You’ve probably heard of it. You may even know someone who has become a victim of it. Identity Theft is the fastest growing crime in the world, and unfortunately almost anyone can be vulnerable. By taking the following steps to manage your personal information wisely and with timely awareness, you can minimize the risk of it happening to you.
Protect Your Access Cards:
- Never write your PIN or Password on your card or store them in your wallet where they can be found.
- Avoid selecting easily available information to use as a PIN such as your birth date, phone number or address, or any series of consecutive numbers.
- Report a lost or stolen card immediately by calling 413-743-0001 anytime.
Protect Your Personal Information:
- Never give out sensitive information such as your checking or savings account number, credit card number, or social security number by telephone, mail or on the Internet unless you have initiated the contact and you are certain the company is reputable.
- Don’t use links from e-mails or other sites anytime you must provide sensitive information. Type in the company’s web address yourself. Ensure the site is secure by checking the lock symbol at the bottom of your screen.
- Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet, and never give out the number unless it is absolutely necessary.
- Guard your mail from theft. Promptly pick up your mail daily and don’t leave outgoing mail in an unprotected mailbox.
- Shred or destroy any communications that contain any pre-approved offers or personal information before you discard it.
- Secure information at home. Don’t leave your sensitive information lying around, especially if you have roommates or workers in and out.
- Balance your bank statements promptly every month and report any unauthorized transactions to the bank immediately.
- Order a copy of your credit report no less than annually and check it for mistakes or fraud. This may be the first indication you have become a victim of identity theft.
Under the FACT Act amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you are entitled to one free Personal Credit Report in a 12 month period. To request this free annual report, you may contact:
The three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies have always encouraged consumers to regularly review their credit reports. Annualcreditreport.com offers consumers a fast and convenient way to request, view and print their credit reports in a secure Internet environment. You can contact the credit bureaus by clicking on the following links or calling the toll free numbers.
If You’ve Become a Victim
In spite of your best efforts, if you find you’ve become a victim of identity theft, take action immediately! You have rights and protections under the law, but the steps you take upon discovery will limit further damage, and get you on the road to recovering your good credit.
Take These Steps Immediately:
- Call the ID Theft Hotline toll free at 877-438-4338
- Contact the Fraud Departments at any one of the Credit Bureaus. As soon as the credit bureau confirms the alert, the other two bureaus will automatically be notified. The fraud numbers are:
- Place Fraud Alerts on your credit reports.
- Contact the bank. Click here for the phone numbers and hours of our branch offices.
- Contact your credit card companies. Keep the numbers for reporting lost or stolen cards handy. Close any accounts that have been opened or used for fraud.
The Federal Government maintains information about Identity Theft and what to do if you are victimized at ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/.
As you go through the reporting process, be sure and maintain a log of the people you speak to and the time you spoke to them. Gather and copy as much documentation as you can about the fraud.
The bank will assist you in the process as you begin to clear your name and regain your credit standing. Contact your local branch manager for assistance.