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Hometown Community Bank

Fraud Alert

Customers, Beware

Today’s world still has much beauty, honest people, and many things for which we are grateful. Unfortunately, there are “red flags” that we must pay attention to to protect ourselves from the theft of confidential information or fraudulent schemes.

We’ve received several governmental alerts in recent months concerning fraudulent activities that dupe individuals into releasing sensitive information to unauthorized people either by phone or mail. Criminals sometimes pose as bank employees in an effort to obtain account information. Be very careful and always call your bank to validate any such request. Once this information is released to the wrong people, an avalanche of fraudulent transactions can take place before you are aware of it.

It’s An Information Jungle Out There!

What is Identity Theft?
How to Protect Yourself?
How Identity Thieves Work?
What to do if you are a victim?
List of Resources and Links

What is Identity Theft?

Sometimes called Account Takeover Fraud involves criminals stealing individuals’ personal information and assuming their identities. They apply for credit cards and open bank accounts, then run up huge bills and don’t pay them making your credit history take a turn for the worst.

How to Protect Yourself?

Nearly one American every minute is a victim of Identity Theft. Follow these tips to avoid becoming a victim of Identity Theft:

How Identity Thieves Work

What to do if you are a victim of Identity Theft

  1. Contact your bank and credit card issuers immediately so that the following can be done:
    • Access to your accounts can be protected
    • Stop payments on missing checks
    • PIN and Online Banking passwords changed
    • A new account can be opened
    • ATM and/or Debit Cards can have alerts placed
  2. File a police report and obtain a report number with the date, time, police department, location and officer’s name. This report may initiate an investigation into the loss with the goal of identifying, arresting and prosecuting the offender and possibly recovering lost items.
  3. Contact the fraud department of each of the three major credit bureaus and report that his or her identity has been stolen. Also, consider placing a "fraud alert" on your file and request that no new credit is granted without prior approval.
  4. Contact the major check verification company to request they notify retailers using their databases not to accept these stolen checks, or ask your bank to notify the service.
  5. For any accounts that have been fraudulently accessed or opened, contact the security department of each affected creditor or financial institution. Consider closing these accounts. Also, on any new accounts you open, consider using a password, but do not use your mother's maiden name or previously used passwords.
  6. Maintain a written chronology of what happened, what was lost and the steps you took to report the incident to the various agencies, banks and firms impacted. Be sure to record the date, time, contact telephone numbers, persons names and any relevant report or reference number and instructions.

Resources and Links

Credit Bureaus

Check Verification Companies