What you should know…
Harrison County Bank will never request information over the telephone or by e-mail.
Theft, in some form, affects us all. The internet has increased the opportunity for communication and service, but unfortunately, it has also created a new venue for crime. High-tech criminals may use the internet to illegally obtain your personal information. Many criminals do this by posing as legitimate companies.
Surprising to most people, identity theft is a crime that is easily committed. In fact, it is estimated that more than 1,400 people are victimized each day.
As your financial institution, we strive to provide you with the information necessary to assist you in combating identity theft. One of the best ways to fight fraud is to be educated and be aware of a possible scam, before it occurs. Be cautious when providing your personal information, especially over the telephone or the internet. When in doubt, ask why the information is being collected and then make the decision whether or not to provide it.
This information will help you identify some of the most widely used scams. It will also help you know what to do if you are, or have been, a victim of fraud.
It is important to protect your personal documents, and learn the steps to take in order 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 appear to be from legitimate businesses. In fact, phishers usually pick a business that the potential victim actually does business with such as a credit card company, financial institution, or insurance company. The scam begins as a claim with the need to “update” or “validate” their personal information to keep accounts open or active. Often to show authenticity, they even direct their potential victims to a website that imitates the look of the legitimate web site—including logos, colors, designs, and layout. Unsuspecting customers then submit their information to the impostor, who in turn uses it to commit identity theft.
Pharming is a very serious criminal activity, which traps unsuspecting customers because of its official look. Pharming involves the hijacking of an official website address, and then redirecting the victim to a “knock off” of the correct page. Once reaching the fictitious site, user names, passwords and additional personal information is collected for illegal use.
Protect Yourself Online …
- Keep your personal information in a secure place at home. If you have roommates, employ outside help, or are having repairs done on your home, this is especially important.
- Use complex passwords. Obvious passwords such as your birth date, mother’s maiden name, or the last four digits of your Social Security number may be cracked more easily.
- Do not give out personal information on the telephone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you can verify the authenticity of the request.
- Never access links sent in spam (unsolicited emails); instead, type in a website address you know.
- Use firewalls, anti-spyware, and anti-virus software to protect your personal computer. It is important these programs are kept up-to-date.
- Report unauthorized account activity immediately to your account representative, investigative authorities, and/or the credit reporting agencies.