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Identity Theft

Identity theft is a serious crime where people try to illegally use your personal information for their own gain. Information like your name, address, date of birth, Social Security Number, online banking passwords and PINs, credit and check card numbers are keys to your financial information. When scammers obtain your confidential information, they can charge expenses to your accounts, create new accounts in your name, or use your personal information for other illegal purposes.

How Your Identity Can Be Stolen
Identity thieves look for pieces of your personal information. Here are just a few ways in which thieves might obtain your identity:

Searching your trash.
This is called “Dumpster Diving” – a term to describe people who rummage through your trash to find unshredded information like credit card offers, old bills, and bank statements.

Intercepting your mail.
Thieves can complete “change of address” forms and receive mail that’s intended for you.

Stealing your wallet or purse.
Your wallet or purse can contain a wealth of information about you including your account numbers, address, and date of birth.

Accessing your employer’s files.
Your place of work stores a lot of your personal and business information and can be a target for identity thieves. Talk to your company’s security officer to learn how your information is protected.

Getting information directly from you.
Sometimes, thieves pose as telemarketers, or someone who might have a legitimate reason to ask for your personal information (like your bank, employer, or landlord). They even use fake emails and Web sites to try and obtain information from you.

Signs of Identity Theft
Identity theft is dangerous because it can remain hidden for a relatively long time before it’s identified. Here are some signs to help you identity if you’ve been a target of identity theft:

Missing mail.
A telling sign of identity theft is if you are missing mail or see a significant drop in amount of mail you receive.

Suspicious transactions.
Monitor your accounts, statements, and credit reports and look for unusual transactions.
Unexpected declines.
Be alert to any unexpected declines for a loan or a mortgage despite your good credit.

Strange calls.
Calls from a collection agency you don’t recognize are another sign that someone has stolen your identity.

New credit cards.
A credit card in the mail that you haven’t applied for could be a sign that someone has attempted to steal your identity.

Protect Yourself
The important thing to remember is to use caution when disclosing personal and financial information. There are a number of ways you can help protect yourself from identity theft:

Sign the back of your credit and debit cards.
This minimizes the possibility of someone else using your card.

Keep your credit card receipts.
Don’t throw your receipts away. They can help you double check your bank and card statements and identify any suspicious activity.

Report lost or stolen credit cards immediately.
If you lose your credit or check Cards or if they are stolen, it’s important that you contact your bank immediately.

Cancel and destroy all unused cards.
Call the banks to cancel the cards and destroy the cards before throwing them out. When you destroy the cards, make sure the numbers are no longer recognizable.

Leave out personal information on your checks.
Don’t include your driver’s license, telephone, or Social Security Numbers on your checks. By omitting this information, you keep confidential information away from prying eyes.

Promptly collect incoming mail.
Your incoming mail has clues to your personal information. Make sure you collect it promptly.

Shred your junk mail.
Make sure you shred all your junk mail before you throw it away – especially credit card offers which could contain confidential information.

Don’t drop your outgoing mail in your mailbox.
It is safer to drop your outgoing mail in official Postal Service collection boxes than your mailbox – especially if your mailbox is not locked.

Review your credit reports.
Make sure they’re error-free. There are three credit-reporting agencies whose reports can show different information. It’s best that you review them at least once a year.

Equifax: 800.525.6285 or
Experian: 888.397.3742 or
TransUnion: 800.680.7289 or

Don’t give out your personal information to unsolicited requests.
Unsolicited email and pop-up Web page requests for personal information can be scams. If a request seems suspicious, call the company to check it out.

Keep your personal information in a safe place.
Don’t store a list of credit card numbers, PIN numbers, or passwords in your wallet or on your computer. Memorize this confidential information.

For more information on how to protect yourself from identity theft and the steps you can take to safeguard your computers and personal information, review the online educational tool on FDIC’s Web site.

If You’re the Victim of Identity Theft
If you think you’re a victim of identity theft, take these steps immediately.

Notify one of the three major credit bureaus and place a fraud alert on your credit report.
Call the toll-free number of any of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit report. This can help prevent an identity thief from opening additional accounts in your name. Once the credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the other two credit bureaus will automatically be notified.

Equifax: 800.525.6285 or
Experian: 888.397.3742 or
TransUnion: 800.680.7289 or

Contact your financial institutions and credit card companies.
Close the affected accounts and open new ones with new personal identification numbers and passwords.

Contact the local police department and ask to file a miscellaneous incident report.
Even if the police do not catch the criminal, having a police report can help you clear up your credit records. Ask for the case number and a copy of the report.

Contact all the businesses that have opened accounts in your name without your permission.
Close the accounts and let the businesses know that the accounts were opened fraudulently. Make sure you communicate with the businesses in writing.

Notify the Federal Trade Commission.
Call 877.ID.THEFT (877.438.4338) or visit By sharing your identity theft complaint with the FTC, you will provide information that can help law enforcement officials track down identity thieves.

Report stolen mail.
File a report with the Postal Service. Call your local Postal Inspector or visit .

Call the Social Security Fraud Hotline.
Immediately report that your card has been lost or stolen by calling the Hotline at 800.269.0271.

Report stolen checks.
If your checks have been stolen or misused, stop all payments and contact these check verification companies:
TeleCheck  800.710.9898
Certegy  800.437.5120

Alert the Securities and Exchange Commission.
If you identify suspicious activity in your investment accounts, call the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) at 800.732.0330.

Learn More About Identity Theft

The best way to protect yourself against identity theft and online fraud is to use caution when providing personal and account information and to stay informed about scams. Following are a few useful links for additional information:

On Guard Online:
FTC Consumer:
U.S. Department of Justice:
USPS Postal Inspectors:
FTC Spam:
For more information on how to protect yourself from identity theft and the steps you can take to safeguard your computers and personal information, review the online educational tool on FDIC’s Web site.

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Atlantic Coast Bank routing number: 261271717

Lost or stolen cards
During business hours: Call 1-800-342-2824; option 5
After hours: Call 1-800-342-2824; option 3, then option 1

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