Customer Awareness

Checking Account Fraud

Although, we have safeguards in place and we constantly update our training programs, the best person qualified to guard against checking account fraud is you. Here's how you can guard against it.

  1. Make sure you destroy all old, unused checks, or special checks from credit card mailings that you do not intend to use. Ideally, these should be shredded.
  2. Do not order checks with your social security number or driver's license number printed on them.
  3. If you're newly ordered checks are late arriving, please contact us at 662.326.8047. When you receive your order, verify that the information is correct and that you have the correct number you ordered.
  4. Remove mail promptly from you mailbox and store checks in a secure place.
  5. Conceal checks from view when you mail them by wrapping them in paper or by using security envelopes.
  6. Reconcile your account promptly.
  7. If your checks are stolen, notify us immediately.

Identity Theft

You may find yourself the victim of identity theft by merely replying to an e-mail. Phishing (pronounced "fishing") involves the use of seemingly legitimate e-mail messages and Internet Web sites to deceive consumers into disclosing sensitive information, such as bank account information, social security numbers, credit card numbers, passwords and personal identification numbers (PINs). The message may claim to be from a business or organization that you deal with or even a government agency. The message may ask you to "update", "validate" or "confirm" your account information. Some phishing e-mails threaten a dire consequence if you don't respond.

How to protect yourself

  1. Never provide your personal information in response to an unsolicited request, whether it is over the phone or the Internet. If you get an e-mail message or pop-up message that asks for personal or financial information, do not reply and don't click on the link in the message either. Legitimate companies will not ask for this information via e-mail. If you are concerned about your account, contact the company mentioned in the e-mail using a phone number you know to be genuine.
  2. Never access our web page from a link provided by a third party.
  3. Use anti-virus software, spy ware, and a firewall and keep them up to date.
  4. Don't e-mail personal or financial information.
  5. Review credit card and bank statements as soon as you receive them.
  6. Be cautious about opening attachments or downloading any files from e-mails.
  7. Contact the organization impersonated in the e-mail and advise them of the scam. You may notify the bank at 662.326.8047.

If you believe you have been scammed, file a complaint at www.ftc.gov and then refer to the information in our Online Security section pertaining to identity theft.

Online Security Information

Citizens Bank & Trust understands that the security of your personal account information is important to you. We also understand that our continued success as a financial institution relies on both our ability to offer banking services to you in a secure manner as well as your responsibility in keeping any access codes and passwords secure. To assist us in offering these Web-based banking services in a secure manner, we employ a number of measures, which are described below. These measures allow us to properly authenticate your identity when you access these services and protect your information as it travels between your PC and CB&T. With the proper safety measures in place, your online banking transactions remain safe and secure. The following measures have been taken to ensure your privacy.

Information Encoding

We use the latest encryption technology to ensure that your private information cannot be intercepted. Encryption is a way to rewrite something in code, which can be decoded later with the right "key." When you request information about your accounts, the request is sent encrypted to Citizens Bank & Trust. We decrypt your request and send the requested information back to you in an encrypted format. When you receive the information, it is decoded so that you can read it.

Personally Selected Account Names

CB&T does not display your account numbers over the Internet. Instead, we ask you to choose a "pseudo" name for each of your accounts. Example of pseudo name would be vacation account, checking account, and savings account. You can change your "pseudo" account name under the "Options" section of our online banking service.

Unique ID and Password

In order to access your accounts online, you must enter a unique NetTeller ID and Password. We strongly recommend that you choose a Password that you can remember (without writing it down) but does not use information that can be easily guessed by someone. Avoid the use of birthdays, children's names, etc. Do not reveal your NetTeller ID or Password to anyone.

Three (3) strikes and you're out

If an unauthorized person attempts entry into an end user's account by trying to guess a Log-In ID, the bank will disable the password on the third incorrect attempt, thus invalidating the Log-In combination. If you accidentally activate this security feature by unintentionally mis-keying a password three times, you would need to contact the Bank to reestablish the password for that account. For example, a common mistake made by the end user is having the CAPS-LOCK on while keying in a password.

To further protect you, a timeout feature is used. This feature will automatically log you out of your current financial service session after a 10-minute inactivity period on our site.

