Protect Your Identity
Identity theft is a serious crime where people try to illegally use your personal information for their own gain. Information like your name, address, date of birth, Social Security Number, online banking passwords, Personal Identification Numbers (PINs), credit and debit card numbers are keys to your financial information. When scammers obtain your confidential information, they can charge expenses to your accounts, create new accounts in your name, or use your personal information for other illegal purposes.
How Your Identity Can Be Stolen
Identity thieves look for pieces of your personal information. Here are just a few ways in which thieves might obtain your identity:
- Searching your trash. People who rummage through your trash could find unshredded information like credit card offers, old bills and bank statements.
- Intercepting your mail. Thieves can complete change-of-address forms and receive mail that's intended for you.
- Stealing your wallet or purse. Your wallet or purse can contain a wealth of information about you including your account numbers, address and date of birth.
- Accessing your employer's files. Your place of work stores a lot of your personal and business information and can be a target for identity thieves. Talk to your company's security officer to learn how your information is protected.
- Getting information directly from you. Sometimes, thieves pose as telemarketers, or someone who might have a legitimate reason to ask for your personal information (like your bank, employer or landlord). They even use fake emails and websites to try and obtain information from you.
Signs of Identity Theft
Identity theft is dangerous because it can remain hidden for a relatively long time before it's identified. Here are some signs to help you identify if you've been a target of identity theft:
- Missing mail. A telling sign of identity theft is if you are missing mail or see a significant drop in amount of mail you receive.
- Suspicious transactions. Monitor your accounts, statements and credit reports and look for unusual transactions.
- Unexpected declines. Be alert to any unexpected declines for a loan or a mortgage despite your good credit.
- Strange calls. Calls from a collection agency you don't recognize are another sign that someone has stolen your identity.
- New credit cards. A credit card in the mail that you haven't applied for could be a sign that someone has attempted to steal your identity.
Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
Use caution when disclosing personal and financial information. There are a number of ways you can help protect yourself from identity theft:
- Sign the back of your credit and debit cards or write "Photo ID Required" on the back. This minimizes the possibility of someone else using your card.
- Keep your credit card receipts until you can verify the charges on your statements. Then, shred them before throwing them away.
- Report lost or stolen credit cards immediately. If you lose your credit or debit cards or if they are stolen, it's important that you contact your bank immediately.
- To report a lost or stolen NewBridge Bank debit card, please call 800-472-3272.
- To report a lost or stolen NewBridge Bank credit card, please call 866-563-1335.
- Cancel and destroy all unused cards. Call the banks to cancel the cards and destroy the cards before throwing them out. When you destroy the cards, make sure the numbers are no longer recognizable.
- Leave out personal information on your checks. Don't include your driver's license, telephone or Social Security numbers on your checks. By omitting this information, you keep confidential information away from prying eyes.
- Promptly collect incoming mail. Your incoming mail has clues to your personal information. Make sure you collect it promptly.
- Shred your junk mail. Make sure you shred all your junk mail before you throw it away -- especially credit card offers which could contain confidential information.
- Don't drop your outgoing mail in your mailbox. It is safer to drop your outgoing mail in official Postal Service collection boxes than your mailbox – especially if your mailbox is not locked.
- Review your credit reports. Make sure they're error-free. There are three credit reporting agencies whose reports can show different information. It's best that you review them at least once a year.
- Don't give out your personal information to unsolicited requests. Unsolicited email and pop-up webpage requests for personal information can be scams. If a request seems suspicious, call the company to check it out.
- Keep your personal information in a safe place. Don't store a list of credit card numbers, PIN numbers or passwords in your wallet or on your computer. Memorize this confidential information.
- Call the toll-free number of any of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit report. This can help prevent an identity thief from opening additional accounts in your name. Once the credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the other two credit bureaus will automatically be notified.
- Contact NewBridge Bank’s Client Support Center immediately at 800-456-6505. We are available to answer your calls Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time. If necessary, log into your online banking account and order stop payments.
- Contact any other financial institution with whom you do business and notify them of your situation.
- Contact the local police department and ask to file a miscellaneous incident report. Even if the police do not catch the criminal, having a police report can help you clear up your credit records. Ask for the case number and a copy of the report.
- Contact all the businesses that have opened accounts in your name without your permission. Close the accounts and let the businesses know that the accounts were opened fraudulently. Make sure you communicate with the businesses in writing.
- Notify the Federal Trade Commission. Call 877.ID.THEFT (877-438-4338) or visit www.ftc.gov/idtheft. By sharing your identity theft complaint with the FTC, you will provide information that can help law enforcement officials track down identity thieves.
- Report stolen mail. File a report with the Postal Service. Call your local Postal Inspector or visit www.usps.com.
- Call the Social Security Fraud Hotline. Immediately report that your card has been lost or stolen by calling the Hotline at 800-269-0271.
- Report stolen checks. If your checks have been stolen or misused, stop all payments and contact these check verification companies:
- TeleCheck – 800-710-9898
- Certegy – 800-437-5120
- Alert the Securities and Exchange Commission. If you identify suspicious activity in your investment accounts, call the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) at 800-732-0330.