If you suspect misuse of your personal information to commit fraud, take action immediately. Keep a record of all conversations and correspondence when you take the following suggested steps:
Contact your bank(s) & credit card issuers.
Contact your bank(s) & credit card issuers immediately so that the following can be done: Access to your accounts can be protected; stop payments on missing checks; personal identification numbers (PINs) and online banking passwords changed; and a new account opened, if appropriate. Be sure to indicate to the bank or card issuer all of the accounts and/or cards potentially impacted including ATM cards, check (debit) cards and credit cards. Customer service or fraud prevention telephone numbers can generally be found on your monthly statements. Contact the major check verification companies to request they notify retailers using their databases not to accept these stolen checks, or ask your bank to notify the check verification service with which it does business.
Three of the check verification companies that accept reports of check fraud directly from consumers are:
File a police report with your local police department.
Obtain a police report number with the date, time, police department, location and police officer taking the report. The police report may initiate an investigation into the loss with the goal of identifying, arresting and prosecuting the offender and possibly recovering your lost items. The police report will be helpful when clarifying to creditors that you are a victim of identity theft.
Contact the three major credit bureaus.
Contact the three major credit bureaus & request a copy of your credit report. Review your reports to make sure additional fraudulent accounts have not been opened in your name or unauthorized changes made to your existing accounts. Check the section of your report that lists “inquiries.” Request the “inquiries” be removed from your report from the companies that opened the fraudulent accounts. In a few months, order new copies of your reports to verify your corrections and changes to make sure no new fraudulent activity has occurred. Request a “fraud alert” for your file and a victim’s statement asking creditors to call you before opening new accounts or changing your existing ones. This can help prevent an identity thief from opening additional accounts in your name.
The major credit bureaus and their phone numbers are:
Check your mailbox for stolen mail.
Make sure no one has requested an unauthorized address change, title change, PIN change or ordered new cards or checks to be sent to another address. If a thief has stolen your mail to get credit cards, bank and credit card statements, pre-screened credit offers or tax information, or if an identity thief has falsified change-of-address forms, that’s a crime. Contact your local post office and police.
Maintain a written chronology of what happened.
What was lost and the steps you took to report the incident to the various agencies, banks and firms impacted. Be sure to record the date, time, contact telephone numbers, person you talked to and any relevant report or reference number and instructions.
Spoofing and Caller ID
"Spoofing" occurs when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise their identity. Spoofing is often used as part of an attempt to trick someone into giving away valuable personal information so it can be used in fraudulent activity or sold illegally. U.S. law and FCC rules prohibit most types of spoofing.
Caller ID lets consumers avoid unwanted phone calls by displaying caller names and phone numbers, but the caller ID feature is sometimes manipulated by spoofers who masquerade as representatives of banks, creditors, insurance companies, or even the government.:
Phishing is an e-mail fraud method in which the perpetrator sends out legitimate-looking email in an attempt to gather personal and financial information from recipients.
Merchants National Bank is pleased to offer Internet Banking services, including but not limited to Personal Online Banking, Business Banking Online, and Online Bill Pay services. Delivering these services requires a solid security framework that protects data from outside intrusion. We are committed to providing the safest operating environment possible for our customers. The information below summarizes our security framework, which incorporates the latest proven technology. We also encourage you to refer to our Online Security Tips and Identity Theft to access additional information and recommendations for your safety.
User Level security ensures the confidentiality of information sent across the public Internet. You are required to use a fully (Secure Sockets Layer) SSL-compliant 128 bit encrypted browser such as Mozilla Firefox or Microsoft Internet Explorer. SSL allows a user’s browser to establish a secure channel for communicating with our Internet server. SSL utilizes highly effective cryptography techniques between your browser and our server to ensure that the information being passed is authentic, cannot be deciphered, and has not been altered en route. SSL also utilizes a digitally signed certificate which ensures that you are truly communicating with the Internet Banking server and not a third party trying to intercept the transaction.
After a secure connection has been established between your browser and our server, you then provide a valid Access ID and Password to gain access to the services. This information is also encrypted. Although SSL utilizes proven cryptography techniques, it is important to protect your Access ID and Password from others. You must follow the Access ID and Password parameters we specify at the time you sign up for Internet Banking services. We also recommend changing your Password periodically. Session time-outs and a limit on the number of logon attempts are examples of other security measures in place to ensure that inappropriate activity is prohibited at the User Level.
The Banking Server is protected using the latest firewall platform. This platform defends against system intrusions and effectively isolates all but approved customer financial requests. The platform secures the hardware running the Internet Banking services and prevents associated attacks against all systems connected to the Banking Server. The system is monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week for a wide range of anomalies to determine if attempts are being made to breach our security framework.
Once authenticated, the customer is allowed to process authorized Internet Banking services transactions using host data. In addition, communication time-outs ensure that the request is received, processed, and delivered within a given time frame. Any outside attempt to delay or alter the process will fail. Further password encryption techniques are implemented at the host level, as well as additional security logging and another complete physical security layer to protect the host information itself.