How to Prevent Fraud
While American Bank employs the security measures to ensure the security of your personal information, you must take the necessary measures to protect the computer system you will use to access your accounts at American Bank. Therefore, we suggest that you take the following precautions to ensure that your home computers are protected when you access the Internet:
- Ensure that you have the most current release of the software running on your computer. This can be done by going to the website of the operating system vendor (for example, Microsoft) and downloading and installing all new system updates and patches.
- Protect your computer with anti-virus software being sure to update it regularly and add a personal firewall to your computer.
- Be sure to install anti-spyware software as this will prevent various websites from placing malicious programs on your computer.
In addition, we recommend the following best practices:
- Memorize your passwords and PINs instead of writing them down.
- Never reveal your Sign-on ID or password to anyone. No employee of American Bank will contact you and ask for your Sign-on ID or password.
- Avoid obvious passwords or PINS, such as your zip code or year of birth, and never use personal information, such as your social security number.
- Change your password on a regular basis.
- Don’t leave your computer while you are signed on to the online banking system. Be sure to sign-off properly when you are finished with your online banking session.
- If other people have access to your computer, clear your browser’s cache in order to remove copies of web pages that may have been temporarily stored on your computer.
- Don’t use public computers for banking activities.
Finally, make sure your Internet browsing session is secure. You can tell your data is being protected, when you see a URL that begins with “https”. You should also see a padlock or key graphic, either locked or unlocked.
Protect Yourself From Identity Theft
We are committed to helping you protect your private, personal information. That’s why we provide important information about an issue that affects more and more people every day. We also want to offer you several tips you can follow in order to keep your private information just that.
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. Credit card numbers, driver’s license numbers, social security numbers, date of birth, and other personal identification can net criminals thousands of dollars in a very short period of time. Most often, identity thieves will obtain your personal identification numbers from the trash and obtain credit in your name by having credit cards, goods or services delivered to their address or mail drop. Since the bills for charges incurred will be sent to the thief’s address, not yours, you will be unaware that debt is mounting up in your name until the collections departments track you down. By then your credit report will already be riddled with late payment histories and show many accounts in collections. As you can imagine, the credit reporting bureaus will be reluctant to change negative credit without proof that you didn’t make the bad credit.
Identity theft can take months and sometimes even years to detect and can take about the same time to correct the damage. According to the California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) and the Privacy Rights Clearing House, victims of identity theft spend an average of 175 hours and $808 in out-of-pocket costs (not including attorney fees) to fix their wrecked credit problem. Identity theft can significantly traumatize anyone because it is unnerving to know (or not know) the extent of the damage to your name, credit or reputation. There have been cases reported where it has taken a victim years to restore their credit and good name, and had problems being able to cash checks, obtain loans or even rent an apartment.
- Run a credit report on yourself to see if there are any unknown credit inquiries or unauthorized accounts.
- Reconcile your debit card and credit card statements in a timely fashion and challenge any purchases that you did not make.
- Limit the number of credit cards you have to reduce exposure, and cancel any inactive accounts.
- Destroy all unused pre-approved credit card and loan applications. The mailbox thief only has to fill them out and redirect the return address to start using your credit.
- Never give out any important identification numbers, including your driver’s license, credit card, bank account, date of birth, or social security number to anyone you don’t know over the telephone.
- Minimize exposure of your driver’s license number, date of birth, social security number, and credit card numbers. If the numbers are requested for check cashing purposes, ask if the business has alternative options such as using a check cashing card.
- Safeguard your credit, debit and ATM card receipts and shred them before disposing of them.
- Shred your bank statements and any tax documents when you dispose of them.
- Before disposal, shred paycheck stubs and W-2 forms that contain your social security number and often your name and address. This is a common way for dumpster divers to obtain important identification.
- Scrutinize your utility and subscription bills to make sure the charges are yours
- Destroy all checks immediately when you close a checking account. Destroy or keep in a secure place any courtesy checks that your bank or credit card company may mail to you.
- Memorize your passwords and personal identification (PIN) numbers. Keep your PIN numbers somewhere that only you know.
- Don’t give out your PIN or write them on your credit cards or ATM cards.
- Keep a list of or photocopy all credit and identification cards you carry with you, including front and back, so that you can quickly call the issuers and inform them about missing or stolen cards.
- Don’t give away too much personal information on your family website. Full names, dates of birth, and address is too much information to post. By obtaining your “place of birth”, the identity thief can possibly get your duplicate birth certificate.
- Protect your mother’s maiden name, especially when using family tree tracers and genealogy service websites. Maiden names are often used as passwords to access accounts over the telephone.
- Never leave your purse or wallet unattended, at work, at restaurants, at health fitness clubs, in your shopping cart, at church, or at social gatherings. Never leave your purse or wallet in open view in your car, even when locked.
IF YOU BECOME A VICTIM
- Report the incident to the police immediately. If you know where your identification was stolen, that would be the correct police jurisdiction in which to report it. Insist being given a police report number and get a copy to enclose in correspondence with credit agencies.
- Report all stolen cards to the issuers immediately and request new card numbers. Always respond to written credit card receipt notifications received in the mail.
- Notify your bank in the event that your checks are stolen and request that your account be closed.
- In order to prove your innocence, be prepared to fill out affidavits of forgeries for banks, credit grantors, and recipients of stolen checks. They are joint victims with you and may suffer a financial loss.
