The Federal Trade Commission estimates that millions of Americans have their identity stolen each year. So we want to provide you with information to help to protect against identity theft. While we cannot guarantee that your identity will never be stolen, we do want to make you aware of steps to help prevent it.
NOTE: Great Plains Bank will never initiate a request for personal information such as social security number, account number(s), PIN numbers or login information (username and/or passwords), nor will we ever request you to verify your account information via email or text message.
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is a term that refers to fraud involving an individual pretending to be someone else in order to steal money or other benefits. Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personally identifying information, like your name, address, date of birth, driver's license, Social Security number, bank account number, or credit card number, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.
How do thieves steal an identity?
- Dumpster Diving - Thieves look through your trash for any item that has your personal information on it.
- Lost or Stolen Items - Personal identification is obtained by stealing wallets, credit cards, driver's license, Social Security cards, or mail.
- Skimming - Thieves capture credit/debit card numbers at an ATM or when you are making an actual purchase by using a special storage device that they attach to the ATM.
- Phishing - Deceptive e-mails or pop-up messages are sent to get people to reveal any personal, financial, or login information. The email, links within the email, or pop-up that appears to look like it comes from a trusted site - but is really designed to deceive individuals to obtain personal data such as credit card, bank account, or social security numbers.
- Changing Your Address - Thieves complete a change of address form and have your billing statements sent to another location.
- Pretexting - Thieves use false pretenses to obtain your personal information on the phone by posing as a financial institution or another legitimate company. They usually claim there is an issue with your account and need your personal information to fix it.
- On-lookers - Thieves steal personal information by looking over you shoulder when you use an ATM card, debit/credit card, or a public computer. They also try to obtain personal information when you are talking on the phone.
- Pharming - Thieves redirect a website's traffic to another website or a bogus site to obtain personal information.
- Unsecure Networks - Thieves gain access to networks because they are improperly configured such as wireless networks that do not use encryption and are not password protected.
What steps do you take if your identity has been stolen?
If you have been a victim of identity theft, please reference the Federal Trade Commission link below.
How to protect your identity
- Destroy all old data that contains your personal information. All documents should be shredded with a crosscut shredder. Also, all hard drives in old personal computers need to be wiped clean and physically destroyed before disposal.
- If checks, debit cards, or credit cards are stolen, report it immediately.
- Immediately empty your mail so thieves will not steal it. If possible, lock your mailbox.
- Never leave receipts behind such as at a gas station.
- Use security software and/or hardware such as antivirus or firewalls.
- Do not give out any personal information unless you know for certain with whom you are dealing, and they are trustworthy.
- Only put personal information on the Internet when the website is encrypted.
- Review bills and statements upon receiving them.
- Obtain copies of your credit report from each of the three major reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, to ensure the information is accurate. This can be done at annualcreditreport.com.
- Change your passwords regularly and make them complex (i.e. at least 8 characters, which are made up of three of these four: upper case characters, lower case characters, numbers, and symbols.)
- Do not respond to unsolicited email asking for personal information – so-called "phishing" and "pharming" schemes.
How to avoid fraud
Online shopping safety tips