to look similar to legitimate websites, using commonly mistyped addresses. Sign up for account alerts with your bank to alert you to specific account activity, such as low and negative balance, checks posted and deposits. These are usually free and can be sent via or text message. (Text messages may incur fee charges from your carrier, depending upon your personal plan.) Protect your home computer by running anti-virus software to guard against virus attacks. Install a personal firewall to prevent unauthorized access to your home computer, especially if you connect to the Internet via cable or a DSL modem. Delete any suspicious s, without opening them, if you do not recognize the sender. Identity Theft page 1

4 Writing Checks Don t put your Driver s License, social security number or phone number on your checks. Write as many checks as possible using a special pen with tamper-proof ink, such as a gel tip pen. Carry only as many blank checks as you may need. Secure and lock up all the extra checks you are not using. Personal Information Never provide personal information on the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you initiated the contact or know with whom you are speaking. Ask how your personal information will be used and protected. Ask if providing the information is voluntary or mandatory in order to complete the transaction. Keep your Social Security card in a safe place. Don t carry it in your wallet. Do not put outgoing mail in your home mail box to be picked up take it to a postal box and pay your bills online with free Internet Bill Pay. Make a list of your credit card, check card and bank account numbers, with customer service numbers, and keep it in a safe place other than your wallet. Shred all personal documents and unwanted mail. Criminals often work in groups looking through garbage. Monitor your bank and credit card statements every month. Sign up for free Internet banking and check your bank accounts online. Sign up for free online statements to eliminate paper records and manage your finances all online. Review your credit report annually. Free Credit Report Experts suggest guarding against Identity Theft by checking your credit once a year. You can obtain a free credit report once a year from each of the credit reporting agencies Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Go online to or call Toll Free Identity Theft page 2

5 Phishing Phishing (pronounced fishing ) refers to fraudulent communications designed to deceive consumers into divulging personal, financial, or account information. Phishing occurs when criminals make fictitious phone calls or create fictitious s or text messages that seem to be from trusted companies, financial institutions even government agencies in an attempt to obtain your confidential information. They are designed to trick you into disclosing your social security number, PIN, passwords, account numbers and more, either by answering personal questions over the phone, by replying to the or text message or by linking you to a legitimate looking website to enter your personal information. Because some criminals go to great lengths to make the phishing s and text messages look exactly like the legitimate s and text messages you typically receive from your bank or other trusted companies, it is important you learn to recognize a phishing attempt. Recognize Phishing s Any unsolicited phone call, or text message that asks you to confirm, verify, update or otherwise provide personal information is a fraud. Legitimate companies, including U.S. Bank, will never ask you for sensitive account information via unsolicited phone calls, s or text messages, including your social security number, account numbers, PIN or passwords. Many phishing attempts try to scare you with the idea that your account will be closed or suspended if you don t provide confidential information immediately. Look for inconsistencies in the phishing attempt, such as misspelled words, poor grammar or strange formatting. These can be signs of a fraudulent or text message. Many phishing attempts will provide fake contact information to make you feel more comfortable disclosing your personal information. It is important that you NEVER respond to these requests by clicking on a link, replying to an , or calling the phony phone number provided. Report Phishing s Always report phishing or spoofed s, text messages and unsolicited phone calls by forwarding the information to the following groups: U.S. Bank Online Security at (if the phishing attempt refers to a U.S. Bank account) The anti-phishing network at The Federal Trade Commission at The Internet Fraud Complaint Center of the FBI by filing a complaint on their website at Identity Theft page 3

6 Report Identity Theft Incidents If you have been victimized, it is important you contact the following: U.S. Bank If you receive an that appears to be fraudulent or have fraudulent activity on your U.S. Bank account, U.S. Bank at or call the U.S. Bank Fraud Liaison Center at With one call, we can change your password or PIN, monitor fraud activity and close any compromised accounts immediately. Credit Agencies You are entitled to a free credit report when you are a victim of Identity Theft. Contact one credit reporting agency to report fraud and ask to have a fraud alert put on your account. The contacted agency will then notify other credit agencies. Equifax: To order your report, call: or write: P.O. Box , Atlanta, GA To report fraud, call: and write: P.O. Box , Atlanta, GA Experian: To order your report, call: EXPERIAN ( ) or write: P.O. Box 2104, Allen, TX To report fraud, call: EXPERIAN ( ) and write: P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX TransUnion: To order your report, call: or write: P.O. Box 1000, Chester, PA To report fraud, call: and write: Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA Law Enforcement Contact law enforcement to file a police report. This is the first step to an investigation (if there is one) and shows the bank that you were diligent. Postal Office Report stolen mail to your local postal inspector. Employment If someone is using your social security number (SSN) to apply for work, call the Social Security Association Fraud Hotline at To verify earnings on your SSN and to request a statement, call Identity Theft page 4

7 Resources Identity Theft Resource Center Information about scams, consumer alerts, and victim resources. Federal Trade Commission Protecting yourself against Identity Theft and forms for reporting Identity Theft. IRS Suspicious s and Identity Theft Web Page Understanding and preventing Identity Theft and suspicious s (phishing), or dealing with their aftermath. United States Department of Justice Information on Identity Theft and prosecution of identity thieves. Social Security Administration Information about earnings reported on your Social Security number; file reports for lost Social Security numbers. Identity Theft page 5

8 Notes Identity Theft page 6

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