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Protect Yourself against Identity Theft

Identity theft is the result of someone stealing your personal information in order to take over your credit accounts, open new ones or commit a number of other crimes at your expense. Because identity theft frequently involves no physical theft, identity theft often goes unnoticed until significant damage has been done.

How to prevent identity theft:

  • Guard your mail and trash from theft.  Deposit outgoing mail in post office collection boxes or at your local post office instead of an unsecured mailbox.  Remove mail from your mailbox promptly.

  • Shred or secure in a lockbox all documents with important identifying information on them, such as bank statements, credit card statements, pre-approved credit card offers, charge receipts and pay stubs.

  • Carry only the credit card you would use in an emergency.  Do not carry your Social Security card.

  • Never provide personal financial information, including your Social Security Number, account numbers or passwords, over the phone or the Internet if you did not initiate contact.

  • Do not send sensitive personal or financial information unless it is encrypted on a secure Web site.  Regular e-mails are not encrypted.  Look for the padlock symbol on the bottom bar of the browser to ensure that the site is running in secure mode before you enter sensitive information.

  • Never click on the link provided in an e-mail you believe is fraudulent.  It may contain a virus that can contaminate your computer.

  • Do not be intimidated by an e-mail or caller who suggests dire consequences if you do not immediately provide or verify financial information.

  • If you believe the contact is legitimate, go to the company’s Web site by typing in the site address directly or using a page you have previously book marked, instead of a link provided in the e-mail.

  • If you fall victim to an attack, act immediately to protect yourself.    Alert all your financial institution(s).  You may contact Columbus Bank and Trust Company at (402) 564-1234 or at (800) 343-2282.  Remember to contact ALL your financial institutions to place fraud alerts on your credit files.  Monitor your credit files and account statements closely.

  • Request and review your free credit report.  A new law (Fair & Accurate Credit Transactions Act or FACT Act) requires credit reporting companies to provide you a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.  It is important to check your credit report to ensure that the information it contains is accurate and that no one has stolen your identity.  You can request your credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com  or by calling 1-877-322-8228.

  • Report suspicious e-mails or calls to the Federal Trade Commission through the Internet at www.consumer.gov/idtheft, or by calling 1-877-IDTHEFT.  If you believe the e-mail or phone call appears to be from Columbus Bank & Trust Company, call us at (402) 564-1234 or (800) 343-2282 to report it.

   Protect Against Spyware

Spyware is a form of software that collects personal and confidential information about a person without their proper knowledge or informed consent, and reports it to a third party.  Spyware is usually installed without a user’s knowledge or permission.  You can prevent and detect spyware by: 

  • Installing and periodically updating anti-spyware, virus protection and firewall software.

  • Adjusting browser settings to prompt you whenever a Web site tries to install a new program or Active-X control.

  • Carefully reading all End User Licensing Agreements (EULA) and avoiding downloading software when licensing agreements are difficult to understand.

  • Maintaining patches to operating systems and browsers.

  • Not opening e-mail from untrustworthy sources.

  Protect Against Phishing

Phishing is a type of deception designed to steal your identity.  In a phishing scam, a malicious person tries to get information like credit card numbers, passwords, account information, or other personal information from you by convincing you to give it to them under false pretenses.  Phishing schemes usually come via spam e-mail or pop-up windows.  You can protect yourself and your information from phishing by following these five easy steps: 

  • Never respond to requests for personal information via e-mail.  If in doubt, call the company that claims to have sent you the e-mail.

  • Visit Web sites by typing the URL (web site address) into your address bar.

  • Check to make sure the Web site is using encryption.

  • Routinely review your credit card and bank statements.

  • Report suspected abuses of your personal information to the proper authorities.