Online Safety Tips

Identity Theft

If you are a victim of Identity Theft contact your financial institution immediately and alert it to the situation. If you have disclosed sensitive information in a phishing attack or believe that any of your confidential financial information has been obtained or stolen, you should also contact the authorities and the three major credit bureaus and discuss whether you need to place a fraud alert on you credit file, which will help prevent thieves from opening a new account in your name.

Fact Act

Your individual credit report is one of the most important gauges of your financial health. It is a summary of your financial reliability, telling lenders about your history of paying bills and is used by them to decide whether to loan you money and how much to loan.

A new law makes it easier than ever to access your credit report and to change any errors it might contain, a major step toward establishing and maintaining your good credit and preventing identity theft. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act) assures you free access to your credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

To obtain your free credit reports contact:

Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
Phone – 877.322.8228


What is Phishing?

There's a new type of Internet piracy called "phishing." It's pronounced "fishing," and that's exactly what these thieves are doing: "fishing" for your personal financial information. What they want are account numbers, passwords, Social Security numbers, and other confidential information that they can use to loot your checking account or run up bills on your credit cards.

In the worst case, you could find yourself a victim of identity theft. With the sensitive information obtained from a successful phishing scam, these thieves can take out loans or obtain credit cards and even driver's licenses in your name. They can do damage to your financial history and personal reputation that can take years to unravel. But if you understand how phishing works and how to protect yourself, you can help stop this crime.

How Does Phishing Work?

  • In a typical case, you'll receive an e-mail that appears to come from a reputable company that you recognize and do business with, such as your financial institution, government agency, or a credit card company. Phishing can also occur by phone.
  • The message will describe an urgent reason you must "verify" or "re-submit" personal or confidential information by clicking on a link embedded in the message.
  • The provided link appears to be the Web site of the financial institution, government agency, or other well-known/reputable entity, but in "phishing" scams, the Web site belongs to the fraudster/scammer.
  • Once inside the fraudulent Web site, you may be asked to provide Social Security numbers, account numbers, passwords, or other information used to verify your identity such as mother's maiden name or place of birth.
  • Once this information is provided, those perpetrating the fraud can begin to access your accounts or assume your identity.

How to Protect Yourself

  • Never provide your personal information in response to an unsolicited request.
  • If you believe the contact may be legitimate, contact the financial institution yourself.
  • Never provide your password over the phone or in response to an unsolicited Internet request.
  • Review account statements regularly to ensure all charges are correct.
  • Do not be intimidated by an e-mail or caller who suggests dire consequences if you do not immediately provide or verify financial information.
  • If you fall victim to attack, act immediately to protect yourself. Alert your financial institution(s). Place fraud alerts on your credit files.
  • Report suspicious e-mails or calls to the Federal Trade Commission through the Internet, or by calling 1.877.IDTHEFT.