Identity Theft

Identity Theft

Bank of the Valley offers tips to avoid becoming a victim of Identity Theft.

  • Don't give your Social Security number or other personal credit information about yourself to anyone who calls you. Criminals use this information to open new charge accounts posing as you.
  • Be suspicious if someone contacts you unexpectedly online and asks for your personal information. It doesn’t matter how legitimate the e-mail or website may look. Only open e-mails that look like they are from people or organizations you know, and even then, be cautious if they look questionable. Be especially wary of fraudulent e-mails or websites that have typos or other obvious mistakes.
  • Don’t give out valuable personal information in response to unsolicited requests. Social Security numbers, financial account information and your driver’s license number are some of the details that should be kept confidential.
  • Tear up receipts, bank statements, and unused credit card offers before throwing them away. Criminals can collect bits of information about you by going through your trash.
  • Watch for missing mail and don't mail bills from your own mailbox with the flag up. An identity thief may steal your mail and file a change of address form with your credit card company or the U.S. Postal Service.
  • Review your monthly accounts regularly for any unauthorized charges. Pay attention to billing cycles and account statements and contact your bank if you don’t receive a monthly bill or statement since identity thieves often divert account documentation.
  • Order copies of your credit report once a year to ensure accuracy.
  • When conducting business online, the site that you are on is secure. 
  • Don't open e-mail from unknown sources.
  • Use virus detection software.
  • Choose PINs and Passwords that would be difficult to guess and avoid using easily identifiable information such as your mother's maiden name, birth dates, the last four digits of your social security number, or phone numbers. Protect your PINs and passwords and change them frequently.
  • Be careful about where and how you conduct financial transactions.  For example don’t use an unsecured Wi-Fi network because someone might be able to access the information that you are transmitting or viewing.
  • Report any suspected fraud to your bank, credit card companies, and the fraud units of the three credit reporting agencies immediately. The fraud unit numbers are: Trans Union (800) 680-7289, Experian (888) 397-3742, and Equifax (800) 525-6285. You may also contact the FTC's ID Theft Consumer Response Center toll-free at (877) IDTHEFT.

Here is the contact information for each bureau's fraud division:

Equifax

800-525-6285
P.O. Box 740250
Atlanta, GA 30374

Experian

888-397-3742
P.O. Box 1017
Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion

800-680-7289
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92634

If Your Credit or Debit or ATM Card Information is Stolen

  • Report the theft of this information to the card issuer as quickly as possible.
  • Cancel your account and open a new one. Review your billing statements carefully after the loss.