Your CB&T Netteller passwords never expire. Passwords are required to have 8 character PIN/password and have implemented Multi Factor Authentication along with User ID and PIN/password and a secret questions.

Email Communications

Please remember that email is not secure against interception, and you should be cautious when sending an email with personal information. If your information is very sensitive, or includes personal or confidential information-such as your bank account, charge card or Social Security number-you should contact us by postal mail or telephone.

How You Can Protect Your Internet Security

While CB&T works to protect your banking privacy, you will also play an important role in protecting your accounts. There are a number of steps you can take to ensure that your CB&T account information is protected, including:

  • Keep your Password to yourself.
  • Change your Password frequently.
  • Remain at your computer until your Online Banking transactions are completed and log out. Log out of Online Banking prior to visiting other Internet sites.
  • Don't use obvious numbers or easily accessible information for your log-in ID and Password.
  • Ensure that no one is watching when entering your log-in ID and Password.
  • Don't record your log-in ID and Password on paper. Try to memorize them, if possible.
  • If you do record your log-in ID and Password, keep them in a safe, secure location.
  • Do not share your log-in ID and Password with anyone.
  • Review your account information often. Report any unusual activity immediately.
  • Never give account information to anyone over the telephone unless you initiated the call.

If you notice suspicious or unusual activity on your Online Banking accounts, call the bank immediately.

For further help or suggestions about staying safe online visit these helpful links.

Identity Theft

What to do if it happens to you

This guide provides victims of identity theft with the major resources to contact. Unfortunately, at this time victims themselves are burdened with resolving the problem. You must act quickly and assertively to minimize the damage.

In dealing with the authorities and financial institutions, keep a log of all conversations, including dates, names, and phone numbers. Note time spent and any expenses incurred, in case you are able to request restitution in a later judgment or conviction against the thief. Confirm conversations in writing. Send correspondence by certified mail, return receipt requested. Keep copies of all letters and documents.

1. Credit Bureaus

Immediately call the fraud units of the three credit reporting companies:

Equifax: P.O. Box 105069, Atlanta, GA 30348
Report fraud: Call (800) 525-6285 and write to address above.
Order credit report: (800) 685-1111. Web: www.equifax.com

Experian (formerly TRW): P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013
Report fraud: Call (888) 397-3742) and write to address above. Fax: (800) 301-7196
Order credit report: (888) 397-3742. Web: www.experian.com

Trans Union: P.O. Box 1426, Buffalo, NY 14231
Report fraud: (800) 680-7289 and write to address above.
Order credit report: (800) 632-1765. Web: www.transunion.com

Report the theft of your credit cards or numbers and request a credit report (free to identity theft victims). Ask that your file be flagged with a fraud alert. Add a victim's statement to your report. ("My ID has been used to apply for credit fraudulently. Contact me at [your phone number] to verify all applications.") Ask how long the fraud alert is posted on your file, and how you can extend it if necessary.

Be aware that these measures may not entirely stop new fraudulent accounts from being opened by the imposter. Request a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three Credit Bureaus, so you can monitor any new fraudulent activity.

Ask the credit bureaus for names and phone numbers of credit grantors with whom fraudulent accounts have been opened. Ask the credit bureaus to remove inquiries that have been generated due to the fraudulent access. You may also ask the credit bureaus to notify those who have received your credit report in the last six months in order to alert them to the disputed and erroneous information (two years for employers). When you provide your police report to the credit bureaus, they must remove the fraudulent accounts from you credit report. (See #3 below.)

2. Creditors

Contact all creditors immediately with whom your name has been used fraudulently, by phone and in writing. You may be asked to fill out fraud affidavits. (No law requires these to be notarized at your own expense.) Get replacement cards with new account numbers for your own accounts that have been used fraudulently. Ask that old accounts be processed as "account closed at consumer's request" (better than "card lost or stolen" because it can be interpreted as blaming you.) Monitor your mail and bills for evidence of new fraudulent activity. Report it immediately to credit grantors.

3. Law Enforcement

Report the crime to your local police or sheriff's department. You might also need to report it to police departments where the crime occurred. Give them as much documented evidence as possible. Make sure the police report lists the fraud accounts. Get a copy of the report. Keep the phone number of your investigator handy and give it to creditors and others who require verification of your case. Credit card companies and banks may require you to show the report in order to verify the crime. It is a violation of federal law (18 USC 1028) and the laws of many states to assume someone's identity for fraudulent purposes. Some police departments do not write reports on such crimes, so be persistent! Also, report to the Federal Trade Commission at (877) IDTHEFT. Web: www.consumer.gov/idtheft.

