One of the most valuable things each of us possesses is our identity. Unfortunately, thieves know this all too well. That's why in the last decade the frequency of identity theft schemes has risen dramatically. Identity theft can happen in many ways, including:
- Phone solicitations
- Stolen mail
- Card swipes at restaurants
Even though most fraud is committed offline, much of the spike in recent identity theft schemes involves the use of the Internet, social media sites, or e-mail to solicit your personal information. But you don't have to abandon the web to stay safe from this unscrupulous activity. You simply need to be informed about the pitfalls that exist and the best ways to avoid them.
What you need to know
Criminals send e-mail messages to lure people to phishing web sites, which are fraudulent sites that look legitimate and attempt to trick users into providing sensitive personal information. The criminals send the messages to thousands of people in hopes that at least a few will respond. The e-mails can create a sense of urgency by saying that your account will be closed if you do not respond immediately. Do not fall for this scam. First Tennessee has all of the information we need to do business with you. We will never ask you to supply your personal information by e-mail.
Staying up-to-speed on the latest online tactics used by ID thieves is a great way to make sure you don't become their next victim. Familiarize yourself with how the schemes below work and check back from time to time to get more information on new ID theft scams.
What you need to do
Protect your computer. There are several types of software programs that criminals use to commit financial fraud. Protect your computer by installing firewall, anti-spyware, anti-virus, and spam blocker programs from reputable companies that update their products frequently. Turn off/disconnect your computer when not in use.
Delete e-mails from senders you don't recognize. If you don't recognize the sender of an e-mail, delete the e-mail immediately. Do not respond to an e-mail from someone you don't recognize and clear your deleted items regularly to limit your risk. If you do get an e-mail that you think is from a person or company you recognize, use caution when clicking on embedded links because criminals may use those links to direct you to fraudulent sites. Instead, type the addresses into your browser to access the site.
Monitor your accounts frequently. The most important way to protect yourself from financial fraud is to use the technology available to you to check your accounts regularly. Banking Online is a great way to keep track of your accounts 24/7. If you aren't a Banking Online customer, we recommend using First Link (800-382-5465), our automated phone system, in combination with your monthly statements to carefully monitor your account activity.
How we work to protect you
First Tennessee uses cutting-edge technology and trained employees to aid in fraud detection. We monitor fraudulent Web sites constantly and work to shut them down as soon as possible. We constantly monitor account activity to detect fraudulent credit or debit card transactions and notify customers when we suspect fraud. Additionally, we participate in industry consortiums made up of some of the largest financial institutions in the United States, which allows us to address emerging issues in Internet and e-mail fraud.
However, please keep in mind that it is imperative that you as a customer monitor your accounts regularly and report suspicious activity immediately. When fraud has been committed, we will work with you to block the affected account and reissue any credit or debit cards that are impacted.
How to report an incident
Reporting an incident related to your First Tennessee account. If you have disclosed sensitive information in a phishing attack, immediately contact First Tennessee Online Financial Services at (888)382-6654 and alert a banking online representative to the situation. You should also contact one of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax 800-525-6285; Experian 888-397-3742; TransUnion 800-680-7289) and discuss whether you need to place a fraud alert on your file, which will prevent thieves from opening a new account in your name.
Reporting other incidents. If you suspect an e-mail or web site is fraudulent, report this information to the real bank, company or government agency, using a phone number or e-mail address from a reliable source. Report all suspicious contacts to the Federal Trade Commission by calling 1-877-IDTHEFT.