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Identity Theft


Identity theft, or fraud, occurs when an unlawful person steals another person’s information and
uses it to benefit themselves. This information can range from Social Security numbers to driver’s
license numbers and bank account numbers. This illegal activity can be done in a variety of ways,
but more recently the Internet has become a hub for this type of fraudulent behavior. According to
the American Bankers Association, the total number of Americans who have experienced identity
theft has surpassed 27 million, with the incidence rate increasing each year.


There are a number of different types of identity theft. Identity theft may be used to facilitate
crimes including illegal immigration, terrorism, and espionage. Identity theft may also be a means
of blackmail. There are also cases of identity cloning to attack payment systems, including online
credit card processing and medical insurance (Wikipedia). Listed below are some different types of
identity theft and their explanations.

 •    Financial Identity Theft
      The use of someone else’s financial information to steal his or her identity. With this
      information, the criminal can perpetrate the victim and steal money, set up a means to
      launder money, and ruin credit.

 •    Criminal Identity Theft
      Occurs when a criminal embezzles personal information or uses a fake ID to steal someone
      else’s identity. A warrant is given out for the arrest of the victim, and the criminal is liberated
      from facing the consequences.

 •    Identity Cloning
      Occurs when a person takes someone else’s identity and assumes the victim’s identity in his
      or her daily life. This could be used to hide from the authorities. For example, an illegal alien
      could be hiding under a citizen’s name.

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Identity theft can happen through a number of different methods. These methods are usually
carried out by physical contact with paperwork or through electronic means.

 •   Account Hijacking
     The fastest growing form of identity theft, some 2 million people were victimized last year
     alone. Account hijacking occurs when a criminal obtains your personal banking information
     and uses it to take over your bank accounts.

 •   Dumpster Diving
     An unlawful person searches through garbage for personal information.

 •   Hacking
     Taking information from computers through viruses and Trojan horses

 •   Pickpocket
     Physically stealing payment information or identification.

 •   Shoulder Surfing
     Eavesdropping or looking over someone’s shoulder for personal information

 •   Phishing
     Impersonating a reputable institution to gain trust, and then asking for information. For
     example, someone sends out a phishing email imitating a credit card company. This e-mail
     usually contains a link that might ask the victim to click and update his or her information.
     This link will take the victim to a look-a-like website of a company. Once that personal
     information has been entered, the thief now has access to the information provided by
     the victim.

     The Gartner Research Center found that losses from phishing attacks in 2004 was
     $37 million, in 2006 it was $2.8 billion. They also found that the number of U.S. adults
     who received a phishing email doubled from 57 million in 2004 to 09 million in 2006.

                                       OUR SERVICE EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS.

Facts and Statistics. Identity Theft Resource Center. Apr. 2007.


Protecting against identity theft can be easy, as long as the proper steps are taken to safe guard
personal information. Substantial measures are in place at Community Bank to protect your identity
and your accounts against theft and fraud. For example, Community Bank’s privacy policies protect
your personal and financial information and require password protection and encryption of online
transactions. While Community Bank of Tri-County has instituted stringent policies to protect your
information, it is the responsibility of each of us to help protect our personal information. Listed
below are some tips for helping protect your personal information from identity theft.

 .   Do not give out financial information (account numbers, credit card numbers or your Social
      Security number) unless you know the organization or person requesting this information.
      Notify Community Bank or your credit card company of any suspicious phone inquiries such as
      those asking for account information.

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 2.   Report lost checks, credit/check cards and ATM cards immediately. Community Bank can
      immediately block account funds.

 3.   Instead of signing the back of your credit card, write “See Photo ID,” this way if a thief takes
      your card it cannot be used without your identification.

 4.   Shred any financial solicitations and bank statements before disposing of them. To avoid
      disposal of paper statements, Community Bank offers free e-Statements through Online

 5.   Put outgoing mail into a secure, official Postal Service collection box. Some thieves have been
      known to raid home mail boxes.

 6.   Periodically review your credit file and make certain the information is correct. You are entitled
      to one free credit report annually from each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax,
      Experian and TransUnion). The three nationwide consumer reporting companies have set up
      one central website, toll-free number and mailing address through which you can order your
      free annual report. For a free report, visit                              or call 877-322-8228.

 7.   Install a firewall, anti-virus software, and anti-spam software on your computer and make sure
      these systems are updated often. Be wary of pop-ups. Look at them closely before clicking
      anything. You may think you are closing the box, but instead you could be allowing a virus
      to be planted on your computer. Be wary of emails from people you don’t know.

 8.   Choose passwords that are extensive and difficult to guess using a variety of
      different characters.

 9.   Use common sense and use caution when deciding to provide personal information.

Community Bank is taking substantive measures to protect the safety and security of your
accounts. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the protection of your financial identity,
please visit your nearest Community Bank branch location and speak to one of our bankers.

                                      OUR SERVICE EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS.


Equifax (                 )
Place a fraud alert: 888-766-0008
Order a credit report: 800-685-

Experian (                    )
Place a fraud alert and order a credit report: 888-397-3742

TransUnion (                      )
Place a fraud alert: 800-680-7289
Order a credit report: 800-888-423


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