Up to 500,000 individuals are victims each year of identity theft,
a fast-growing form of fraud. Fortunately, a few simple steps can
help ensure you stay out of these statistics.
"Identity theft" or "account takeover fraud" involves
criminals stealing a person's personal information. The crooks
assume a person's identity, apply for credit in his or her name,
run up huge bills, stiff creditors and generally wreck the victim's
At Zapata National Bank, we put a combination
of safeguards in place to protect customers, including employee
training, rigorous security standards, data encryption and fraud
detection. You can take these steps to avoid becoming a victim:
By law you are only liable for the first $50 of
unauthorized charges against a credit card. Still, restoring your
identity can be a tremendous inconvenience. It's worth your while
to exercise a little preventive maintenance. Protect yourself against
this terrible crime.
- Don't give your Social Security or account
numbers to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the
- Tear up receipts, old bank statements and unused credit
card offers before throwing them away. Crooks could steal
information from your trash and use it to get credit in your
- Review your bank and credit card statements as soon as
you receive them to check for unauthorized transactions.
- Protect your PINs and computer passwords; use a combination
of letters and numbers and change them often. Never carry
this information with you!
- Order copies of your credit report once a year to ensure
accuracy. Call any of the three national credit reporting
agencies: Trans Union (800-888-4213), Equifax (800-685-1111)
and Experian (888-397-3742).
- Report any suspected fraud to your bank and credit card
issuers immediately so they can start work to close accounts
and clear your name right away.