ATM/DEBIT Card Security
- Treat your card like cash. Keep it in a safe place.
- Keep your personal identification number (PIN) a secret.
- Do not disclose card information over the phone to anyone. No one needs to know your PIN, not even your financial institution.
- Report a lost or stolen card at once.
- Carefully review your account statements.
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Security Tips at Walk-Up ATMs
- Observe the ATM surroundings before approaching a walk-up ATM. If anyone or anything appears to be suspicious, cancel your transaction and leave the area at once.
- If an ATM is obstructed from view or poorly lit, go to another ATM. It is a good idea to take along a companion when using an ATM, especially at night.
- Minimize time spent at the ATM by having your card out and ready to use. Do not let anyone see how much money you withdrew, and never count your money at the ATM.
- Never allow a stranger to assist you in conducting an ATM transaction, even if you have trouble or if your card is stuck.
- Stand between the ATM and anyone waiting to use the terminal so that others cannot see your PIN or transaction amount.
- Look for possible fraudulent devices attached to the ATM. If the ATM looks different or appears to have any alterations or attachments to the card slot or PIN pad, do not use it.
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Security Tips at Drive-Up ATMs
- Keep the doors locked, windows up and engine running at all times when waiting in line.
- Leave enough room between cars to allow for a quick exit should it become necessary.
- Before lowering the window to use a drive-up ATM, observe the entire surrounding area. If anyone or anything appears to be suspicious, cancel your transaction and drive away at once.
- Minimize time spent at the ATM by having your card out and ready to use. Once your transaction is complete, take your money, card and receipt and immediately drive away from the terminal.
- If anyone follows you after you have completed your ATM transaction, go immediately to a crowded, well-lit area and call the police.
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Point-of-Sale (POS) Security
- Never allow the cashier or anyone else to enter your PIN for you, even if they are assisting you with the transaction.
- Block the view of others when using a POS terminal.
- Be sure the transaction is complete and you have received a receipt before leaving.
- If you received cash back, put it away before leaving the terminal.
- When using an outdoor POS terminal such as at a gas station, observe your surroundings before making a transaction. If anything looks suspicious, leave the area at once.
- It is a good idea to take someone with you when using an outdoor POS terminal at night.
- If anyone follows you after you have completed your POS transaction, go immediately to a crowded, well-lit area and call the police.
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Preventing Debit Card Fraud
- Sign immediately. Sign the signature panel on your debit card as soon as you receive it.
- Memorize your PIN. Don't carry your PIN (Personal Identification Number). Memorize it or keep the number at home.
- Verify your card. Be sure your debit card is returned after a purchase, and that it is indeed your card.
- Wait for your card receipt. Don't leave your debit card receipts at the checkout counter. Always take your charge slips and tear up any carbons.
- Save your receipts. Check them against your monthly billing or account statements to make sure you can identify all of your transactions. Report any unauthorized transactions immediately. After you have reconciled your billing statements, tear up all receipts and discard them at home.
- Check statements and watch your charges. Verify that your monthly statement reflects the amount you authorized. Be cautious when giving your card number over the phone. Also, watch for multiple charges.
- Keep it private. Keep your statements in a safe place.
- Out of sight. Never leave your purse or wallet unattended and always keep your cards out of plain sight.
- Never lend your card. Your debit card is your responsibility. Also, periodically check to make sure you have all your cards.
- Keep a list. In a separate location, keep a list of account numbers and telephone numbers to call if your cards are lost or stolen.
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Con artists now use email to try to hijack your personal financial information. In a scam known as "phishing," swindlers claim to be from a reputable company and send out thousands of fake emails in hopes that consumers will respond with their bank account information, credit card numbers, passwords or other sensitive information. A variation of this scheme is known as “vishing” in which the swindlers direct consumers to contact their bank via a telephone number provided in an e-mail or by an automated recording.
These emails can look quite convincing, with company logos and banners copied from actual Web sites. Often, they will tell you that their security procedure has changed or that they need to update (or validate) your information, and then direct you to a look-alike Web site or to a telephone number. If you respond, the thieves use your information to order goods and services or obtain credit.
To avoid becoming a victim of a phishing scam, the American Bankers Association offers these tips:
- Never give out your personal financial information in response to an unsolicited phone call, fax or email, no matter how official it may seem.
- Do not respond to email that may warn of dire consequences unless you validate your information immediately. Contact the company to confirm the email's validity using a telephone number or Web address you know to be genuine.
- Check your credit card and bank account statements regularly and look for unauthorized transactions, even small ones. Some thieves hope small transactions will go unnoticed. Report discrepancies immediately.
- When submitting financial information to a Web site, look for the padlock or key icon at the bottom of your browser, and make sure the Internet address begins with "https." This signals that your information is secure during transmission.
- Report suspicious activity to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center.
