At Metro Bank, we have no higher priority than the security and privacy of your financial information while providing exceptional customer service. Metro Bank strives to protect your information and understand the amount of trust we have been given. Metro Bank also wants to help you protect yourself against crimes targeted against consumers such as Identity Theft and E-mail “Phishing”. Metro Bank's Privacy Statement explains how Metro Bank ensures protection of your personal information. The following information is provided to help you protect yourself from becoming a victim and an explanation of methods to help you repair your good name if you become a victim of identity theft.
What is Identity Theft? According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Identity Theft occurs when someone uses your personal information such as your name, Social Security number, credit card number or other identifying information, without your permission. Your information is used to commit fraud or other crimes. Identity thieves use various low and high-tech methods to attempt to obtain your information to commit fraud or other illicit purposes. When businesses, financial institutions, or credit granting companies come looking for payment, you are left with the hassle of proving your innocence. Over the last few years, the Internet has proven to be an easier medium that identity thieves use to conduct scams to trick consumers into divulging their personal information.
E-mail and Website Fraud (Phishing)
E-mail fraud scams are sometimes commonly known as “Phishing” or “Spoofing”. In a phishing or spoofing scheme, a consumer receives an e-mail directing them to a fraudulent website. In most cases, the criminal has designed the website to closely resemble that of a legitimate organization and is difficult to notice as a bogus site. They typically use a business that has wide name recognition and normally is associated with being a trusted business by consumers. The “spoofed” website will typically ask for personal and financial information to be verified or confirmed. The criminals can then use the information for identity theft. Over recent months, e-mail scams have used the names of government agencies, legitimate financial institutions, Internet auction sites, and electronic payment services, and others.
Protecting Your Information
To help prevent your information from being compromised first, make sure your passwords are all different. Do not use the same password on all of your accounts… and try to use a few different usernames if you can.
Next, be sure and choose a password that is not easy to guess. Avoid names (husband, wife, kids, cats, etc.), social security, phone numbers or addresses. Also avoid common words such as password, logon, state name, etc.
With the proliferation of information access in today’s climate, it is difficult to be 100% protected as a consumer. However, there are several methods if employed that may help you prevent your information from being compromised significantly. The following best practices are offered for your use:
- Never give your checking account, credit card or Social Security number to unknown callers performing unsolicited sales calls. Again, never give your personal information to an unsolicited contact.
- Never give out your ATM, Check Card, or credit card PIN (Personal Identification Number).
- Never write your PIN or Password on your ATM or Debit Cards.
- Review all bank and credit card account statements and report any inaccuracies or unauthorized charges immediately.
- Report lost or stolen checks, ATM cards, or check cards immediately.
- Never leave your checkbook in your vehicle.
- Protect your ATM, Check Card, and credit card receipts.
- Make a photocopy of the contents of your wallet. Include both sides of your drivers’ license and any credit, ATM, or debit cards; you carry with you on a regular basis.
- Mail bills from US Postal mail drop boxes. Do not mail bills from your home mailbox.
- If you applied for a credit card and do not receive it when expected, call the financial institution immediately.
- Sign new credit cards immediately before someone else does.
- Memorize your Social Security number and all of your passwords for your accounts.
- Do not carry your Social Security card or birth certificate on you. Please leave them in a secure location.
- Do not use your date of birth or your Social Security number as your password and do not record passwords on papers you carry with you.
- Never leave transaction receipts at ATM machines, on counters at financial institutions, or at gasoline pumps.
- Closely monitor the expiration dates on your credit cards and contact the issuer if you do not receive a replacement prior to the expiration date.
- Beware of mail or telephone solicitations that offer prizes or awards. Especially if they offer or ask you for personal information or financial account numbers.
- Match your credit card receipts against your monthly bills and check your monthly financial statements for accuracy.
- Watch for your monthly financial statements and bills. If you do not get them when expected, contact the sender of the statements or bills.
- Do not reply to or click on a link in an e-mail that warns you, with little notice or prior legitimate expectation, that an account of yours will be shut down unless you confirm billing or other account information. Instead, contact the company cited in the e-mail by using a telephone number or other form of communication that you are sure is genuine (either through a billing statement or via telephone book listings).
- Before submitting financial information through a website, look for the “locked padlock” on the browser’s status bar typically at the bottom of the right of the page or look for https:// at the beginning of the web address in your browser’s address window. Having both of these does not guarantee that the website is legitimate, but it does indicate that the website is secure.
What to do if you become a victim of Identity Theft
If you believe that you have been victim of identity theft, the following action items will help minimize your exposure:
- File a police report with your local police department.
- Contact the fraud departments of the three credit bureaus listed below and have a fraud alert placed on your credit files and a victim’s statement asking creditors to call you before opening new accounts or changing existing accounts:
1. Trans Union— 800-680-7289
2. Experian — 888-397-37423.
- Obtain a credit report from each credit bureau and review them for any additional fraudulent activity. You are entitled to one free credit report in a two-year period.
- Close and change account numbers on all bank and financial accounts you feel may have been compromised or close accounts opened fraudulently. You will be required to prove your identity by those financial service companies (See the information below on how to do this.
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. You may go online and file a complaint at http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft/ or contact them via telephone at 877-438-4338.
- Obtain an “Identity Theft Affidavit” from the FTC and forward a copy along with a copy of your police report to each business where your information was used to open an account.
- Maintain detailed records of all actions taken by you. Document dates, times, and full names of persons who you speak with concerning your case. This log of information will be crucial as you rectify your accounts.
What to do if you believe your Metro Bank account has been compromised
Metro Bank does not contact customers to request or verify security information about login id’s, passwords, PIN’s or other security measures in place to protect your account. However, when you contact Metro Bank, our employees may ask for specific information to verify your identity to ensure your privacy and protection. If you feel your Metro Bank account may or has been compromised contact Metro Bank at (205) 884-2265.
It is our goal to keep consumers informed and educated in taking the right precautions to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft and account fraud. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Metro Bank at (205) 884-2265.
For more information on Identity Theft and other types of account fraud, please visit the following websites:
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