PROTECT YOUR IDENTITY WEEK
For Immediate Release
Waxahachie, TX – Nearly 10 million Americans fell victim to identity theft in 2008 according to the Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Database.
“With October 17-23 being National Protect Your Identity Week, we are taking this time to educate the public on ways to avoid identity theft,” said Mark Singleton president and CEO of CNB of Texas.
Identity Theft involves criminals stealing individuals’ personal credit information and assuming their identities by applying for credit in their names, running up huge bills, stiffing creditors and generally wrecking victims’ credit histories. Research from the Federal Trade Commission shows that victims spend an average of $372 in repairing their personal credit record and experience a loss of $1,882 in goods and services.
“Knowing how to protect yourself, monitoring your personal financial information and keeping your contact information current with your bank are just a few of the best lines of defense when protecting yourself from predators.
If you are a customer of CNB, when you visit or call the bank this week, you will be asked to verify your contact information. We are doing this as a means to keep the most accurate information about our customers in case we catch fraud on their account and need to contact them,” adds Singleton.
Individuals can take precautions to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft by:
· Checking the activity of your banking accounts and credit cards regularly through online validation services offered by your financial institution or credit card issuers.
· Never giving out your Social Security or other sensitive financial information if you do not know the person or company requesting that personal data. CNB of Texas will never contact a customer by email or text to obtain sensitive financial information.
· Keeping all documents with personal information locked away in a secure location.
· Shredding all documents that contain your personal information.
· Carrying only those credit cards that you need in your wallet.
· Collecting mail promptly.
· Receiving your monthly statements by email.
· Signing up for online banking and online bill pay.
· Reconciling monthly bank, credit card or bill statements regularly to verify activity.
· Using direct deposit for your payroll checks.
· Taking advantage of your “one free credit report” annually.
· For accounts that need passwords, keep those codes hidden and create passwords that are unique.
· Signing up for debit card alerts to notify you when your card number or card is used.
· Don’t open emails from unknown sources and use virus detection software.
“With CNB’s Debit Card Alerts, we have been able to catch and prevent many attempts on identity theft. Customers receive an email or text alert any time their card or card number is used, so they know immediately if someone has tried to use their card. It’s one of the best services a customer can use to protect themselves against theft,” said Singleton.
If you suspect fraudulent activity on your account, call your bank immediately so they can cancel your debit or credit card and/or close your account to prohibit any further abuse.
“CNB’s Customer Contact Center is open 7 days a week to give customers the opportunity to talk to a live banker instead of a machine. We encourage customers to contact us immediately if they suspect fraud or if they receive a suspicious email asking for account information. The earlier that fraud is detected, the better chance that we have at stopping any further loss and hopefully catching the thief,” explains Singleton.
Now is a great time to take advantage of the many benefits your bank offers to protect your good name. With the holidays approaching, criminals will be looking for more ways to take advantage of unsuspecting individuals.
For more information about the products and services that CNB of Texas offers to help you protect your identity, please call 972-938-4300 or visit www.cnboftexas.com.