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Protect Your Identity

 Identity theft is on the rise.  Follow these guidelines to help in preventing identity theft.


What is Identity Theft?

How might someone acquire my personal information?

How do I know if my identity has been stolen?

How can I prevent my Identity from being stolen?

What to do if you become a victim of Identity Theft



What is Identity Theft?


Identity theft occurs when a thief assumes another person’s personal identifying information with the intent of committing fraud.  For example, personal information used to steal one’s identity include name, social security number, date of birth, or other sensitive information. 


Identity thieves could use your information to open accounts in your name, such as credit cards or even obtain a loan.  If you are not careful, you might not find out about such accounts until it is too late.  We have provided some information to help you detect and prevent identity theft, as well as information on what to do if you fall victim to identity thieves.


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How might someone acquire my personal information?



Your personal information might be acquired in different ways.


Ø  You lose your wallet, purse, or credit card.

Ø  Your mail is stolen.

Ø  The magnetic strip on your credit card, debit card, or ATM card is “skimmed”  at an ATM or merchant

Ø  “Trash Diving”, sifting through commercial or residential trash to obtain confidential information

Ø  Eavesdropping or watching over the shoulder as you enter your PIN or password

Ø  You receive a scam telephone call where a thief is posing as a bank representative and asks for your information, credit card or debit card numbers

Ø  Phishing and Spyware programs

PHISHING  - A criminal process attempting to acquire your usernames, passwords, credit card and debit card information often through email or instant messaging. 


§  You may receive an email from someone posing as a bank representative stating that you need to login to your internet banking account to update your information.  The email will include a link to the bank’s online banking login screen, and the website linked in the email will LOOK like the authentic bank’s website.  However, the link has brought you to a phony website.  As soon as you enter your information, consider it stolen.  The thieves now have access to your bank account information. 

§  You receive a call on your cell phone stating that your debit or credit card number has been frozen, and that you will need to enter your card number and expiration date to have it reactivated.  Usually, the call is automated and will not specifically name itself as a certain bank, just “Your bank” or “Credit Union”.  If entered, your credit or debit card number has been compromised.

o   For more information on Phishing, please visit the APWG’s website:  www.antiphishing.org


SPYWAREComputer software which collects little bits of information about your computer usage without your knowledge.  Generally, spyware is bundled within other, more desirable software programs which are often downloaded from the internet. 


§  Purchase a commercial anti-virus and anti-spyware program to install on your computer and keep it updated.  Beware of rogue programs which can be purchased online claiming to be anti-spyware – they actually install more spyware on your computer.

§  Beware of downloading any software and installing it to your computer unless it is from a trusted website.

§  Make sure you read all disclosures before installing anything to your computer.  You may be agreeing to install programs that track your internet usage.

Ø  Computer Hacking

Computer Hacking occurs any time there is a breach of security within your computer or network.   For example, Hacking may expose personal information such as social security numbers or credit card numbers.


§  Make sure to create STRONG passwords and change them frequently, preferably every 30 to 60 days.

§  Never write your usernames and passwords down; if you must, keep them in a secure place, and not under your computer keyboard.

§  Be sure to install a secure firewall to your computer system and keep it up to date.


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How do I know if my identity has been stolen?



Your personal information may have been compromised if you notice any of the following:


Ø  There are unauthorized charges or suspicious activity on your checking account statements or credit card statements

Ø  You check your credit report, and there are accounts that you are not aware of opened in your name

Ø  You receive telephone calls from collection agencies stating you have not paid a bill

Ø  You receive calls from financial institutions regarding accounts you did not open

Ø  You are not receiving your statements or bills in the mail when they normally arrive


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How can I prevent my Identity from being stolen?



Follow these guidelines to aid in the prevention of Identity Theft.


Ø  Do NOT keep your social security number in your wallet

Ø  Report lost or stolen credit cards, debit cards, and ATM cards IMMEDIATELY

Ø  Request that your social security number and driver’s license numbers are not printed on your checks

Ø  Beware of giving information to anyone over the phone or internet unless you initiate the call, especially your debit card and credit card information

Ø  Shred all documents that may contain personal information with a cross-cut shredder

Ø  Watch for bills that you regularly receive that are not delivered.  Stolen mail is a popular way to obtain sensitive information

Ø  Check your credit report annually to identify accounts that have been opened without your knowledge.  Everyone is entitled to one free credit report yearly, which can be obtained at www.annualcreditreport.com

Ø  Consistently monitor all your financial accounts.  Be sure to keep careful records on your bank accounts and keep your bank and credit card statements for at least a year. 

Ø  Sign the back of your debit cards and credit cards promptly so that merchants can verify your signature

Ø  Do not keep your PIN attached to your credit and debit cards

Ø  Report any suspicious activity on your bank and credit card accounts to your financial institutions IMMEDIATELY


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What to do if you become a victim of Identity Theft



If you believe you are a victim of identity theft or fraud you need to act quickly to minimize the damage to your personal finances and your credit.  Remember to keep detailed records of who you speak with, summaries of conversations, contact information, and evidence of the crime.


Below is a list of actions you should take IMMEDIATELY:



Ø  Contact your financial institutions and the companies where your personal information has been used to inform them that you have been a victim of identity theft.

o   First Federal may request that you come into one of our branches to complete an Affidavit and a copy of a police report.  First Federal Bank of Ohio’s Main office can be reached at 419-468-1518. 

o   To report a lost or stolen VISA or MASTERCARD credit card, call           1-866-604-0381

o   To report a lost or stolen VISA DEBIT or ATM card call

§  (419) 468-1518 DURING BUSINESS HOURS

§  1-800-528-2273 AFTER HOURS ONLY

§  or contact your local First Federal Branch


Ø  Contact the credit reporting agencies and request that they place a fraud alert on your account

o   Equifax       -- 1-800-525-6285

o   Experian     -- 1-888-397-3742

o   TransUnion -- 1-800-680-7289


Ø  Contact your local police to report the crime and request a copy of the police report.

Ø  Contact the Federal Trade Commission to make a report of the identity theft and to receive advice on how to deal with identity theft.  Visit www.consumer.gov/idtheft for more information or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357)


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