Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information without your permission and commits fraud.
Identity theft is a crime and action must be taken immediately when it occurs. To find out how to minimize your risk and what steps to take if you have been victimized, visit the Federal Trade Commission ID Theft Website. If you believe your Silver Lake Bank accounts have been tampered with, notify the bank immediately by phoning 1.877.232.0102.
Important Information from the Topeka Police Financial Crimes Unit
The Topeka Police Financial Crimes Unit would like to pass on important information to help protect you against Identity Theft. This year alone, identity theft and fraud relating to electronic payments such as ATM, Debit Card, and online transactions will strike millions of Americans. It is vital that you recognize how to protect yourself against this type of crime. Identity Theft occurs when your personal information is stolen and used without your knowledge to acquire new bank or credit card accounts, secure loans, open new utility services, or obtain a home mortgage.
Some of the ways criminals obtain your personal information:
- Dumpster diving – they rummage through trash looking for bills or other paper with your personal information on it.
- Skimming – They steal credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card.
- Phishing – They pretend to be financial institutions or companies and send spam or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal information.
- Changing your address – They divert your billing statements to another location by completing a change of address form.
- "Old Fashioned" stealing – They steal wallets and purses, pre-approved credit card offers, new checks or tax information. They steal personnel records from their employers, or pay employees who have access to them.
To protect against becoming a victim of identity theft:
- Shred any documents with personal information before you discard them.
- Protect your social security number, don't carry it in your wallet or purse. Don't give it out unless absolutely necessary and never use it as a password.
- Don't give out personal information on the phone, through the mail , or over the Internet unless you know who you are dealing with.
- Don't use an obvious password like your birth date, your mother's maiden name, or last four digits of your social security number.
- Keep your personal information in a secure place at home, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help, or having work done in your house
- Never leave your checkbook, purse, wallet, or other important documents in your vehicle.
What you should do if you do become a victim of identity theft:
- File a police report.
- Cancel or close any accounts or cards that may have been compromised or opened without your authorization.
- Report to the three major credit bureaus that you are a victim of identity theft and have a fraud alert placed on your file.
- Request a free copy of your credit report.
The major credit bureaus:
- Equifax 1.866.349.5191
- Experian 1.800.509.8495
- Trans Union 1.800.916.8800
For more information feel free to contact the Topeka Police Financial Crimes Unit at 785.368.9078 or Silver Lake Bank at 877.232.0102.
Topeka Police Dept. Financial Crimes Unit
Cyber-Defense Tactics to Protect Your Personal Information
On-line fraud takes advantage of the Internet's unique capabilities: sending e-mail messages worldwide in seconds or posting website information that is readily accessible from anywhere in the world to carry out fraud quicker than ever possible in the past. Here is how you can be on the defense.
- If you receive an e-mail warning you that your account will be shut down unless you reconfirm certain information, do not click on the e-mail link. Instead, use a phone number or enter the web address yourself. Clicking on a link that looks legitimate may direct you to a fraudulent website.
- Before submitting any financial information to a legitimate website, look for the "lock" icon on the browser status bar, or look for "s" in "https" in the web address. Both are indications that the information is secure and encrypted during transmission.
- Keep a close eye on your account activity at the bank and report anything that looks suspicious.
- Don't judge by initial appearances. Just because something appears on the Internet (no matter how professional the website looks) doesn't mean it's real. The availability of software at minimal cost to set up a professional-looking website means that criminals can make their websites look impressive.
- Be careful about giving out personal data online. If you receive e-mails from someone you don't know asking for personal data - don't send the data.
- Be wary of e-mails concealing their true identity. If someone sends you an e-mail using a mail header that has no useful data (such as W6T7S8@provider.com), it may be an indication the sender is hiding something.