Did you know? The Federal Trade Commission indicated that there were 4.8 million identity theft and fraud reports received in 2020, up 45 percent from 3.3 million in 2019, mostly due to the 113 percent increase in identity theft complaints. In 2020,1.4 million complaints were for identity theft, up from 651,000 in 2019. Identity theft complaints accounted for 29 percent of all complaints received by the FTC, up from 20 percent in 2019.
That's why at Lead Bank we arm our clients with identity theft prevention information and security tips.
Report lost, found or stolen Lead Bank debit cards and credit cards immediately to 1-800-472-3272.
Basic Safety Precautions
Tip 1: Safeguard your Personally Identifying Information
Social Security Number
- Do not carry your Social Security card and be cautious of your surroundings when disclosing your Social Security number.
- Never provide your SSN to anyone unless absolutely necessary for a verifiable legitimate reason. When possible, other pieces of identification should be used. Do not carry your SSN in your wallet/purse and never write it on a check.
- Giving your SSN is voluntary, even when you are asked for the number directly.
- If requested, you should ask why your SSN is needed, how your number will be used, what law requires you to give your number and what the consequences are if you refuse. The answers to these questions can help you decide if you want to give your SSN. The decision is yours. For more detailed information, we recommend the publication Your SSN and Card located on the Social Security Administration's web site at https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10002.pdf.
- Never provide your Social Security number unless you have initiated the contact and have confirmed the business or person's identity.
- Be certain of the identity of anyone telephoning you requesting information. It is wise to ask the name and business of the caller and then hang up returning the call to that business using a telephone number derived from the phone book rather than from the caller. Be wary of anyone professing to represent law enforcement or a bank.
- Do not use your full or partial Social Security number as a Personal Identification Number ("PIN") or a password. If you must provide your Social Security number in an e-mail or on a website ensure that it is encrypted, and you know how the recipient will protect it.
- Do not record your Social Security number on a check, traveler's check, gift certificate, etc., unless required by law.
- Finally, make sure your Social Security information is correct with a free personal online "my Social Security" account with the Social Security Administration. There is no fee to create a "my Social Security" account, but you must have an email address. To set up your account, visit ssa.gov and select Create an Account (or select Sign In at the top right). Then, follow the step-by-step instructions which you may download at: https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/assets/materials/EN-05-10378.pdf.
- Do not give private, confidential account information to anyone unless you know with absolutely certainty that the need for such information is legitimate.
- Do not share confidential information with anyone over the telephone unless you were the one that initiated contact.
- Do not e-mail personal or financial information. E-mail is not a secure method of transmitting Personal Information. If you want to provide your personal or financial information to Lead Bank, please do so by calling us or visiting us during business hours.
- Periodically check your credit reports to ensure that someone has not obtained credit using your identity. (See section entitled Important Victim/Consumer Resources and Internet Links for more information.)
- Carefully guard your mail leaving outgoing mail at the post office rather than in your personal mailbox. As soon as possible, remove all incoming mail from your mailbox.
Tip 2: Properly Safeguard and Dispose of Confidential Documents
- Review your monthly bank statements promptly and carefully. If there are any discrepancies or items in question, immediately report to Lead Bank.
- Consider purchasing a home shredder or, at the very least, be extremely careful with what you place in the trash. Items thrown in the trash such as bills, cancelled checks, marketing solicitations, account statements, etc. are an easy target for those attempting identity theft.
- Tear, shred, or otherwise destroy such items as credit card solicitations, expired credit cards, bank statements, checks, account statements, etc.
- If bills do not arrive on time, immediately report it to the business rendering the bill. There may have been fraudulent charges and the bill either stolen or the address changed to keep you from becoming aware of this activity.
- Stop receiving paper account statements and canceled checks. View and download them online instead.
- Sign up for direct deposit to have your funds put directly in your account without paper checks.
Tip 3: Secure your Computer
- Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software, as well as a firewall, and update them all regularly.
- Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software detect and remove viruses and spyware, which can steal your Personal Information.
- Prevent unauthorized users from gaining access to your computer, or monitoring transfers of information to and from the computer, by installing a firewall on your PC.
- Install Operating system and software updates, (i.e., "patches" or "service packs") upon receipt/notification.
- Keep your web browser current and ensure it meets the Bank's security requirements.
- Use strong passwords on all accounts and on your PC's. Strong passwords have the following characteristics:
- Contain both upper and lower case letters;Have digits and punctuation characters as well as letters;
- Are at least eight characters long;
- Are not a word in any language, slang, dialect, jargon, etc.; and,
- Are not based on Personal Information, names of family, etc.
- Always select passwords that are difficult to guess and do NOT use the same password for your Lead Bank account as for other non-Lead Bank web sites.
Tip 4: Safeguard your PIN, Photo ID, and Debit/Credit Cards
- Only carry the identification and debit/credit cards that you need and leave all others in a secure location.
- Do not keep passwords on your person and never write this sort of information on your debit or ATM cards.
- Be particularly aware when using an ATM and ensure that no one close by can see the information you are entering.
- Never lend your password or PIN number to anyone, even family members. To do so means that you could be responsible for the results.
