Definition of Identity Theft
Identity theft involves acquiring key pieces of someone's identifying information, such as name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, and mother's maiden name in order to commit fraud. With this information the thief can do such things as take over the victim's financial accounts, open new bank accounts, purchase automobiles, apply for loans, credit cards, and Social Security benefits, rent apartments, and establish services with utility and phone companies.
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Methods Identity Thieves use to acquire key pieces of personal information
- Theft of your wallet, purse, or checkbook.
- Removing mail from your mailbox, either incoming or outgoing.
- Going through your trash.
- Phishing - Obtaining information by email scams or fraudulent websites.
- Hacking - Illegally gaining access to computer systems containing personal or financial data.
- Pretext Calling - Using false pretenses to obtain information via telephone.
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How to protect yourself from Identity Theft
Some of the things you can do to safeguard your finances and good name are:
Protect Your Phone
- Don't give out financial information or other personal information, such as your Social Security number, over the telephone unless you initiated the call and you know with whom you are dealing.
- If you receive any telephone inquiries, such as those asking you to confirm or verify BB&T account information or verify a statement, contact your local branch and speak with your Relationship Banker to confirm that the call is legitimate.
- To prohibit telemarketers from calling you, register your home and cellular phone numbers with the Federal Do Not Call Registry by calling 888-382-1222.
Protect Your Mail
- Remove incoming mail from your mailbox as soon after delivery as possible.
- When mailing bills and credit card payments, take them to the post office personally or place them in a secure, official U.S. Postal Service collection box. You can also be sure your information is safe by using the secure OnLine Bill Payment service from BB&T OnLine.
- Promptly notify your bank and other creditors when you have a change of address. Contact creditors if your regular monthly or quarterly bills do not arrive when expected.
Protect Your Personal Information
- Never routinely carry important documents such as Social Security cards, passports, or birth certificates in your purse or wallet. Keep important documents in a safe place at home or in a safe deposit box at the bank. Only carry them when you need them.
- Shred any receipts, financial statements, documents, or bank statements, including credit card bills, prior to disposing of them.
- Report lost or stolen checks immediately, so BB&T can stop payment on the checks. To report any lost or stolen checks to BB&T call BB&T Phone24 at 800-BANK-BBT (800-226-5228).
- Promptly report lost or stolen BB&T credit cards and debit/ATM cards. To report lost or stolen credit cards, call BB&T Bankcard Customer Service at 800-476-4228. To report lost or stolen debit/ATM cards, call BB&T Phone24 at 800-BANK-BBT (800-226-5228).
- Protect your new, current, and canceled checks. Always store checks in a safe place. Consider taking advantage of check safekeeping. With check safekeeping your canceled checks are not returned in your bank statement. BB&T stores copies of your checks. Contact your local BB&T branch and speak with your Relationship Banker for details.
- Safeguard your account numbers, debit card and ATM Personal Identification Numbers (PIN).
- Reconcile your BB&T banking statements immediately to assure your account activity is correct. Contact your your local branch if any unauthorized transactions have occurred. Consider signing up for our online banking product BB&T OnLine. You will be able to monitor activity on your accounts 24 x 7 anywhere an Internet connection is available.
- Never leave your checkbook, wallet, or other personal information unprotected -- even when you're at home. Workmen, contract labor you may engage, or others that enter your house should not be able to gain access to your personal or financial information.
- Print off the BB&T Online Fraud Prevention Guide (pdf) and keep it by your computer. You will need Adobe Acrobat's free reader to view this document. Download Acrobat Reader.
In addition to the above precautions, you should:
- Review your credit report from the three major agencies at least annually to confirm there were no unauthorized credit inquiries made or accounts opened in your name.
Effective September 1, 2005, you are eligible for a free copy of your credit report under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act). The FACT Act requires the three major credit reporting agencies to provide consumers with a free copy of their own credit report each year.
To obtain a free credit report contact:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta , GA 30348-5281
If you are a victim of identity theft, you may be eligible to receive additional free credit reports.
The major credit reporting agencies are:
- Consider obtaining Identity Theft Insurance. Identity Theft Insurance is one of the security protections available with The Plus Package, a suite of benefits, services, special offers, and protections that can be added to your checking account. This insurance provides you with expert assistance and up to $2,500 in financial relief when someone tries to steal your good name. Talk to the relationship banker at your local BB&T branch to add The Plus Package to your account.
- Protect your cards against fraudulent use.
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Actions to take if you think you've been a victim of Identity Theft
- If you think you've been a victim of identity theft, immediately contact the fraud division of the credit reporting companies and request that a "fraud alert" be placed in your file. Ask that no new credit be granted without your approval. The credit reporting agencies have agreed to notify one another when an individual places a fraud alert in his credit file. The individual need only call one of the credit reporting agencies.
- Notify your your local branch or call 800-BANK-BBT (800-226-5228).
- Notify any other grantors of credit of the fraud, then file a police report. You should never send originals of your documentation -- always make copies.
- Report the fraud to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) toll free at 877-438-4338 or TDD: 866-653-4261. The FTC is the clearinghouse for identity theft complaints. They provide information to help resolve financial problems that result from identity theft. The FTC provides an ID Theft Affidavit which you should complete as soon as possible after you become aware of the fraud. Completing this affidavit can help protect your from responsibility for fraudulent charges on your accounts.
- Remember to keep detailed records of all events once you ascertain that your identity has been stolen. Include names, telephone numbers, and the date and time you made contact with individuals or companies requesting assistance in recovering your good name.
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Where to go to obtain additional information on Identity Theft
The following companies and government agencies can provide more information about identity theft:
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