What Is Identity Theft?

Identity theft is the fraudulent use of a person’s personal identifying information. Typically, identity thieves will obtain another person’s personal information, such as a social security number, mother’s maiden name, date of birth or account numbers to open fraudulent new credit card accounts, charge existing credit card accounts, write bad checks, open bank accounts or obtain new loans.

How Identity Thieves Get Your Personal Information:

They steal wallets or purses that contain personal identification information and bank and credit cards.

They steal your mail, including your bank and credit statements, pre-approved credit offers, new checks, and tax information.

They complete a “change of address” form to divert your mail to another location.

They “dumpster dive” or rummage through your trash, or the trash of a business, for personal data.

They intercept or otherwise obtain information transmitted electronically.

They steal personal identification information from workplace records.

They use false pretenses to obtain your personal information from financial institutions, telephone companies and other sources.

They use personal information that you share on social networking sites to obtain access to your accounts.  Be wary of personal information that you share on social networking sites.  Do not set up a security question like ‘What is my hometown?’ or ‘What is my dog’s name?’ if that information is easily obtainable on a social networking site.

They scam you, often through email, by posing as legitimate companies or government agencies with which you do business (see below for more information).

For more information on ID Theft, please Visit the Federal Trade Commission ID Theft Home page.


How to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Identity Theft

Keep personal and financial information secure. Establish and protect passwords and PINs that are created for your credit card, bank and phone accounts. Change these passwords frequently and avoid using easily available information like your address or birth date. Secure personal information in your home, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help, or are having service work done in your home. Minimize the amount of personal information a criminal can steal by not carrying extra credit cards, Social Security card, birth certificate or passport.

Guard your mail and trash from theft. Always deposit outgoing mail in post office collection boxes or at your local post office instead of an unsecured mailbox. Inform the postal service when you are planning to be away from home and can’t pick up your mail. Always shred your charge receipts, copies of credit applications or offers, insurance forms, physician statements, checks and bank statements and expired credit cards.

Protect your computer data. Always access The Arlington Bank’s website by going directly to www.arlingtonbank.com and not through links from other sites or sent in an e-mail message. Update your anti-virus/anti-spyware software regularly. Use a firewall, especially if you have a high-speed connection to the Internet. If you have a wireless network, make sure it is secured. Examine browser security settings using the Help feature of your browser program to familiarize yourself with the security features available for your particular browser. When you’re submitting information and are using Internet Explorer, look for the “lock” or “key” icon on the status bar. This symbol will let you know that your information is being transmitted over a secure site.

Never give out personal information over the phone, through the mail, by e-mail or over the Internet unless you initiated the contact. A legitimate business would never ask you for your account number or PIN/security code – they assigned them and therefore already have this information. Always confirm that you’re dealing with a legitimate representative of a legitimate organization before divulging any personal information. You can do this by calling customer service using the number on your account statements or in the phone book. Remember, an Arlington Bank employee will never contact you to ask you for account numbers, password or PIN information.

Stay vigilant. When bank or credit card statements do not arrive on time, call the respective companies to find out why. Order copies of your credit report from all three major credit bureaus at least once annually to verify that they are accurate.

What is Phishing?

Phishing, also known as “carding” or “web-spoofing” is a high-tech scam by identity thieves using Spam (unsolicited e-mail that goes out to thousands of e-mail recipients) to deceive people into giving out their personal identifying information. The e-mail messages look like they are from a legitimate business that the potential victim deals with, like a bank or bill pay service provider. Typically, phishers will tell recipients that they need to update or validate their billing information to keep their accounts active. E-mails will include a link to a “look-alike” website of the legitimate business on which potential victims will submit their financial information. This information is then sent to the scammers so that they can steal victims’ identities.

This same type of contact can also be accomplished from a text message requesting financial or personal information.  Do not respond to a text message requesting this information.  The Arlington Bank will never ask you to respond this way.

What is Pretexting?

Pretexting is the act of creating an invented scenario to obtain your personal information.  Sometimes this is a person claiming to be from a research firm and will ask for personal, non-public information.  This information is then used to contact companies where the person can impersonate you in order to learn more information and possibly gain access to your accounts.  Also, do not rely on caller ID to identify callers as those can be spoofed.

To protect our customers from pretexting, we vary the questions that we use to identify a customer when they call in and ask for information that is not readily available.

Types of mobile fraud:

The Arlington Bank does not currently offer a mobile banking application.  Criminals may develop and distribute fake mobile banking applications attempting to steal your credentials.

What To Do If You Think You Have Been a Victim

If you believe that someone has obtained your personal information or that your identity may have been stolen, immediately contact The Arlington Bank and any other financial institutions where you have an account. In addition:

Contact the fraud department of each of the major credit bureaus to report it and request that they place a fraud alert and a victim’s statement on your file.




File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/, or call their free hotline at 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338).

File a report with your local police department and fill out an identity theft affidavit, if required.

Order a free credit report and review it to be sure that no additional fraudulent accounts have been opened in your name, or unauthorized changes have been made to your existing accounts. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com for a copy.

Notify your local Postal Inspector of a fraudulent change of address.