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The Most Common Types of Identity Theft

A finger over a keyboard pressing a key labeled “identity theft.”

There are hundreds of ways that someone can get your personal information and steal your identity. Many do it to gain financial advantage, access credit or other benefits, or even evade the law. With December being Identity Theft Awareness and Prevention Month, individuals must be aware of identity theft and the most common types. At Landmark National Bank, privacy and security are our top priorities, and we want to help you keep your identity and personal information safe at all costs.

Financial Identity Theft

Financial identity theft is the most common type and occurs when an individual uses another person’s info to attain goods, services, or information. For example, a thief could use stolen bank account numbers, debit card numbers, or other personal financial information to completely wipe out your accounts, take out loans or obtain credit cards. You may notice suspicious activity on one of your cards or accounts and realize you weren’t the one making those purchases.

It’s crucial to check your accounts regularly and pay close attention to what charges appear to avoid being a victim of financial identity theft.

Medical Identity Theft

Medical identity theft is when someone steals your information to submit fraudulent claims to medicare or other insurers to try and procure free medical care. Often, people don’t have health insurance or can’t afford it. They will attempt to get prescriptions or receive medical care under your name with your information.

Medical identity theft can negatively affect your medical records, health insurance costs, and in the long run, possibly your credit report. To avoid this type of identity theft, you’ll want to shred any old documents that contain personal information, continue to check your credit, and check your medical records every so often.

Criminal Identity Theft

Criminal Identity theft, although not as common, takes place when an individual pretends to be someone else to avoid arrest, court, or a warrant for their actual identity. It can also mean someone is pretending to be you while committing crimes to avoid getting caught.

Keeping an eye on your Social Security number, driver’s license, and other important documents in a safe place is crucial to avoid criminal identity theft. If someone takes your information and it goes unnoticed, they could commit fraud and crimes under your name without you knowing for years.

Child Identity Theft

Adults aren’t the only target when it comes to stealing someone’s identity. It’s common for someone to obtain a child’s personal information to gain credit, a specific residence, or employment. This type of identity theft is less likely to get discovered and can go on for years. Accounts and loans can get opened under a child’s name without anyone suspecting a thing.

It’s important to keep your child’s documents and information in a safe and secure place and frequently monitor your child’s credit reports.

Avoid Identity Theft With Landmark National Bank

Identity theft is no joke, so make sure to stay aware and always keep your personal information personal.

When you choose to bank with Landmark National Bank, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your privacy and safety are our top priority. Read up on all of our fraud prevention and security measures and open a personal savings account with us today!

What To Do if Your Identity Is Stolen

Worried-looking woman looking at a laptop in the dark holding a credit card

The month of December is Identity Theft Awareness and Prevention Month, and with it being near the holiday season full of online shopping and credit card swipes, this is a topic everyone should take seriously. Not everyone understands how easy it is for your identity to be stolen, and many are unsure what to do if it happens to them. With the help of Landmark National Bank, you’ll learn how to avoid identity theft and what to do if your identity is stolen.

How Does Identity Theft Occur?

There are so many ways for your identity to be stolen, and while many think they’re taking extra precautions, that may not always be enough. Identity theft usually begins when your personal data is exposed through hacking or data breaching. Criminals make use of your personal information illegally for their benefit under your name.

Identity theft can occur in many ways, some of which include:

  • Mail theft
  • Credit card/debit card theft
  • Stolen personal information
  • Spam calls

How To Avoid Identity Theft

According to the FTC, Americans filed nearly 1.4 million identity theft reports in 2021. Avoiding identity theft isn’t always easy, because there are many different ways an imposter can get your information. Your personal information can be accessed in a variety of ways, often without your knowledge. You can’t guarantee that you won’t encounter some sort of identity theft or fraud throughout your life, but there are ways to help avoid and prevent it. Some of the ways to avoid identity theft include:

  • Destroy private records and statements
  • Secure and check your mail often
  • Consistently review your credit reports
  • Consistently check your bank accounts/statements
  • Safeguard your Social Security number
  • Be cautious when using ATMs

What To Do if Your Identity Is Stolen

Even when you’ve brought ways to avoid identity theft into your daily routines, it can’t always be avoided. Once your identity is stolen, it’s important to act quickly and take the steps to get ahead of the situation before it gets out of hand.

If you suspect that your identity has been stolen, the first step is to call one of the three credit reporting agencies and place a fraud alert or freeze your file. Now that your files are frozen, you should close or cancel any other accounts associated with your name. Additionally, you should order new cards and account numbers and let all parties know about your situation. You should then report this crime to the local police and obtain a copy of the report so that credit companies and other financial institutions can get a copy.