4. Stolen Checks

If you have had checks stolen or bank/credit union accounts set up fraudulently; report it to the appropriate check verification companies (see below). Put stop payments on any outstanding checks that you are unsure of. Cancel your checking and savings accounts and obtain new account numbers. Give the bank a secret password for your account (not mother's maiden name). If your own checks are rejected at stores where you shop, contact the check verification company that the merchant uses.

5. ATM/Debit Cards

If your ATM or debit card has been stolen or compromised, report it immediately at 800.528.2273. Get a new card, account number and password. Do not use your old password. When creating a password, do not use common numbers like the last four digits of your SSN or your birth date. Monitor your account statement. You may be liable if fraud is not reported quickly.

6. Fraudulent Change of Address

Notify the local Postal Inspector if you suspect an identity thief has filed a change of your address with the post office or has used the mail to commit fraud. (Call the U.S. Post Office to obtain the phone number). Find out where fraudulent credit cards were sent. Notify the local Postmaster for that address to forward all mail in your name to your own address. You may also need to talk with the mail carrier. (Web: www.usps.gov/websites/depart/inspect)

7. Secret Service Jurisdiction

The Secret Service has jurisdiction over financial fraud but, based on U.S. Attorney guidelines, it usually does not investigate individual cases unless the dollar amount is high or you are one of many victims of a fraud ring. To interest the Secret Service in your case, you may want to ask the fraud department of the credit card companies, banks and/or credit unions as well as the police investigator, to notify the Secret Service agent they work with. (Web: www.treas.gov/usss)

8. Social Security Number (SSN) Misuse

Call the Social Security Administration to report fraudulent use of your SSN. As a last resort, you might want to try to change your number, although we do not recommend it except for the most serious cases. The SSA will only change the number if you fit their fraud victim criteria. Also, order a copy of your Personal Earnings and Benefits Statement and check it for accuracy. The thief might be using your SSN for employment purposes. (Web: www.ssa.gov)

9. Passports

Whether you have a passport or not, write the passport office to alert them to anyone ordering a passport fraudulently.

10. Phone Service

If your long distance calling card has been stolen or there are fraudulent charges on the bill, cancel the account and open a new one. Provide a password that must be used any time the account is changed.

11. Driver's License Number Misuse

You may need to change your driver's license number if someone is using yours as ID on bad checks or for other types of fraud. Call the state office of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to see if another license was issued in your name. Put a fraud alert on your license. Go to your local DMV to request a new number. Fill out the DMV's complaint form to begin the investigation process. Send supporting documents with the completed form to the nearest DMV investigation office.

12. Victim Statements

If the imposter is apprehended by law enforcement and stands trial, write a victim impact letter to the judge handling the case. Contact the victim-witness assistance program in your area for further information on how to make your voice heard in the legal proceedings.

Resources

To opt out of pre-approved offers of credit for all three bureaus, call (888) 5OPTOUT. You may choose a two year opt-out period or permanent opt-out status.

Remember, you are entitled to a free credit report if you are a victim of identity theft, if you have been denied credit, if you receive welfare benefits, or if you are unemployed.

Social Security Administration - Report fraud: (800) 269-0271. Order Earnings & Benefits Statement: (800) 772-1213. Web: www.ssa.gov

To remove your name from mail and phone lists

Direct Marketing Association (Web: www.the-dma.org)

  • Mail Preference Service, P.O. Box 9008, Farmingdale, NY 11735.
  • Telephone Preference Service, P.O. Box 9014, Farmingdale, NY 11735

To report fraudulent use of your checks

  • CheckRite: (800) 766-2748
  • Chexsystems: (800) 428-9623
  • CrossCheck: (800) 843-0760
  • Equifax: (800) 437-5120
  • International Check Services: (800) 526-5380
  • SCAN: (800) 262-7771
  • TeleCheck: (800) 710-9898

Other Useful Resources

For further helpful hints about protecting yourself from fraud, identity theft and phishing visits these helpful sites.