Identity Theft

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Identity Theft

Identity theft is when someone steals your personal information—such as Social Security number, driver’s license, date of birth, account numbers, etc.—and uses that information to fraudulently make purchases, open accounts, apply for credit, pay bills, make insurance claims or more, in your name. Not only can it cause significant damage to your credit, it can cost a great deal of time and money to resolve.

How do thieves steal an identity?

The thieves might use a variety of methods to steal your information, including:

  • Skimming: Stealing credit/debit card numbers by using a special device on ATMs or when processing a purchase
  • Phishing: Pretending to be a financial institution or other company and sending email or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal information
  • Pretexting: Pretending to be you when they call financial institutions, phone companies and other sources to get additional information
  • Redirecting your mail: Filling out a change-of-address form to have your billing statements sent to an address they choose
  • Old-fashioned stealing: Snatching wallets and purses, mail (including bank and credit card statements), pre-approved credit offers, new checks or tax information; they can even steal a company’s personnel records or enlist employees who have access to your information
  • Dumpster diving: Rummaging through trash looking for bills or other paper with your personal information on it

How do I know if I’ve been a victim of identity theft?

Stolen information can be used in a variety of ways. Some possible signs that your identity has been stolen include:

  • Unfamiliar accounts on your credit report
  • Unauthorized charges on your credit card or bank accounts
  • Getting calls from debt collectors about debts that aren’t yours
  • Receiving bills for services you didn’t use
  • No longer receiving bills, statements, or other mail you should be receiving (sometimes, fraudsters change the address on your accounts to direct mail to their address)
  • Being rejected for medical insurance claims because you’ve reached your plan limit
  • Having credit or debit card transactions declined, or checks refused or returned, when you know you should have sufficient funds in your account

What should I do if my identity is stolen?

Notify all your banks and financial companies as soon as you realize your identity has been stolen or an account is at risk. We'll work with you to help correct any unauthorized transactions in your Community First Bank accounts.

We also urge you to take these steps immediately:

  • Call the fraud departments of all 3 credit reporting agencies. Ask them to place a fraud alert on your file. This alert tells creditors to call you before they open any new accounts in your name.
    • Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
    • Experian: 1-888-397-3742
    • TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
  • File a report with your local police. Even if the police can't catch the identity thief, having a police report can help you clear up your credit records later on.
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Trained counselors staff the FTC's identity theft hotline toll-free at 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338). Or you can file a complaint by visiting