Finally, you should file a theft complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). It’s important to take identity theft and fraud seriously because if it isn’t caught early on, it can cost you in the long run or even recur in the future.

Protect Your Identity With Landmark National Bank

At Landmark National Bank, privacy and security are our top priorities when you open accounts with us. Our fraud prevention and security systems help protect you with a combination of firewall barriers, encryption techniques, and authentication procedures to maintain the security of your online session and protect your accounts.

When you open an account at Landmark National Bank, you don’t have to worry about your bank account or personal information being leaked—we’ll have it locked up tight. Make sure to take all the precautionary measures necessary to protect your identity and open an account with Landmark National Bank today!

How To Protect Your Family From Fraud

Computer art of a masked identity thief, standing behind a laptop that reads “personal data”

In observance of International Fraud Awareness Week, which takes place every November, it’s important to be aware of the different types of fraud and the ways in which you can protect yourself and your family members from financial fraud. While some are more susceptible to these schemes than others, it is important for everyone to remain vigilant when it comes to protecting their finances.

At Landmark National Bank, we are here to help you stay on top of your financial assets and protect yourself from fraudulent schemes designed to take advantage of you and your family. Continue reading to learn more about the most common types of financial fraud and tips for avoiding them.

Common Types of Fraud

Before you can learn how to protect yourself, you must first understand the signs of fraud and the different types of fraud that you or your family members may be subjected to. The four main types of financial fraud to be aware of include:

  • Identity theft
  • Phishing
  • Elder fraud
  • Advance fee fraud

Identity Theft

Identity theft is the most common type of fraud. Almost six million people were victims of identity theft in the year 2021. This happens when someone steals another person’s identity, including their name, credit card information, and Social Security number. This stolen information is used to commit fraud and other crimes, including applying for credit, filing taxes, getting medical treatments, and even going shopping. Becoming a victim of identity theft has a lot of repercussions, including a real hit to your credit score.

Phishing

A man using a laptop, the screen reads “Do not show this message again.”

Another very common type of financial fraud is phishing. While phishing can lead to identity theft, it is a much more specific process for stealing one’s personal information. This type of fraud begins with an email that could appear as though it is from a reputable company. It may even come from your financial institution.

You may see words such as “immediate attention required” throughout the email prompting you to click a link that will redirect you to another website. The page you are redirected to will either be a phony website or the actual company’s website. In the first situation, you may be asked to update your personal information including your name, address, and Social Security number. If the second situation happens, a pop-up window will appear for the purposes of harvesting your information. Either way, you could become a victim of identity theft if you click on suspicious links.

Elder Fraud

The older generation tends to be the most vulnerable to financial scams due to inexperience with technology and scammers assuming older adults have plenty of money in the bank. There are five common ways scammers try to commit elder fraud. These include:

  • Government impersonation scams. This involves the scammer impersonating a government program such as the IRS, Medicare, or Social Security and threatening arrest due to unpaid taxes. From there, they ask for the person’s Social Security number and begin committing fraud.
  • Sweepstakes and lottery scams. These scams involve someone calling an older adult and claiming they won the lottery or some kind of sweepstakes. However, in order to receive their “winnings,” the older adult must send money or gift cards to the scammer to cover fictitious “transaction fees” or similar nonexistent expenses.
  • Phone scams. A common robocall involves the person on the other end asking, “Can you hear me?” until the person they called says, “Yes,” and then they hang up. From there, they can use the person’s affirmative response as a way to authorize unwanted credit card charges.
  • Tech support scams. A pop-up or blank screen will appear on a computer claiming the computer is broken and needs to be fixed. When the older adult calls the number that appears, the person on the other end of the phone will either request remote access or a fee in order to fix the problem. With remote access, the scammer can gain personal information in order to begin committing fraud.
  • The grandparent scam. This last type of scam plays on the older adult’s emotions by calling and pretending to be a grandchild to the person. From there, they will demand money or other personal information.

Most of these scams occur over the phone with the person making the call requesting personal information from the person they are trying to steal from. However, older adults are still at high risk of becoming victims of phishing and other types of identity theft.

Advance Fee Fraud

Advance Fee Fraud is a scam that involves someone demanding an up-front payment in exchange for a number of services. Some things that may be promised in exchange for the money include products, services, and exclusive deals. They may also claim that they need your help obtaining money from a country that is in political turmoil or that they want to help police catch thieves and are raising money to do so.

Whatever their reason is for needing the money, the one common thing is that the scammer never fulfills the promise and is never heard from again. Victims are almost never able to retrieve their money from the scammer since personal information is never exchanged.

How To Avoid Financial Fraud

A smiling woman using a laptop, typing on a calculator and holding a smartphone in her other hand

It’s easy to worry about how vulnerable you and your family members may be to financial fraud. The good news is that there are several steps you can take in order to avoid falling victim to the above scams.

