CTBeacon: From Citizens Trust Bank Information Technology
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), identify theft occurs when someone uses an individual’s personal identifying information, without permission, to commit fraud or other crimes. More than 11 million Americans have their identity stolen every year.* And, according to the FTC, identity theft has been the number one consumer complaint for over 10 consecutive years.** So, how can you protect yourself from such a widespread crime? By following simple precautions, you can beat the odds of identity theft.
Create Passwords Using Uncommon Information
One of the simplest things you can do is create passwords for online login information that contain uncommon information and a mixture of numbers, symbols, and letters. Your birth date, Social Security Number, and phone number, as well as your mother’s maiden name, are all examples of readily available information that should not be used as a password. Be sure to avoid any sort of personal password that can be traced to you. Additionally, avoid using the same password for all of your personal or professional business; change them as much as possible.
Securely Store Your Personal Information
Your personal information should be stored in a secure location whether at home or at work. Items such as checks, social security numbers, bills, etc., should be kept under lock and key. At work, be sure to keep your personal belongings locked in a secure place as well. Never give out personal information over the telephone, online or through the mail unless you have initiated the contact. You should always ask why certain information is required in any sort of membership or application process.
Guard Your Mail and Trash
It is also important to guard your mail and trash. You should deposit outgoing mail in secure post office collection boxes or at your local post office rather than in your mailbox where anyone walking by can access that information. If you go on vacation, you should put a hold on your mail delivery through the U.S. Postal Service. With regards to trash, you should always tear, cut or shred any personal information (e.g., financial statements, expired credit cards, pre-approved credit offers, physician statements, insurance forms, receipts, etc.) prior to throwing it in the trash can.
Carry a Limited Number of Credit Cards; Never Other Unnecessary Identification
Another precaution to take is to carry a limited amount of credit cards, bringing only those that you will need during the day. Additionally, you should not carry your passport or birth certificate in your wallet unless you are required to do so, and you should never carry your Social Security Number (SSN). Only give out your SSN when absolutely necessary; never put it on your driver’s license or personal checks. Furthermore, you should keep your health or medical cards secure, especially if they list your SSN on them.
Pay Attention to Billing Cycles and Statements
As a consumer, you should be aware of your billing cycles for all credit cards and other financial bills. Follow up with your creditors if bills do not get to you on time. Also, make sure to pay attention to your financial statements and balance your checking accounts on a regular basis. This will protect you from any type of unauthorized charge or purchase.
Review Your Credit Report
By law, every person has the right to obtain one free credit report every 12 months. There is only one website authorized to fill orders for this free annual credit report: www.annual creditreport.com. If you find any discrepancy in your credit report, please contact the credit agency and your creditor as soon as possible.
At Citizens Trust Bank we diligently protect your identity from any intrusions. We are required to keep your personal financial information safe and sound and are committed to doing so. If you have any questions about your personal financial information, or you believe one of your accounts has been accessed without your authorization, please call us immediately at 678.4064000.