- Contact us immediately if you have not received a new debit card prior to your current card expiring. We mail new cards in time to arrive before the expiration date of the existing card. Therefore, if a new card has not arrived by the expiration date, there is a possibility that the new card has been stolen from the mail.
- Destroy expired debit cards.
Tip 5: It's Okay to be Rude to Scammers
Scammers try to take advantage of your politeness to get you to hand over money or personal information. Here are some situations when it would be just fine to interrupt, hang up, and not give a caller the time of day:
- They want personal information. Never give your personal or financial information to someone who calls you unexpectedly. If someone claims they are from a government agency or organization, find the number for the agency yourself and call to verify their claims. If you have already given someone your financial information, call your bank or credit card company to stop any transactions.
- They want you to send money right away. If someone calls and asks you to wire money - like on MoneyGram or Western Union - or buy prepaid debit cards - like Green Dot and others - stop. That's a sure sign of a scam. Even if the caller says you won a prize, you owe a fee, or your child or grandchild is in trouble, talk to someone you trust before you pay anybody your hard-earned money.
- They keep talking. The more questions they ask, the more likely they are to get personal information from you. If someone won't take no for an answer, just hang up.
- They're threatening you. Government agencies won't call and threaten to arrest you. Debt collectors can't threaten you. If a caller starts threatening you, it's time to hang up. If you're concerned about your safety, call your local police.
How Lead Bank Protects your Identity
Lead Bank has implemented an Identity Theft Prevention Program ("ITPP") designed to detect, prevent and mitigate the risk of identity theft in connection with new and existing accounts.
- In order to reduce the risk of identity theft, whenever possible, we truncate account numbers and Social Security numbers on correspondence, statements, and tax forms.
- We incorporate known e-mail related frauds into our Incident Response Plan, and place a notice on our web site to keep customers informed about fraudulent information requests and caution them not to respond.
- If you receive a phone, e-mail or letter from Lead Bank asking you to provide your account number, online banking user-ID and password, or your Social Security number, we want you to contact us.
- To verify the legitimacy of Lead Bank requests for confidential information, please contact us at 816-220-8600.
- To report suspicious e-mails, please forward the e-mail to us at ClientSupport@lead.bank.
Important Victim/Consumer Information, Resources, and Internet Links
Everyone is entitled to one free annual credit report from each of the three major consumer reporting agencies. It is recommended that you request your reports in a staggered fashion to receive one every 4 months. You may request your free credit report:
You may order your reports from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies at the same time, or you can order your report from each of the companies one at a time. The law allows you to order one free copy of your report from each of the nationwide credit reporting companies every 12 months.
Note: you will not be able to contact the three nationwide credit reporting companies directly for a free copy of your annual credit report. They can only be ordered through the methods outlined in the bullet points listed above.
What to Do If You Are the Victim of Fraud or Identity Theft
If you have become the victim of fraud or identity theft, you may contact one of the nationwide credit reporting companies and place a fraud alert in your credit report:
Federal Trade Commission
The Federal government's hotline devoted to identity theft is operated by the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC"). The toll free number is 1-877-IDTHEFT.
The FTC's ID Theft web site provides useful information, such as how identity theft occurs, what identity thieves do using Personal Information they are able to obtain, and how individuals can minimize the risk of falling victim to identity theft. Visit the FTC's website at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft.
Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC)
The Identity Theft Resource Center® ("ITRC"), a nonprofit, nationally respected organization dedicated exclusively to the understanding and prevention of identity theft provides victim and consumer support as well as public education. The ITRC Victim Assistance Center toll free number is 888.400.5530. You may also locate the ITRC online at https://www.idtheftcenter.org/.
Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)
Internet crime is define as any illegal activity involving one or more components of the Internet, such as websites, chat rooms, and/or email. Internet crime involves the use of the Internet to communicate false or fraudulent representations to consumers. These crimes may include, but are not limited to, advance-fee schemes, non-delivery of goods or services, computer hacking, or employment/business opportunity schemes.
The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) accepts online Internet Crime complaints and forwards to applicable federal, state, local, and international law enforcement and/or regulatory agencies for review and potential investigation.
If you believe you are the victim of an Internet crime, or if you are aware of an attempted crime, you can file a complaint on the IC3 website at https://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx. Be sure to include as much information as possible about yourself (i.e. name, email address, mailing address, etc.), the perpetrator, and the Internet crime that you are reporting in order to expedite your complaint.
For more information on Internet Crime schemes and prevention, please go to https://www.ic3.gov/about/default.aspx.
Other Identity Theft Articles
Identity Theft: What to Know, What to Do
Basic information on how to avoid and respond to identity theft.
Identity Theft: Safeguard Your Personal Information
Identity theft occurs when a crook steal key pieces of personal identifying information, which may include a name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, and mother's maiden name, to gain access to a person's financial accounts. Add these tips to your "must do" list to protect your identity.
Tax-Related Identity Theft
Fact sheet discussing warning signs that an identity thief is using your Social Security number.
Mobile Wallet Services Protection
Tips for protecting smartphones, mobile wallet applications, associated data, and mobile wallet services from theft and cyber attacks.
Business Identity Theft Protection Guide
Protect your business from fraud and identity thieves