First, it’s important to avoid giving out personal information over the phone if you receive a call from an unknown number. Always double-check any number that calls you and contact your financial institution if you are unsure. You can always call the institution yourself by looking up their number online if you think there is a possibility they could be legitimate.

You should also never open and/or click on a link from an unknown source. It is especially important to train younger kids and grandparents who don’t have as much experience with technology to not click on suspicious links. Lastly, keep on top of your finances by checking statements frequently. Some banks and credit card companies even have an app you can download to your phone to allow you easy access to bank statements and transaction information. If you see suspicious activity, contact your financial institution immediately.

Protect Your Finances at Landmark National Bank

At Landmark National Bank, we want to help you protect your finances. If you’d like more information on avoiding scams or just need some advice when it comes to your financial security, check out our blog. Contact us today and our skilled advisers can set you up for success with personal checking and savings accounts. Find your local branch to begin banking with Landmark National Bank today!

Common Bank Account Scams To Avoid

Illustration of a robber in a ski mask holding a giant magnet, pulling coins from a phone that reads “send”

With the rise of the internet, credit and debit cards, and mobile payment options over the last few decades, scammers have more channels than ever to try and access your hard-earned savings. It’s important to protect yourself from bank account scams that target your finances, but it can be hard to know what to look for to avoid being scammed.

As a part of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we’re here to offer helpful advice on common types of bank account scams, what to look for, and how to avoid them.

What Happens if I Get Scammed?

Depending on the type of scam, several different things can happen once you fall victim to an anonymous scammer. Some types of scams are a one-time deal—a scammer takes your money and runs off, like a robbery. However, other types of bank account scams are ongoing and only stop once you can fully secure your bank account again.

Since these scammers operate in a way that makes them hard to trace, it can be difficult or impossible to get your stolen money back. Plus, once someone has been scammed, scammers will often record their information as a potential easy target, and they will begin to receive even more scam attempts.

Common Types of Bank Account Scams

A confused middle-aged woman sits at her laptop with her hand in the air

There are new types of bank account scams popping up all the time, but these are a few of the most common types of scams that target thousands of Americans every year.

Overpayment Scams

Recently, overpayment scams have become more and more common, likely due to the fact that they are relatively believable and play off human emotion. An overpayment scam involves a scammer sending money to their victim, usually by check, often as payment for an item the victim is selling. The amount on the check will be significantly larger than the price of the item that the victim is selling, and the scammer will request that the extra money be sent back to them. A few weeks later, the victim discovers that the original check was fraudulent, and they lose out on the “extra money” they returned to the scammer—and often the item they were selling.

An overpayment scam can also take the form of an online refund that the scammer, who is impersonating customer service for a large company, tricks the victim into thinking has been transferred to their account. The refund will be larger than the amount the scammer told the victim they would receive, and they ask for the extra money back. Once the victim sends the extra money back, they discover that the original transfer was never made, and they lose out on the money they’ve now sent.

To avoid these scams, make sure when selling something online that you only accept cash or a secure transfer app, like Venmo or PayPal. And if somebody contacts you needing information or access to your account, call the customer service number of the company they claim to work for.

Phishing Scams

In a phishing scam, a scammer will typically try to steal your information by getting you to click on a link or enter private information in a form. These phishing attempts often show up as emails. Similar to an overpayment scam, the scammer may pretend to work for customer service at a large company or may even pose as a member of your own company, asking you to follow a link or asking for your account information for work purposes. The link you click can contain malware that has the potential to record your login credentials and passwords for the scammer to use.

To be safe, don’t open any emails from untrusted sources—they may be disguising phishing scams. Most email services do a good job of filtering these types of messages into spam, but still, practice caution when checking your emails.

Credit Card Skimmers

A credit card skimmer is an innocuous device that a scammer will attach to a credit card reader. They’re usually located at a gas pump, ATM, or other unsupervised card reader, though sometimes they are attached to card readers inside stores or gas stations. When you swipe your card through a reader that has a card skimmer attached to it, the skimmer will record your credit or debit card information for the scammer to steal.

To protect yourself from a credit card skimmer, make sure to get a good look at any card reader system before you swipe your card. A card skimmer will often be attached to the system’s magnetic stripe reader itself, so feel around and even pull on the reader to ensure there’s nothing attached.

Fake Job Scams

Fake job scams became more prevalent during the first COVID-19 lockdown when many Americans were laid off or otherwise unemployed and looking for work. A fake job scam often involves a scammer, posing as a recruiter, interviewing, or even offering a job to their victim. This fake job could be posted on a job board or recruiting website, or the scammer may reach out directly to their victim via email or phone.

