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Identity Theft


Identity Theft "What You Can Do to Protect Yourself"


What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft involves acquiring key pieces of someone's identifying information, such as name, address, date of birth, or Social Security number to commit fraud. With this information a thief could take over the victim's financial accounts, open new bank accounts, purchase automobiles, and apply for loans, credit cards, and Social Security benefits.


Check fraud, identity theft, and other financial fraud schemes are in the news daily. Every year, thousands of people are victimized by the use of fictitious identification.

Xenith Bank, a division of Union Bank & Trust of Richmond, Virginia is committed to addressing the financial concerns of its customers by providing information to combat the issue of Identity Theft.

Below are some useful steps to aid in reducing your risk of identity theft.

How do Identity Thieves acquire key pieces of personal information?



How do I protect myself from Identity Theft? 10 tips to prevent identity theft.


1. Guard that Social Security number
The most important step is to guard your Social Security number -- it is the key to your credit report and banking accounts and is the prime target of criminals. Do not print your Social Security number on your checks. After applying for a loan, credit card, rental or anything else that requires a credit report, request that your Social Security number on the application be truncated or completely obliterated and your original credit report be shredded before your eyes or returned to you once a decision has been made. A lender or rental manager needs to retain only your name and credit score to justify a decision.

2. Monitor your credit report
Credit reports can alert you to activity in your financial records. A monitoring service, such as Privacy Guard, will notify you whenever someone applies for credit in your name or checks your credit history. You then can be proactive; call the person and ask, "Why are you checking my credit?" It might be a landlord or employer; it might be legitimate.

In addition to the above precautions, you should:



3. Buy a shredder and use it
Identity thieves may use your garbage to obtain personal information. Shred all old bank and credit statements, as well as "junk mail" credit-card offers, before trashing them. Use a crosscut shredder -- they cost more than regular shredders but are superior.


4. Remove your name from marketing lists

To aid in removing your name from marketing lists and stop unsolicited mail and calls, visit the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information web page.

5. Watch what you carry in your purse or wallet
Do not keep your Social Security card in your wallet or carry extra credit cards or other important identity documents except when needed. These documents can give thieves ready access to your accounts.

6. Keep duplicate records
Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Copy both sides of your license and credit cards so you have all the account numbers, expiration dates and phone numbers if your wallet or purse is stolen.


7. Mail payments from a safe location
Do not mail bill payments and checks from home. They can be stolen from your mailbox and washed clean in chemicals. (This process is commonly called "Flagging"). Take them to the post office.


8. Monitor your Social Security activity
Order your Social Security Earnings and Benefits statement once a year to check for fraud.


9. Monitor your credit card activity
Carefully examine your credit card statements for fraudulent charges before paying them. If you don't need or use department-store or bank-issued credit cards, close the accounts.

10. Know who you are talking to
Never give your credit card number or personal information over the phone unless you have initiated the call and trust that business.


Actions to take if you think you've been a victim of Identity Theft


Where to go to obtain additional information on Identity Theft

The following companies and government agencies can provide more information about identity theft:


Identity Theft Information

Credit Reporting Companies

Equifax: 1-800-525-6285

Experian: 1-888-397-3742

TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289

U.S. Government

Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Hotline:
1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338)

Social Security Administration Fraud Hotline:


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