IDENTITY THEFT PROTECT YOUR IDENTITY IT S LEARN HOW TO PROTECT YOUR PRIVATE INFORMATION

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1 IDENTITY THEFT IT S PROTECT YOUR IDENTITY protection center LEARN HOW TO PROTECT YOUR PRIVATE INFORMATION

2 IT S What Is Identity Theft? According to the FBI, identity theft is the fastest growing white-collar crime in the nation. Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information to commit fraud or theft. Identity theft can impact anyone, and the results can be devastating. In addition to financial loss, victims can experience lost job opportunities, denied loans and impaired credit history. Repairing the damage from identity theft may take months, even years. How Identity Theft Occurs Skilled identity thieves use a variety of methods to gain access to your personal information. For example, they may; Create believable website and scams to trick you into revealing private information, a practice known as phishing. Rummage through your trash or the trash of businesses. Steal mail, including bank and credit card statements, pre-approved credit offers, or new checks. Scam information from you by posing as a legitimate business person or government official. Once identity thieves have your personal information, they may; Use your credit and debit card account numbers to buy big-ticket items that they can easily sell. Open a new credit card account, using your name, date of birth, and Social Security number. 1

3 Change the mailing address on your credit card account, and then run up charges on the account. Take out auto loans in your name. Open a bank account in your name and write bad checks on that account. Counterfeit checks or debit cards, and drain your bank account. Protecting Yourself Against Identity Theft You are in the best position to protect your own identity by taking some basic precautions. In addition to the tips found in this brochure, visit More information can be found through the Federal Trade Commission at or IDTHEFT. Our Commitment To You We are committed to protecting your personal information, and take our responsibility to safeguard that information seriously. People s will not request personal or account information, such as passwords, personal identification numbers, or account numbers, via . If you receive such a request, do not respond. 2

4 IT S MANAGING YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION Everyday Safety Don t give out personal information over the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you ve initiated the contact or are sure you know who you re dealing with. Before you divulge any personal information, confirm that you re dealing with a legitimate representative of a legitimate organization. Deposit outgoing mail in a secure post office box, and remove mail from your mailbox promptly. Guard your mail and trash from theft. Tear or shred your charge receipts, copies of credit applications or offers, insurance forms, physician statements, checks and bank statements, and expired charge cards. Carry only the identification and bank/credit cards that you actually need. Keep a list of your bank/credit card numbers and contact information in a secure place. Protect your Social Security number. Your Social Security number is one of your most valuable pieces of identification. Because you rarely need to show it, the Federal Trade Commission suggests that you store it in a safe place. Never carry it in your wallet, or write it on checks. If someone requests your Social Security number, be sure to ask how it will be used. 3

5 Personal Banking Safety Review your monthly statements promptly and carefully and immediately report anything that you question. Do not preprint information such as your Social Security number, driver s license, or home telephone number on your checks. Visit to order an annual free credit report. Use passwords that are difficult to guess, and don t use the same password for everything. Computer/Internet Safety Do not reply or click on links in an that informs you that your account will be shut down unless you reconfirm your billing information or provide missing information about your account. Report suspicious activity to the company where you maintain the account. Update your virus protection software regularly. Don t download files from strangers or click on hyperlinks from people you don t know. Opening a file could expose your system to a computer virus or a program that could hijack your modem. Use a firewall, especially if you have a high-speed or always on connection to the Internet. Use a secure browser. Try not to store financial information on your laptop unless absolutely necessary. 4

6 IT S If Your Identity s Been Stolen 1. Place a fraud alert on your credit file and review your credit reports. Call the toll-free fraud number of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert. This can help prevent an identity thief from opening additional accounts in your name. Equifax: Experian: TransUnion: Once you receive your credit reports, review them carefully. Look for inquiries you didn t initiate, accounts you didn t open, and unexplained debts on your true accounts. 2. Close any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. If you re closing existing accounts and opening new ones, use new Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) and passwords. 3. File a police report. File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place. Keep a copy of the report. You may need it to validate your claims to creditors. 5

7 4. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. To file a complaint or to learn more about the FTC s Privacy Policy, visit or call the FTC s Identity Theft Hotline: IDTHEFT ( ). Contact People's Bank immediately if you suspect fraudulent activity on your account: Bridgeport: Danbury: Hartford: New Haven: Norwalk: Norwich: Stamford: All other areas:

8 PROTECT YOUR IDENTITY IT S Copyright 2005 People s Bank. Member FDIC peoples.com MKT /05

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