ID Theft & Phishing
Identity Theft Prevention
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft can occur in a number of different ways. Identity theft occurs when someone illegally obtains your personal information - such as your Social Security number, bank account number, or other identification - and uses it repeatedly to open new accounts or initiate transactions in your name.
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 do damage to your financial history and personal reputation that can take years to unravel. If you know what to look for and how it happens, you can self-detect identity theft before it happens, minimizing losses.
Always keep in mind that California International Bank, N.A. will not send you unsolicited emails with embedded links or pop-up windows that ask for confidential information. We will never ask you to provide personal information or account information via our Web site or by email. If you ever receive a suspicious request for confidential information that purports to be from California International Bank, N.A., do not respond to it and do not click on any links that it provides. Report the request to any of our Customer Relationship Personnel or Operations Officer at any of our locations.
** On January 2006, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) released an on-line multimedia education tool that consumers can use to learn how to better protect their computers and themselves from identity thieves. The presentation is on the FDIC's website at http://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/guard/index.html
**Most recently, on October 21, 2009, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has published a variety of Web resources that help consumers to understand the risks as well as how to safeguard their personal information against theft. Please visit:
What identity thieves can do?
Using everyday items such as your driver's license or Social Security number to assume your identity, an identity thief can:
- Open new bank accounts, and write bad checks.
- Establish new credit card accounts and not pay the bills.
- Obtain personal or car loans.
- Get cash advances.
- Set up cellular phones or utility services and run up bills.
- Change your credit card mailing address and charge on your existing accounts.
- Counterfeit checks or credit or debit cards, or authorize electronic transfers in your name, and deplete your bank account. Obtain employment.
- Rent an apartment, but avoid the payments, and get evicted.
- File for bankruptcy under your name to avoid paying debts they have incurred under you name.
- Give your name to the police during an arrest. If they don't show up for their court date, a warrant for arrest is issued in your name.
How identity thieves do it
Identity theft can occur in a number of different ways. But if you know what to look for and how it happens, you can minimize your overall risk. Here are some common scenarios to watch out for:
Lost or stolen information like Social Security cards, checkbooks, credit cards, debit cards or your mail can provide criminals with enough data to commit fraud or sell the information to an organized crime ring.
Onlookers at the ATM or in stores may get your PIN while you are using your debit card.
Mail theft. Thieves search mailboxes for pre-approved credit offers, bank statements, tax forms, or convenience checks. They also look for credit card payment envelopes that have been left for postal carrier pick-up.
Change of address. Identity thieves may complete a “Change of Address” form to divert your mail to another location.
Dumpster diving means that thieves rummage through your trash, the trash of businesses, or public trash dumps for pieces of non-shredded personal information that they can use or sell.
Insider jobs are also a threat to your security. An employee of a business such as a doctor's office or financial services company may illegally access personal information and sell it to identity thieves. Half of all identity fraud is committed by friends, family members, relatives, employees, and live-in caregivers with access to privileged information. Information such as personnel records, payroll information, insurance files, account numbers, or sales records can be great help to any identity thief.
Imposters. Many have fallen victim to identity theft by individuals who fraudulently posed as someone who had a legitimate or legal reason to access the victim's personal information (e.g., a landlord or employer asking for background information).
Documents in the home. Unfortunately, identity thieves can gain legitimate access into someone's home and personal information through household work, babysitting, healthcare, friends, or roommates.
On the phone (Pretexting), you may be tricked into providing information to someone disguising themselves as a legitimate business representative like your phone company, a department store, a survey firm, or cable company. Pretexting is the practice of getting your personal information under false pretenses. Once the pretexters have the information they need, they sell your information to people who may use it to get credit in your name, steal your assets, or to investigate or sue you.
The Internet creates a place that criminals collect critical personal information. They use the Internet to look for personal pages that contain information like genealogical data with your mother's maiden name that can be used to set up a credit card account or possibly access existing accounts. Account information sent through email, or online chat, can easily be intercepted by thieves.
Phishing is an attempt to steal confidential information from consumers through the use of "pop-ups" or emails. These emails have Internet links to deceive you into disclosing sensitive information such as bank account numbers and Social Security numbers. Oftentimes the email appears as if it comes from a trusted source. It directs you to a “spoof” website that encourages you to divulge sensitive information. California International Bank, N.A. will never send email requiring customers to send personal information or account information via email or pop-up windows.
Skimmers are devices used to read the magnetic strip from your credit card or bank card. They are often hidden in places where you legitimately use your card to make a transaction like an ATM or a restaurant. Your information is typically used within 24 hours of the skim to make online purchases.
How to recognize fraud
Listed below are tips for recognizing whether you have possibly been a victim of identity theft:
- If you did not receive an expected bill or statement by mail. Follow up with creditors if your bills don't arrive on time. A missing bill could mean an identity thief has taken over your account and changed your billing address to cover his/her tracks.
- If unexpected charges occurred on your account.
- If there are charges on your account from unrecognized vendors.
