The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that each year more than 9.9 million Americans are victims of identity theft, costing them roughly $5 billion a year and damage to their credit and reputations.
Chances are that you or someone you know has been or will become a victim of identity theft.
What is identity theft? It’s a crime that occurs when an individual takes another person’s name, address, Social Security Number or other identifying information with the intent to commit fraud.
How does it happen? Identity thieves get personal information they can misuse:
- They steal mail, wallets or purses.
- They falsify change of address forms to have customer statements sent to them.
- They rummage through private trash or “dumpster dive” in public areas.
- They capture personal information by posing as legitimate companies through email, in a practice known as “phishing.” Or they conduct phone scams.
- They take information from businesses or other institutions by stealing personnel records, by bribing an employee with access to records or by hacking into computer systems.
At VCB, we understand the importance of the security and privacy of your information. Identity theft and fraud are serious crimes that can cost victims not only money but also months — sometimes years — of time and trouble needed to repair the damage done. Victims may be harassed by collectors, be refused loans or credit, have check or credit cards declined, have utilities cut off or even face criminal investigation for crimes they didn’t commit!
How can you reduce your risk of becoming a victim of identity theft? You have the power to:
- Increase your awareness of how criminals commit fraud and identity theft — read about potential dangers.
- Consistently try to protect your personal and financial information — check out tips to help keep your information secure.
One of the best ways to recognize identity theft and to help protect yourself is to pay close attention to your accounts. Track your VCB account activity regularly through Online Banking and know when your monthly statements should arrive.
In the unfortunate event any VCB customer becomes a victim of identity theft, our bankers and lenders provide caring, patient and quick response. We will assist with safeguarding account information and help our customers resolve identity theft concerns and issues timely and thoroughly.
Be aware so you can be prepared!
Visit the U.S. government's identity theft Web site for more information.
And check out more identity theft resources.
The Security and Privacy information contained on the Virginia Commerce Bank public Web site is intended to provide general information only and does not attempt to give you advice that relates to your specific circumstances. You should consult an appropriate professional for specific advice tailored to your situation.