Washington, D.C. (Feb. 10, 2015)—The Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) and the nation’s more than 6,500 community banks want consumers to be aware of ways to protect themselves and their personal financial information against identity theft and cybersecurity-related crimes.
“It is vital that customers alert their community banks immediately if they know or suspect their personal information has been compromised,” said ICBA Chairman John Buhrmaster, president and CEO of 1st National Bank of Scotia, N.Y. “Criminals are on the hunt to capture confidential consumer financial information and personal data. The community banking industry wants consumers to have as much information, education and resources as possible so they can protect themselves against such attacks.”
Community banks across the nation work aggressively to protect their customers’ financial, personal and sensitive information on a daily basis. Community bankers have been informing their customers about multiple layers of security protection, monitoring customer accounts for fraudulent activity, reissuing credit and debit cards as appropriate and educating consumers on how to avoid fraud, identity theft and becoming a victim of a cyber crime.
Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission provides guidance on immediate steps consumers should take to repair identity theft. If any consumer believes they have had their identity stolen or are victim of fraudulent charges on a credit or debit card, reach out to your community bank immediately.
ICBA provides consumers valuable tips when it comes to taking proactive security measures:
- Monitor all of your financial accounts and report any suspicious activity, such as false or multiple charges, to your community bank immediately.
- Be sure to use unique passwords for all financial online accounts. Never share or duplicate usage of your password, account number, PIN or answers to security questions.
- Do not save credit or debit card, banking account or routing numbers, or other financial information, on your computer, phone or tablet.
- Use caution when sharing personal information about yourself on social media channels and the Internet. Identity thieves and cyber criminals can use information to gain access into your life. Never post account numbers, credit card statements or bank details.
- Be vigilant about using a password on mobile devices. Be sure to set your devices to automatically lock after a selected period of time to ensure no one can access your smartphone, tablet or laptop.
- Be aware of the location of your mobile devices (smartphones, tablets) at all times. Only log on financial websites when you have a secure, safe and trusted Internet connection.
- Shred ATM receipts, credit card offers or statements, checks and other similar documents when you no longer need them.
- Consider getting an IP PIN. An IP PIN is a six-digit number assigned to eligible taxpayers that helps prevent the misuse of Social Security numbers on fraudulent federal income tax forms, per the IRS.
- Do not provide your secure financial information over the phone or Internet if you are unsure of who is asking for it. Contact your community bank directly by using the phone number on the back of your debit or credit card, or stop in your bank to speak with someone in person. Remember, your community bank will never contact or text you asking for personal or banking information.
For more information about identity theft and consumer data and cybersecurity resources, visit ICBA’s Data Breach Toolkit.
The Independent Community Bankers of America®, the nation’s voice for more than 6,500 community banks of all sizes and charter types, is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education and high-quality products and services.