The fake job is usually very enticing, with a low barrier to entry and the promise of quick money or a high salary. These scams often lead to overpayment scams or even identity theft if the scammer can convince the victim to send personal information like their bank account number or Social Security number. Bank account scams that involve fake jobs work because they often target people who are desperate for employment and play off their emotions by offering huge salaries or hourly wages. Remember: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

100 dollar bill hanging from a fishing hook, used as bait

What To Look For To Avoid Getting Scammed

In general, scammers try to invoke a sense of urgency when setting up their scams. They know that if they give their victim too long to think, they may realize that things don’t add up. So don’t let yourself be rushed into any decisions when dealing with a stranger online. Take your time and trust your gut. In general, never give out any personal information online unless it’s a website you trust. Consider limiting the personal information you keep on your social media profiles, like your birthday, address, and phone number. And above all, never send money to a stranger online, even if they promise to pay you back tenfold.

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

As a part of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Landmark National Bank is committed to educating Kansas residents about cybersecurity and the potential dangers online. With a bit of education, you can protect yourself from scammers online so nobody gains access to your bank account.

Protect Your Financial Future With Landmark National Bank

For us at Landmark National Bank, security is a top priority. We will never request personal information like your bank account number, Social Security number, or any password via email or phone. If you’re looking for a bank that takes your security and your finances seriously, open a checking account with Landmark National Bank today.

Online Banking: How To Make A Strong Password

Screenshot of a web user entering in their username and password into a login form.

If you use the internet on a regular basis, chances are you have to log in to one or more of your private accounts. Email accounts, social media accounts, online bank accounts, and more, most platforms that contain your personal information require you to sign in with a unique username and password to ensure your data is protected. While usernames are often easy to come up with (e.g., your email address, first and last name, etc.), learning how to make a strong password can feel daunting—especially because cybercriminals are getting better at hacking every day.

Because it is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Landmark National Bank is here with information from the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency on how to make a strong password for all your online accounts—but most importantly, your online bank account.

The Current State of Password Breaches

 According to Verizon’s 13th annual Data Breach Investigations Report, 80% of hacking-related breaches over the past year were directly tied to lost or stolen credentials (passwords being a part of these credentials). In addition, a large number of these breaches were caused by phishing scams—or online schemes in which cybercriminals create fake emails, phone calls, or text messages to appear as if they were sent from a legitimate source.

Cracking The Code For Strong Password Creation

Learning how to create a strong password for your online bank account is crucial for protecting your financial security. Fortunately, with these password security measures in place, you can rest assured you are doing all you can to ward off cybercriminals and protect your money:

  • Use a long “passphrase” instead of a password – To defend yourself against cybercrime, using long, complex passphrases instead of a single word is a must. Use your favorite movie title, a news headline, lyrics to a song, or any phrase that you are familiar with while adding punctuation and capitalization.
  • Don’t create easily guessable passwords – Personal information in your passwords— such as your spouse’s name or pet’s name—is often easy to find on social media, which makes it easier for cybercriminals to hack your accounts.
  • Avoid common words – Rather than writing out common words, consider substituting letters with numbers, punctuation marks, or symbols. For example, use the “$” instead of the letter “S,” or the number “8” in place of the letter “B.” You can also use phonetic sound replacements (think “PH” instead of “F”) or misspell words on purpose.
  • Use unique passwords for different accounts – Rather than using the same password for all your accounts, create unique passwords for each. In the event of a breach, cybercriminals will not be able to access all your information with just one password.
  • Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) – If multi-factor authentication is an option on any of your accounts, make sure to utilize it. This ensures only you have access to your information, as you will be required to complete a second login step via your smartphone or authenticator app before accessing your account.
  • Don’t share your passwords with anyone – From friends and family to co-workers, don’t share your passwords with anyone. The more you share a password, the less powerful it becomes. Again, be sure to watch out for phishing phone calls, emails, or text messages in which cybercriminals attempt to dupe you into providing your confidential information.

Remembering Your Passwords: Using A Password Manager

If you are worried about managing and protecting all your unique passwords, consider using a password manager to help you oversee all your login credentials. This solution can generate strong passwords, as well as organize and secure them all in one application. Some of the most popular password managers are LastPass, Dashlane, and 1Password.

For peace of mind, choose a password manager that keeps your data encrypted and decrypted at the device level, meaning even their servers don’t have access to your information in the cloud. Additionally, you should look for a password manager that features multi-factor authentication options for extra assurance.

Keep Your Online Bank Account Secure with a Strong Password

Safeguarding your online bank account has never been more important—and learning how to make a strong password is the first step to protecting your money. Thankfully, with these password tips implemented, you will keep your Landmark National Bank account as secure as possible.