How To

Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

Our digital lives are becoming more sophisticated, and technology is changing rapidly. So it’s important to keep up with trends and arm yourself with knowledge about identify theft, scams and Internet traps that could compromise your personal or financial information.

Phishing Scams

Identity thieves like to go “phishing” (pronounced “fishing”) on the Internet for consumers’ personal and financial information. They’ll use fake emails and websites to trick people into providing Social Security numbers, bank account numbers and other valuable details.

Typically, the most common phishing emails pretend to be from a bank, a retail store or government agency to lure you into divulging personal information and often use a variety of tricks to make the email look legitimate. They might include a graphic copied from a bank’s website or a link that looks like it goes to a bank’s site but actually leads to a fake site.

Here are some tips to avoid becoming a victim of a phishing scam:

  • Be suspicious if someone contacts you unexpectedly online and asks for your personal information.
  • No financial institution will ever email you and ask for sensitive information, such as account numbers or personal identification numbers.
  • Assume a request for information from a bank where you’ve never opened an account is probably a scam.
  • Verify the validity of a suspicious-looking email or popup box before providing personal information.
Use Caution When Using Checks

Checks are still widely used today yet remain one of the most unsecure forms of payment. Criminals can easily manipulate or forge checks by stealing a blank check from your wallet or home or looking through your garbage for a cancelled or old check. If you still need to use checks as a form of payment, make sure to take these steps to keep your personal information and bank account safe.

  • Store your checks, deposit slips, statements and cancelled checks in a secure and locked location. Refrain from leaving your checkbook in your vehicle, whether it’s locked or not.
  • Never give your checking account number or any other account number to someone you don’t know, especially over the phone. And be sure to reconcile your checking statement within 30 days of receiving it to detect any irregularities.
  • Don’t mail any of your bills from an unlocked mailbox as thieves can steal your mail and use your checks for other purposes.
  • Make sure you protect your identity by limiting the personal information you put on your checks. For example, do not include your SSN or driver’s license on your check.
  • Lastly, when writing on your check, use a pen with dark ink that can’t be easily erased or covered up.
Personal Identity Theft Protection & Monitoring

Our Summit and Ascent checking accounts both come with Heritage Extras powered by BaZingTM, a program that offers a number of benefits, including personal identity theft protection and monitoring. Identity theft protection reimburses you for covered expenses that you incur to restore your identity. Identity monitoring gives you access to an Online Identity Vault™ to keep your personal information safe like your:

  • Social Security number
  • Bank accounts
  • Credit card numbers
  • Medical cards
Debit Card Fraud Alerts

We’re also committed to protecting your personal information. If we detect potential fraud on your account, we’ll send you an automated text message. No registration is necessary either—as a Heritage Bank debit card holder, you’re automatically enrolled in this free service!

Don’t have text messaging? No worries! You’ll still receive an automated phone call to notify you that there’s suspected fraud on your account.

Heritage Bank is not an affiliate of BaZing or its associates.​

Category: How To

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