What you should know…
Highland Commercial Bank will never request information over the telephone or by e-mail.
Theft, in any form, affects us all resulting in higher prices, lowered trust, and often creating barriers for honest people. The internet has opened many doors for communication and for service, but unfortunately, it has created a new venue for crime. High-tech criminals may use the internet to illegally obtain your personal information, or pose as a legitimate company.
Surprising to most people, identity theft is a very easy crime to commit. In fact, it is estimated that more than 1,400 people are victimized each day.
As your financial institution, we want to provide you with the information necessary to assist you in combating identity theft. One of the best ways to fight fraud is to educate yourself and to be aware of a possible scam, before it occurs. Be cautious when providing your personal information, when in doubt, ask the purpose in collecting the information and then make the decision as to provide it or not.
This brochure will help you identify some of the most widely used scams, and help you know what to do if you are the victim of fraud.
Protect your personal documents, and learn the steps to take to help protect your sensitive, personal information.
Phishing is the use of spam (unsolicited e-mail) to bait consumers into disclosing sensitive personal information such as social security numbers, account numbers, personal identification numbers, passwords and other private data.
Unsolicited e-mails give the appearance of being from legitimate businesses. In fact, phishers usually pick a business that the potential victim actually does business with such as a credit card company, a financial institution, or insurance company. The scam begins as a claim to need to “update” or “validate” their billing information to keep accounts active. To help set the hook, they even direct their potential victims to a website that imitates the look of the legitimate web site—with logos, colors and designs to match. Unsuspecting customers then submit their information to the impostor, who then uses the information to commit identity theft.
Pharming is a very serious criminal activity, which traps unsuspecting customers because of its’ official look. Also high-tech, pharming involves the hijacking of an official website address, and altering the legitimate website IP address so that users who enter the correct web address are directed to a “knock off” of the correct page. Once reaching the fictitious site, user names, passwords and perhaps additional personal information is collected for later illegal use.
Shred financial documents and paperwork with personal information before you discard them. Protect your Social Security number. Don’t carry your card in your wallet or write your Social Security Number on a check. Only provide it if absolutely necessary. Keep your personal information in a secured place at home, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help, or are having repairs done on your home.Use challenging passwords. Obvious passwords such as your birth date, mother’s maiden name, or the last four digits of your Social Security number may be quickly uncovered. Do not give out personal information on the telephone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you know who you are dealing with. Never access 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.
Report unauthorized account activity immediately.
Make a prompt inquiry if bills or statements are not received in a timely manner—this could mean that they are being diverted by an identity thief.