Tips to Protect Your Information and Prevent Identity Theft
- Secure your Social Security number (SSN). Don't carry your Social Security card in your wallet. Only give out your SSN when necessary.
- Do not share personal information (birthdate, SSN, bank account number, or PINs) just because someone asks for it.
- Collect mail every day. Place mail on hold when you travel.
- Pay attention to your billing cycles. Contact your financial institution if your statements are late.
- Use the security features on your mobile phone.
- Update sharing and firewall settings when you are on a public wi-fi network. Use a virtual private network (VPN) if you use public wi-fi.
- Receipts with account statements. Watch for unauthorized transactions.
- Shred receipts, credit offers, account statements, and expired credit cards. This can prevent “dumpster divers” from getting your personal information.
- Store personal information in a safe place.
- Install firewalls and virus detection software on your home computer.
- Create secure PINs and passwords. Do not use birth dates, parts of your Social Security or driver's license numbers, your address or your spouse’s or children's names, for example. Someone trying to steal your identity probably has some or all of this information. Change your passwords if a company that you do business with has a breach of its databases.
- Review your credit reports at least once a year. Be certain that they do not include accounts that you have not opened.
How to Report Identity Theft
Identity theft can start when someone gets and misuses your personal information, such as your name and Social Security number, credit card number, or other financial account information.
The thieves might use a variety of methods to steal your information, including:
- Skimming: Stealing credit/debit card numbers by using a special device on ATMs or at point of purchase.
- Phishing: Pretending to be a financial institution or other company and sending email or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal information.
- If you have received an e-mail, text message or phone call that you want to make sure is from Genesis Bank, you may contact us at 1-888-811-7531 to verify the authenticity of the message. We will never request you for your PIN or password over the phone, by e-mail or text message. We may ask for this information only when you call us to discuss your account. To avoid being a victim of fraud, always reconsider before providing sensitive information online.
- Pretexting: Pretending to be you when they call financial institutions, phone companies and other sources to get additional information.
- Dumpster diving: Rummaging through trash looking for bills, financial statements, and documents containing personal information.
- Redirecting your mail: Filling out a change-of-address form to have your billing statements sent to an address they choose.
- Stealing: Stealing wallets and purses, mail (including bank and credit card statements), pre-approved credit offers, new checks or tax information; they can even steal a company’s personnel records or enlist employees who have access to your information.
- Pop-ups and Viruses: Clicking on pop-up ads that triggers your computer to download a virus or spyware.
If you suspect that you are a victim of identity theft, it is important to act as quickly as possible to minimize the damage to your finances and your credit standing.
- Notify your creditor or financial institution of any identified unauthorized transactions on your account and ask to file a claim. If you are a Genesis Bank customer, contact Genesis Bank at 1-888-811-7531, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT.
- Create an identity theft report by filing a complaint with the FTC on their website or call 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338). Your complete complaint is called an FTC Affidavit. Take your FTC Affidavit to your local police or the police where the theft occurred and file a police report. Do not forget to get a copy for yourself.
- Flag your credit reports by contacting one of the three nationwide credit reporting companies and ask for a fraud alert or freeze on your credit report. An initial fraud alert is good for one year. As soon as one of the bureaus issues a fraud alert, the other two are automatically notified. Additionally, you should order a copy of your credit report and review the information carefully. If you see mistakes or signs of fraud, contact the credit reporting company immediately.
- Contact the Social Security Administration if your Social Security card has been lost or stolen and you would like to request a (replacement) new card. Contact the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 or visit socialsecurity.gov.