- If you have responded to an email, contact your bank immediately so they can protect your account and your identity. For information on identity theft, click here.
- For more information on phishing, visit the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Trade Commission or the Anti-Phishing Working Group.
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FIGHTING BACK AGAINST IDENTITY THEFT
Common Ways ID Theft Happens
Skilled identity thieves use a variety of methods to steal your personal information, including:
- Dumpster Diving. They rummage through trash looking for bills or other paper with your personal information on it.
- Skimming. They steal credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card.
- Phishing. They pretend to be financial institutions or companies and send spam or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal information.
- Changing Your Address. They divert your billing statements to another location by completing a "change of address" form.
- "Old-Fashioned" Stealing. They steal wallets and purses; mail, including bank and credit card statements; pre-approved credit offers; and new checks or tax information. They steal personnel records from their employers, or bribe employees who have access.
Identity theft is a serious crime. It occurs when your personal information is stolen and used without your knowledge to commit fraud or other crimes. Identity theft can cost you time and money. It can destroy your credit and ruin your good name.
Deter identity thieves by safeguarding your information.
- Shred financial documents and paperwork with personal information before you discard them.
- Protect your Social Security number. Don't 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 identifier.
- Don't give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you know who 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 OnGuardOnline.gov for more information.
- Don't use an obvious password like your birth date, your mother's maiden name, or the last four digits of your Social Security number.
- Keep your personal information in a secure place at home, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help, or are having work done in your house.
Detect suspicious activity by routinely monitoring your financial accounts and billing statements.
Be alert to signs that require immediate attention:
- Bills that do not arrive as expected
- Unexpected credit cards or account statements
- Denials of credit for no apparent reason
- Calls or letters about purchases you did not make
Your credit report. Credit reports contain information about you, including what accounts you have and your bill paying history.
The law requires the major nationwide consumer reporting companies-Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion-to give you a free copy of your credit report each year if you ask for it.
Visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1-877-322-8228, a service created by these three companies, to order your free credit reports each year. You also can write: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
Your financial statements. Review financial accounts and billing statements regularly, looking for charges you did not make.
Defend against ID theft as soon as you suspect it.
Place a "Fraud Alert" on your credit reports, and review the reports carefully. The alert tells creditors to follow certain procedures before they open new accounts in your name or make changes to your existing accounts. The three nationwide consumer reporting companies have toll-free numbers for placing an initial 90-day fraud alert; a call to one company is sufficient:
Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)
Placing a fraud alert entitles you to free copies of your credit reports. Look for inquiries from companies you haven't contacted, accounts you didn't open, and debts on your accounts that you can't explain.
Close accounts. Close any accounts that have been tampered with or established fraudulently.
Call the security or fraud departments of each company where an account was opened or changed without your okay. Follow up in writing, with copies of supporting documents.
Use the ID Theft Affidavit at ftc.gov/idtheft to support your written statement.
Ask for verification that the disputed account has been closed and the fraudulent debts discharged.
Keep copies of documents and records of your conversations about the theft.
File a police report. File a report with law enforcement officials to help you with creditors who may want proof of the crime.
Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Your report helps law enforcement officials across the country in their investigations.
By phone: 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338) or TTY, 1-866-653-4261
By mail: Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580
To learn more about ID theft and how to deter, detect, and defend against it, visit ftc.gov/idtheft. Or request copies of ID theft resources by writing to:
Consumer Response Center
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, H-130
Washington, DC 20580
The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
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IDENTITY THEFT: DON'T BE AN EASY TARGET
With sufficient information, a con artist can become "you" and use your identity to order new credit cards, make counterfeit cards or checks, or otherwise go on a spending spree in your name. It's called identity theft or ID theft, and it's a serious problem.
In general, consumers are protected against liability for unauthorized accounts or transactions. However, innocent victims of ID theft sometimes do suffer losses. And if the crime is not detected early, people may face months or years cleaning up the damage to their reputation and credit rating. The evolution of ID theft includes the spread of fraudulent "phishing" (pronounced "fishing") emails. These are unsolicited emails purportedly from a legitimate source, like your bank, attempting to trick you into divulging personal information.
Here is our "to do" list for keeping your identity to yourself.
- Protect your Social Security number (SSN), credit card and debit card numbers, PINs (personal identification numbers), passwords and other personal information.
- Never provide your personal information in response to an unsolicited request - whether it is over the phone or over the Internet.
- Protect your incoming and outgoing mail.
- Keep a close watch on your bank account statements and credit card bills.
- Exercise your rights to review your credit report and report fraudulent activity - ask us about the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA)
- Keep your financial trash "clean" - shred your personal financial information
Your personal and financial information can be as good as cash to a criminal. So, take ID theft seriously. Contact your nearest Citizens First Bank branch for more help on how to protect yourself.
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Click on the links below for further information:
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