Mercer Savings Bank

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Mercer Savings Bank

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Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft

From accessing accounts to swiping your credit card at the fuel pump, you use your personal data to do everyday tasks. We’re so accustomed to conducting much of our lives online that we often don’t think about where our information is going and how safe it really is. Identity theft can happen to anyone, but knowing how it occurs, how to protect yourself, and what to do if your identity is stolen can help you safeguard your information and increase your peace of mind.

How Does Identity Theft Happen?

Scammers can steal your identity online, by phone, or in person. Identity theft might occur when someone:

    • Finds identifiable information about you from your social media profile
    • “Phishes” for information about you through fraudulent emails, texts, or calls
    • Steals your wallet or purse to get your ID and credit cards
    • Installs a skimmer on an ATM, cash register, or fuel pump to digitally capture your card number
    • Gets personal information from your phone when you join a public wifi network

With access to your personal and financial information, scammers can use your credit cards, open new fraudulent cards in your name, and more. That’s why it’s so important to take proactive measures to protect yourself.

How Can You Protect Your Identity?

Fortunately, there are lots of steps you can take to minimize your risk. Implement these identity protection tips to stay safe. 

If you don’t recognize the number, don’t answer the call! This goes for texts and social media messages, too. 

Don’t forget to keep your Social Security card safely filed away in a safe deposit box or home safe instead of your wallet.

Bring your mail in each day. If you’re planning to be away from home for awhile, you can place a hold on your mail for up to 30 days through the USPS.

At Mercer Savings Bank, you can turn your card on and off, set location and spending alerts, and view transaction history all from your phone.

Use an encrypted connection

When you’re accessing the wifi at your local coffee shop or a hotel, make sure the connection is encrypted. If it is, you’ll see a lock symbol or https in the address bar of your browser. 

Enable multi-factor authentication

Two-factor or multi-factor authentication is a great way to protect your accounts online. In addition to your password, multi-factor authentication allows you to set up additional security checks before signing into an account. This might include a code texted to your phone or face ID. 

Keep browsers and applications up to date

Browsers and apps are regularly rolling out extra security features and protection. An easy way to ensure you’re using the latest version is to turn on automatic updates for your phone and computer.

Use strong passwords and update them regularly

Strong passwords should use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Use different passwords for different websites to limit your risk in the event a site is hacked. 

Changing your passwords regularly is a good way to minimize your exposure to potential breaches. For more tips to create a strong password, check out our blog. 

Limit what you share on social media

Sharing too much personal information or responding to those copy and paste question lists can give scammers the info they need to correctly answer your password challenge questions.

Know how to spot scams 

You’ve likely received a suspicious email claiming you’ve won a contest you didn’t enter or need to respond IMMEDIATELY. These are two common tactics scammers use to tap into your emotions. Learn how to spot all 5 common scam tactics on our blog.

Protect your personal information by shredding documents you no longer need. Mercer Savings Bank sponsors Community Shred Day events in Darke and Mercer County. Contact us for details.

What to Do If Your Identity Has Been Stolen

Having your identity stolen is a stressful, upsetting experience. After taking a deep breath, here are a few things you should do first to minimize the damage. 

  1. Notify the organizations where you know fraud occurred.
    • Most companies will have a fraud department they can connect you to. Let them know what happened and ask them to close or freeze the fraudulent accounts. Change your password and PIN for these accounts.
  2. Contact one of the three credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit report.
  3. File an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
  4. File a report with your local police department.
    • Bring a copy of your FTC report, a government issued photo ID, proof of address, and any proof you have of the identity theft with you.

The FTC’s Identity Theft website has additional information and resources to walk you through the next steps. For additional tips on what to do if your wallet is lost or stolen, visit our blog.

Keeping Your Banking Information Secure

At Mercer Savings Bank, we take security seriously and put measures in place to protect you. We use Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology that encrypts data in transmission between our bank and our customers.

We also require vendors and staff to proactively ensure systems have appropriate security measures. Check out our e-products page for more information about online banking with us.

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