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Identity thieves get better every day at scamming unknowing consumers.  Their methods range from online traps, to phone calls claiming a loved one is incarcerated in a foreign country, to outright stealing from your mailbox. At every turn these thieves come up with new ways to take what is not theirs: your money. It’s important to try to learn everything you can about how identity thieves are stealing your information, because in the fight against them, you are the most valuable weapon.

Legitimate businesses will not call or email you to ask for personal information.  They will not ask for your password, security code, account number, or online username.  If someone calls you to ask for this information, hang up immediately and call the business directly.  They can tell you if anything in your account is amiss.  If you initiate a call, you may be asked for some identifying information such as  . However, you should not be asked for information that would allow someone to access your account such as a username or password for online banking.

Try to spot warning signs in email and text messages.  Many times fraudsters will make errors in the email and text messages they send.  Did you notice grammatical or spelling errors in the message? Is there a URL in the message with a misspelling or lots of symbols?  If so, it is likely that this is a fraudulent email.  You may also notice that these emails frequently ask for your urgent attention.  They want to get you to respond before you have time to think better of it.  If you get an email that claims to be from Charter Bank and it looks strange, give us a call and we will help you determine if it is legitimate.

Stay in the know. The longer it takes to learn that someone has accessed your accounts, the more damage they can do. It’s important to pay attention to your accounts.  Online banking makes it easy to view your accounts and the transactions that are taking place quickly and securely.  If you notice a transaction you did not make, you can quickly put a hold on your account(s) until it is straightened out.

We know that identity theft is scary.  Rest assured, we are here to help! Remember to give us a call if you receive an email, text or phone call that seems suspicious. We will check on your account to be sure all is well.