- Be prepared to work with retailers who have been victimized by someone using your name to help mitigate their losses, if necessary.
- Contact the social security office if someone is using your social security number to establish credit or new accounts. If SSN fraud is suspected, call the Office of the Inspector General hotline at 800.269.0271.
- Obtain copies of your credit report periodically to see if there are any unknown credit lines in your name. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report, at your request, from each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion once every 12 months. You can learn more about how to obtain your free credit report(s) by clicking here. You can also purchase additional copies of your credit report for less than $10. All three major credit reporting agencies in the United States have toll free numbers which can be utilized for ordering a credit report. Equifax: 800.685.1111, Experian: 888.397.3742, TransUnion: 877.322.8228. Each agency has a consumer fraud division-call them.
- Report suspected fraud to the credit reporting agencies and request that your account be red flagged with a fraud statement posted at the top of your report to all three credit reporting agencies. This will stop future credit from being issued until you are contacted and will remain in place for seven years or until you cancel the request. These agencies will also help clear up negative information on the reports due to fraud.
- Visit IdentityTheft.gov, a website developed by the Federal Trade Commission, for additional information. It is a helpful resource to make it easier for victims to report and recover from identity theft. The website provides an interactive checklist that walks you through the recovery process and helps you understand which recovery steps should be taken upon learning that your identity has been stolen. It also provides sample letters, specialized tips for specific forms of identity theft, and advice if you have been notified that your personal information was exposed in a data breach.
Protect Your Business From Corporate Account Takeover
Corporate Account Takeover is a form of business identity theft where cyber thieves gain control of a business' bank account by stealing employee passwords and other valid credentials. Thieves can then initiate fraudulent wire and ACH transactions to accounts controlled by the thieves. Click here to learn more about corporate account takeover and how you can further protect your business accounts.
Free Annual Credit Report
Now you can help prevent identity theft while at the same time review and monitor your credit report. Each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – are required to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. These three companies have set-up one central website, toll-free telephone number and mailing address through which you can order your free credit report.
There are three easy ways you can order your free annual credit report:
- Visit annualcreditreport.com
- Call toll-free: 877.322.8228
- Mail your completed Annual Credit Report Request Form to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
Please note that, according to the Federal Trade Commission, there is only one authorized website if you want to order your credit report online: annualcreditreport.com. If you get an e-mail or see a pop-up ad claiming to be from annualcreditreport.com or any of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies, do not reply or click on any link in the message – annualcreditreport.com will never send you an e-mail solicitation for your free annual credit report, use pop-up ads, or call you to ask for personal information. If you want to order your free annual credit report online, carefully type in the name “annualcreditreport.com”, or go to the Federal Trade Commission’s website which has a link to it.
Fraud Notification Alerts
When we suspect fraudulent ATM or Debit Card activity, we will attempt to contact you to verify the activity, but we are not liable in the event we are unable to do so. You agree we may contact you at any phone number (including mobile, wireless/cellular, or similar devices), email address or mailing address within our records. We may contact you by live operator, auto-dialer, recorded or artificial voice, text, or email. When you receive an alert from us, you may (i) verify the activity in question; (ii) accept or refuse the involved transaction(s); or (iii) speak to one of our representatives about the activity in question. If you receive an alert from us and you are not sure if it’s legitimate, please contact us at 610.366.1800 or 888.366.6622. You may opt-out of text messages at any time by contacting us to remove your cellular phone number from the alert profile. You agree to pay any charges from your plan provider for communications we may send you, as well as communications you send to us.
Security of Your Account Information While Traveling
If you are planning to travel outside of the U.S., we recommend contacting us with the dates and locations of your travel plans to assist us in analyzing the legitimacy of your account activity, which includes, but is not limited to, online banking, Debit Card, credit card and ATM card activity. You may also want to update the Bank's records to include a phone number where you can be reached while traveling. To update your contact information: 1) send us a Message through the ‘Messages’ function after you sign on to AmericanBank Online; or 2) provide us with a written request either by mail or in-person.
Your financial protection is our primary concern, and we are committed to providing you with the most advanced fraud protection solutions available in the market place. In keeping with this commitment, we have implemented a tool which allows us to restrict ATM and Debit Card use in countries identified by us as having a high volume of fraudulent activity (“Blocked Countries”). Therefore, before traveling outside the United States, you should check our website and review the list of Blocked Countries or call us at 610.366.1800 or 888.366.6622. As situations may warrant, our list of Blocked Countries may change in the future, so please refer to our website, AMBK.com, or call us at 610.366.1800 or 888.366.6622 to obtain the most current list of Blocked Countries. If you are planning to travel to a country listed in our "blocked" list, please give us a call so that we may discuss alternative means of accessing cash while you are away.
Security and Monitoring of Your Credit Card
For your protection, we monitor your credit card account by utilizing real-time fraud monitoring, which will aid in the prevention of fraud immediately by declining the transaction while the fraudster is still at the point-of-sale.
If you are planning to travel outside of the U.S., contact the bank with dates and locations to prevent your card from being blocked. You may also want to update the bank’s records to include a cell phone number where you can be reached. To update your information, please submit a written request by mail to: American Bank, Attn: Credit Card Department, 4029 W. Tilghman St. Allentown PA 18104; by fax at 610.289.3326; or in-person.
When fraudulent card activity is suspected you will be contacted immediately by a fraud analyst to verify the transaction.