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Identity Theft

If you believe you have been the victim of identity theft, the Federal Trade Commission has established a Website with resources to help you through the recovery process. That site is located at: https://www.identitytheft.gov

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Identity theft occurs when someone illegally obtains your personal information, such as your Social Security number, date of birth or bank account number and uses it numerous times to open new accounts or initiate transactions in your name. For example, a criminal could use your personal information to open new credit cards, open new bank accounts, make counterfeit checks and apply for loans. Because your personal information can be illegally used in multiple ways, identity theft can cause financial loss, damage to your credit and result in a lengthy resolution process.

While identity theft is often characterized as a high-tech crime affecting only those who shop or do business online, the majority of identity theft occurs offline. Some of the common tactics used by thieves to obtain personal information are decidedly low-tech; stealing wallets and purses, intercepting your mail and rummaging through your garbage.

How to Protect Yourself

You can help protect yourself and your account information by following these simple steps:

  • Delete suspicious emails from unknown sources without opening them.
  • Never provide personal information over the phone or the Internet if you did not initiate the contact. East Wisconsin Savings Bank will never ask you for any private information (such as account numbers, passwords, social security numbers, etc) through an unsolicited email.
  • Purchase a shredder and shred financial and personal documents you no longer need, such as credit card offers, pay stubs and utility bills, before discarding them.
  • Only carry necessary identification in your wallet or purse. For example, do not carry your Social Security card.
  • Do not print your Social Security number on your checks.
  • When a Social Security number is requested, confirm that it is actually needed rather than some other identifier.
  • Use online banking to pay your bills online. The fewer personal documents sent through the mail, the less chance thee is for identity theft.
  • Closely monitor your bank account statements and credit card bills. Contact your financial institution immediately if there's a discrepancy in your records or if you notice something suspicious, such as a missing payment or an unauthorized withdrawal.
  • Do not send confidential information such as account numbers and passwords over the Internet in an email.
  • Avoid using public computers, such as those in libraries, hotels or Internet cafes to connect to online banking sites because of the risk of spyware residing on the public equipment.
  • Reduce the number of credit offers you receive by contacting the National Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies at 1-888-OPTOUT (567-8688) or visiting their site at www.optoutprescreen.com. You can opt out of receiving credit offers for five years or opt out of receiving them permanently.
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