- If posted checks appear on your account significantly out of sequence.
- If you receive credit cards that you didn't apply for.
- If you are denied credit or are offered less than favorable credit terms for no reason.
- If you get calls from creditors or debt collectors regarding merchandise or services that you did not buy.
If an identity thief is opening credit accounts in your name, these accounts are likely to show up on your credit report. To find out, you can order a free credit report once a year from each of the three major credit bureaus at Annual Credit Report Request Service: www.annualcreditreport.com. For a fee you can obtain a copy at any time directly from the credit bureaus.
How to protect your identity
In many cases involving identity theft, months pass before the victim is aware of any wrongdoing. Simply monitoring your credit card and account statements on a weekly basis can greatly decrease your identity theft risk. In fact, the majority of identity theft crimes are self-detected. And according to a recent report by the Better Business Bureau, accessing accounts online provides earlier identity theft detection compared to monitoring monthly paper statements and bills.
Reconcile your bank and credit card statements monthly. Make sure that there is nothing suspicious or out of the ordinary on your statements.
- Protect your passwords. Memorize your passwords. Do not write them down or share them with anyone. Change them regularly and use combinations of letters and numbers. Do not use your Social Security number as a username or password.
- Guard your Personal Identification Numbers (PINs). Do not keep your PIN with any of your credit, debit or ATM cards.
- Memorize your numbers and/or passwords. Do not write your Social Security number or passwords on paper and store them in your wallet or purse.
- Report lost or stolen checks, credit cards or debit cards immediately.
Use credit and debit cards safely.
- Cancel all inactive credit card accounts.
- When using your credit card do not volunteer any personal information.
- If you've applied for a credit card and have not received the card in a timely manner, immediately notify the appropriate financial institution.
- Closely monitor the expiration dates on your credit cards and debit cards. Contact the card issuer if the replacement card is not received prior to your card's expiration date.
- Sign all new cards upon receipt.
- Match your credit card receipts against monthly bills to make sure there are no unauthorized charges.
Be wary of "Phishing" emails that appear to be from a valid company or financial institution requesting confidential information. Legitimate organizations typically do not send unsolicited emails asking for confidential information. Do not reply to these emails or click on links embedded within them. California International Bank, N.A., will never ask you to provide personal information or account information via our Web site or by email. If you ever receive a suspicious request for confidential information that purports to be from California International Bank, N.A., do not respond to it and do not click on any links that it provides. Report the request to any of our Customer Relationship Personnel or Operations Officer at any of our locations.
- Do not give out information such as account numbers, credit card or Social Security numbers over the phone unless your initiated the call.
- Avoid passwords that are easy to discover like your mother's maiden name or your birth date. Regularly change your passwords. Also, create a username that is unique and difficult for others to guess.
- Shred all documents containing personal information. For example, bills, bank statements, ATM receipts, and credit card offers before you discard them.
- Keep your personal documentation (e.g., birth certificate, Social Security card, etc.) and your bank and credit card records in a secure place. Make photocopies of all the information you carry daily and store them in a secure location like a safe deposit box.
- Limit the personal information that you carry in your wallet or purse.
- Monitor your mailbox. Promptly remove mail from your mailbox and deposit your outgoing mail in U.S. Postal Service collection boxes or at your local U.S. Post Office rather than in your unsecured home mailbox.
- Take receipts at ATMs, bank counters, or unattended gasoline pumps with you. Remember to take receipts with you after any purchases at grocery and retail stores.
- Prior to discarding a computer, make sure all personal information is deleted from its hard drive and then re-format the hard drive. For maximum protection, destroy the hard drive before discarding the computer.
- Review your credit reports at least once a year for any inaccuracies. You can order a free credit report once a year from each of the three major credit bureaus at Annual Credit Report Request Service. For a fee you can obtain a copy at any time directly from the credit bureaus.
If you think you are a victim of identity theft, take action immediately.
Contact the local police, your bank(s), the three major credit reporting agencies and the Federal Trade Commission. Your account may be compromised, and you may want to close your existing account and open a new one.
Call the three major credit bureaus to request that a fraud alert to be placed on your credit report or to seek for appropriate assistance.
- Equifax: www.equifax.com - (800) 525-6285
- Experian: www.experian.com - (888) 397-3742
- TransUnion: www.transunion.com - (800) 680-7289
Contact Annual Credit Report Request Service
P. O. Box 105281,
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
P. O. Box 105281,
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
- Report any suspicious activities immediately. Scrutinize any charges on your account statements carefully to ensure that they are legitimate. If there is a questionable transaction or a fraudulent transaction, report it right away.
- Contact your local police department. Financial fraud is a crime.
- Call the Federal Trade Commission's ID Theft hotline at (877) IDTHEFT to report it. Filing a complaint to the FTC will take a report, notify law enforcement officials and offer advice.
- Notify the Postal Inspector if you suspect mail theft. It is a felony.
- Contact the Social Security Administration to get a new Social Security number if you believe it is being used by a thief.
- Keep detailed notes of your repair efforts.