Tips & Resources
At Hawthorn Bank we want to help you protect your financial information, online or not. Identity theft and other fraudulent activities are a rapidly growing problem.
Here are a few simple steps you can take to make your financial data more secure:
- Shred financial documents before you discard them.
- Don't carry your Social Security card or write your Social Security number on a check.
- Don't give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, over the Internet or via text messaging on your cell phone, unless you know who you are dealing with.
- Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails.
- Use firewalls, anti-spyware, and anti-virus software to protect your home computer; keep them up-to-date.
- Don't use an obvious password like your birth date, your mother's maiden name, or the last four digits of your Social Security number.
- Check your credit report. Visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1-877-322-8228, a service created by these three companies, to order your free annual credit reports. If you see accounts you don't recognize or inaccurate information, contact the company. To find out how to correct credit errors, visit ftc.gov/idtheft.
Be alert to signs that require immediate attention:
- Unexpected credit cards or account statements
- Denials of credit for no apparent reason
- Calls or letters about purchases you did not make
- Charges on your financial statements that you don't recognize
If you suspect your identity has been stolen, place a “Fraud Alert” on your credit reports. The alert tells creditors to follow certain procedures before they open new accounts in your name or make changes to your existing accounts. The three nationwide consumer reporting companies have toll-free numbers for placing an initial 90-day fraud alert; a call to one company is sufficient:
- Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)
- TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
- Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
Other resources include:
- Online: Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Site (ftc.gov/idtheft)
- By phone: 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338) or TTY, 1-866-653-4261
- By mail: Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580