Anyone can be a target of identity theft. It can put your financial accounts, credit rating and privacy at risk. But KeyBank is committed to helping you safeguard your information, whether you’re banking on behalf of yourself, or your business.

What Is Identity Theft?

Identity theft is a federal crime that occurs when an individual or group steals private data – such as a Social Security number, credit card or financial account information – to commit fraud, typically for financial gain. Thieves may try to access this information in multiple ways, including by mail, over the phone and online.

Tips to Reduce Identity Theft

You can do a lot to protect yourself from identity theft. Use these tips to better lock down your personal information.

  • Avoid sharing information with unknown parties. Never share your Social Security number, date of birth, driver’s license number or other confidential information with anyone you don’t know and trust. Specifically, be wary of requests for this information via text, online or over the phone.

  • Log in safely. Create unique usernames and passwords for your online banking accounts. Opt for random, unique passwords that combine capitalized and lower-case letters, numbers and special characters, such as $ and @. Avoid using public information like birthdays or addresses for your passwords. Don’t store your login info on or near your computer.

  • Be vigilant. Enroll in online banking and check your accounts frequently. Pay attention to billing statements and payment schedules for unusual activity. Contact your financial institution if any account-related material hasn’t arrived as expected.

  • Update your technology. Make sure you have the latest security software installed on your computer, including firewalls, anti-spy, anti-virus, pop-up blocker and spam filters. Scan your computer regularly to make sure it’s free of any malicious software. Don’t forget to update to the most recent mobile phone operating system, too.

  • Make your online sessions clean. Type site addresses directly into the browser window instead of using links or favorites. Log out of any site as soon as you’re done conducting business there and close that browser window. Consider disconnecting from the internet and power down your computer at the end of each day.

  • Keep your inbox and trash can clean. Delete emails from suspicious sources immediately. Shred paperwork with sensitive information, including unsolicited credit card offers, before recycling or disposing of it.

Dealing with Identity Theft

Acting quickly can help limit the damage of identity theft. Know how to respond when your data has been compromised.

  • Call the KeyBank Fraud Hotline at 800-433-0124.
  • Contact all creditors to close any accounts that have been exposed to fraud or opened without your consent. Take careful notes, including the names of the representatives you speak with, and send a recap letter with photocopies of supporting documents via certified mail to the companies you’ve contacted.
  • Alert the three major credit bureaus to get a copy of your credit report and to place a fraud alert on your file.

    Equifax: 800-525-6285
    Experian: 888-397-3742
    TransUnion: 800-680-7289

  • Change all of your passwords and personal identification numbers (PIN).
  • File an identity theft report with your local law enforcement agency. Mail copies of the report to all of your creditors and financial institutions. You may also be required to file an additional police report in the location where the crime occurred.

Protect Your Business from Commercial Identity Theft

The best defense against business identity theft comes from you and your colleagues being informed and alert. Follow these tips to help protect your company’s private information.

Strengthen online security for your business accounts

  • Use different login information for each online account.
  • Opt for random, unique passwords with a combination of capitalized and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. Birthdays, addresses and other types of public information are easier for scammers to guess, as are commonly used words such as PASSWORD.
  • Require that employees do not record login information.
  • Monitor online business accounts frequently.

Safeguard business identification information

  • Be wary of unsolicited requests for social security numbers or employee identification numbers (EINs). When sharing EINs, record the request.
  • Keep unnecessary information off business checks such as driver’s license numbers, social security numbers or date-of-birth information.
  • Review business credit information at least once a year to check for inaccuracies.

Reduce commercial mail and paper-related risks

  • Shred documents before discarding.
  • Opt for electronic statements instead of paper statements to reduce the risk of theft.
  • Track billing schedules and credit/debit card renewal dates. If a bill, payment or company card is late, contact the responsible party to ensure safety.
  • Place outgoing mail directly in official mail collection boxes.
  • Provide a safe place for personnel to store checks, invoices and receipts.

Identity Theft Prevention Resources

Stay vigilant by keeping informed of the latest scams and using the latest tools offered by these trusted consumer protection sources:

Consumer Advisories Regarding National Banks - this U.S. Department of Treasury site monitors financial topics of concern, including identity theft and foreclosure scams.

FDIC Consumer News - get practical guidance on safely using the nation’s financial services.

National Better Business Bureau - learn about recently reported scams in your area.

Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Consumer Protection

Find the Do Not Call Registry to remove your phone number from telemarketer lists and learn ways to fight identity theft.

Disclosures

The information and recommendations contained here have been compiled from sources believed to be reliable and represent the best current opinion on the subject. No warranty, express or implied by KeyBank, is made as to the absolute correctness or sufficiency of the information contained. This is meant as general information only; particular situations may require additional actions.

This document is designed to provide general information only and is not comprehensive nor is it legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. KeyBank does not make any warranties regarding the results obtained from the use of this information.