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ID Theft/Fraud Prevention

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ALERT: There has been a rise in fraudulent scams.  Please familiarize yourself with these common schemes.  If you have any questions, please call or visit a branch near you.  

Identity Theft is affecting more and more people every year. To learn more about ways to protect yourself and what to do if you are a victim of identity theft, explore the information below:.

What is Identity (ID) Theft?

It’s when someone steals your personal information (Name, Social Security Number, Birthdate, etc.) and uses it for illegal gain.

How does it occur?

The thief may use information to apply for credit, file taxes, or get medical services. How can it impact me? These acts can damage your credit status and cost time and money to restore your good name.

How can it impact me?

These acts can damage your credit status and cost time and money to restore your good name.

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What is check washing and how is it used?

Criminals steal paper checks sent through the mail, for example, by fishing them from USPS mailboxes or by taking them out of your personal mailbox. They may even rob postal workers in search of checks. Once they have a check you wrote and mailed, for example, to a charity, they use chemicals to “wash” the check in order to change the amount or make themselves the payee. They then deposit your check and steal money from your account. If you have mailed a check that was paid, but the recipient never received it, you may be a check washing victim.

How can you protect yourself?

  • Consider making payments using e-check, ACH automatic payments and other electronic and/or mobile payments.
  • Use pens with indelible black ink so it is more difficult to wash your checks.
  • Follow up with charities and other businesses to make sure they received your check.
  • Use online banking to review copies of your checks to ensure they were not altered.
  • If you still receive paid checks back from the bank, shred – don’t just trash them.
  • Regularly review your bank activity and statements for errors.
  • Don’t leave blank spaces in the payee or amount lines of checks you write. 

The United States Postal Inspection Services also recommends that you:

  • Drop off mail in blue collection boxes before the last scheduled pick-up time or directly at your local Post Office.
  • Regularly check your mail. Do not leave your mail in your mailbox overnight.
  • If you’re heading out of town, have the Post Office hold your mail or ask a trusted friend or neighbor to pick up your mail.

What to do if you’re a victim?

File a report immediately with:

  • The United States Postal Inspection Service at or call 1-877-876-2455
  • Your local police department 
  • Your financial institution 

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How can Identity Theft & Fraud occur?
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How do I avoid and prevent scams?
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How can I protect myself?
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What are some signs of Identity Theft & Fraud?
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What should I do if I feel that I have been a victim of identity theft?
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Identity Theft Financial Education

For more tips on preventing identity theft, please visit