Identity Theft Schemes

Some common identity theft schemes and ways to help prevent them

Phishing

How it happens

  • A phishing attempt can be carried out through an authentic looking email seemingly from a real company in an attempt to lure you to a webpage or online form with language often reporting suspicious account activities or security issues.
  • The email message will generally place some urgency on providing your personal information at a page linked to within the email (e.g., your account will be closed). Or, the email might communicate that the company is implementing new identity theft solutions.
  • The email might include a convenient link to a website that looks similar to the financial institution in question.

Steps to prevent it

  • Understand that legitimate companies like Fidelity Bank of Florida will not request sensitive information through non-secure methods such as emails.
  • Contact the company in question to verify the email's message. Be sure to use a phone number you know to be correct, not one provided by the email.
  • Type the actual URL of the company into your web browser. Do not use the link or address provided by the email.
  • Note: Emails from Fidelity Bank of Florida will never send you directly to a form or application requiring personal information.
  • Make sure that you're using a secure website. Secure sites display https:// instead of http:// in your browser's address bar and oftentimes a lock icon will appear at the lower right corner of your browser window.
  • Ensure that the anti-virus, anti-spam and spyware detection software on your computer is up-to-date.

Pharming

How it happens

  • Pharming software infiltrates a computer system without the owner's knowledge.
  • Pharming perpetrators steal information by redirecting victims to fraudulent websites and capturing their personal and financial information.
  • Pharming code may be sent via email, which causes the host computer to redirect correctly typed Internet addresses or bookmarks to fraudulent sites.

Steps to prevent it

  • Before entering personal information on a web page, check the address in the web browser's address bar to make sure that the http has changed to https (The "s" stands for secure.)
  • Install Internet security software that includes an anti-virus program to monitor all online activities and protect your computer from malicious programs. Ensure that this software is up-to-date.

Malware

How it happens

  • Malicious software infiltrates a computer system without the owner's knowledge.
  • Malware creators steal information from a victim by intercepting the user's passwords, credit card numbers or other information, enabling credit card fraud and other theft.
  • Malware can be inadvertently downloaded from infected email attachments and malicious websites.

Steps to prevent it

  • Avoid suspicious, questionable and illegal websites.
  • Evaluate email attachments and links carefully before opening.
  • Install Internet security software that includes anti-virus, anti-spam, anti-spyware, and firewall, which will scan all incoming data and block any threats, or which can detect and remove malware that has already been installed.
  • Ensure that this software is up-to-date.

Keyboard Logging

How it happens

  • Malicious software infiltrates a computer system without the owner's knowledge.
  • Thieves steal information from a victim by tracking their keystrokes when passwords, credit card numbers or other information are typed, enabling credit card fraud and other theft.
  • Keyboard logging programs may be stored and regularly updated on a victim's hard drive.

Steps to prevent it

  • Install Internet security software that includes anti-virus, anti-spam, anti-spyware, and firewall, which will scan all incoming data and block any threats, or which can detect and remove malware that has already been installed.
  • Ensure that this software is up-to-date.

Vishing

How it happens

  • An automated phone call or email will notify you of suspicious credit card or bank account activity.
  • The message will provide a phone number for you to call immediately to resolve the problem.
  • When you call the number, automated instructions request your credit card number, bank account number, PIN number and expiration dates.

Steps to prevent it

  • Never provide personal information unless you have initiated the call.
  • Have handy the customer service phone numbers of your financial institution and only use those numbers to initiate contact (for example, Fidelity Bank of Florida's Customer Service number is 321-452-0011 or 407-830-4404

Mailbox Theft

How it happens

  • Thieves will search mailboxes for incoming mail such as credit card bills and bank account statements.
  • They will also check outgoing mail that might contain personal checks to pay bills. This will provide them with your routing and checking account numbers.

Steps to prevent it

  • Drop off mail that contains checks at your local post office or a postal service box.
  • As soon as possible, pick up incoming mail.
  • Limit your paper-based financial transactions by moving them online.
  • Fidelity Bank of Florida and other banks provide online services like eBills and eStatements that can replace your paper bills with electronic versions.
  • Online Bill Pay can reduce your risk of stolen paper checks.

Wallet & Purse

How it happens

  • Social Security cards and cards with your SS number
  • Credit cards
  • Driver Licenses
  • Voter registration cards
  • Health insurance identification
  • Bank personal identification numbers (PINs)

Steps to prevent it

  • Don't carry your Social Security Card or any documents with your Social Security number. If you need to do so for a specific purpose (e.g., visit to Social Security office, job requirement), be sure to remove the card when you get home.
  • Limit the amount of credit cards you carry.
  • In case of theft, act quickly to contact your bank and credit card companies to shut down your cards.
  • Store your financial institutions' contact numbers in a reliable place.

Trash & Dumpster Diving

How it happens

  • Bills
  • Credit card applications
  • Unused checking account deposit slips
  • Old bank statements

Steps to prevent it

Before sending to the trash, be sure to shred all papers that contain personal information