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The State Bank of Cherry

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Identity Theft                                                         

Identity Theft and You - When your name and Credit History are on the line

The FBI says identity theft is the fastest growing white-collar crime in the nation. Identity thieves need only obtain your name, address, and bank or credit card number, or even social security to take over your identity.

Protecting Yourself Against Identity Theft

This is chiefly your responsibility. You are in the best position to protect your own identity by taking some basic precautions. The list that follows suggests some of the things you can do.

  • Use passwords on all accounts and your PC that are difficult to guess-and don't use the same password for everything. Don't use passwords that relate to family names, birthdates, your SSN, addresses or your job.

  • Do not keep passwords on you, and don't write such information on debit or ATM cards.

  • Be careful what you throw in the trash such as bills, cancelled checks, account statements, marketing solicitations and similar documents.

  • Shred or tear up your charge receipts, credit card solicitations, expired cards, statements, checks and other sensitive personal information.

  • Carry only the identification and bank/credit cards you actually need.

  • Review your monthly statements promptly and carefully and immediately report anything that you question, or if the bill does not arrive on time.

  • Call your credit card company immediately if your new card has not arrived.

  • Destroy and cancel old, unwanted or unused credit cards. Cutting them up is not enough.

  • Don't give private information to anyone unless you are positive who the person is and that there is a legitimate need for the information.

  • Never lend your password to anyone-you will probably be responsible for anything that results.

  • Guard your mail. Deposit outgoing mail at the post office rather than in your mailbox. Promptly remove mail from your mailbox.

  • Be absolutely positive of the identity of anyone telephoning you to request personal information. Be especially cautious of anyone claiming to be a law enforcement official. Arrange to call the person back, using a phone number you can verify in the phone book.

  • Do not give personal data over the phone, through the mail, or on the Internet unless you have initiated the contact.

  • Periodically check your credit report to see if there are loans or credit cards outstanding that you don't know about.

  • Never write down PINs - memorize them and do not use any part of your social security number, mother's maiden name, birth date or address.

  • Guard YOUR social security number. NEVER carry it in your wallet, or write it on checks.

  • Give your social security number only when absolutely necessary. Ask to use other identifiers.

  • Be careful and mindful of who is around you at ATMs and when using phone cards. "Shoulder surfers" can get your PIN number and gain access to your account.