Identity theft and fraud are a risk to everyone and can affect our daily lives. If you have been a victim, you understand the frustration and vulnerability from your experience. Although the threat of identity theft can affect our personal, business and financial lives, becoming more informed and taking preventative measures can help mitigate the risk of identity theft and fraud or mitigate the severity of loss and time spent recovering from it.
North Shore Bank is committed to helping you protect your private, confidential information from identity theft and fraud. Please refer to the following information and resources to help you learn more about different scams, where to report information about scams and steps to take if you are or believe you may be a victim of identity theft.
Steps to take if a victim of identity theft or a fraud scam:
- Contact your bank, credit card company or other financial institution if you know or believe your account has been compromised. Close and open a new account or deactivate credit cards or debit cards if lost, stolen or fraud has occurred.
- Notify police if you have suffered a loss.
- Place a fraud alert on your credit report with one of the three national credit reporting agencies. If you file with one, they will forward to the other two.
- Pull a free copy of your credit report to review for any fraudulent activity. You may pull a free credit report from each of the three national reporting agencies once every 12 months. Monitor your credit report at least annually. The credit report is free; credit scores and other services are not.
Where to file a complaint, find out more information about identity theft/scams and report phishing emails:
- You can call the new toll-free number: 866-347-0911. Leave a message with your name, call back number and type of fraud. Someone will return your call.
- Go online to http://www.MnScams.org and fill out the fraud complaint form. You can submit the form electronically or you can print a paper copy and mail to:
Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement
444 Cedar Street, Suite 133
St. Paul, MN 55101-5133
- Forward emails that claim you’ve won a prize/ask you to send money to firstname.lastname@example.org. The focus of this effort is on these lottery and sweepstakes frauds. However, other spam emails can be forwarded to this address. The information in these emails will be sent to the appropriate authorities to investigate.
Safety Tips (if contacted by phone, email or other electronic methods):
- Do not provide personal information if contacted.
- Beware of Scare (Pressure) Tactics. Tell person you will go to local office to discuss issues.
- Contact financial institutions by previously provided phone numbers, addresses, and websites.
Different Types of Identity Theft & Fraud Scams:
- Cell Phone Scam: A person receives a recorded phone call (currently targeting cell phones) that states the person’s debit card/credit card has been deactivated. To reactivate the card, the message states that you must press the number ‘1’ on your keypad and then provide certain information. All these scammers want is a person’s account information so they can take over identities and empty bank accounts. You should always come in or contact your financial institution to determine if something appears fishy, and never provide confidential information when receiving phone calls.
- Faxed Wire Scam: The Bank receives a wire request to transfer money out of an account with a destination often to a bank located in another country. The target is often a business account. The fax will come in on the same letterhead that the business uses. The fax will display a signature from a person who actually handles the accounting responsibilities for the business; often the person who signs checks, opens accounts, etc. The signature will be an exact duplicate for this accounting person. It is imperative that your bank never sends a wire transfer for any request not received in person without contacting the business (person) to confirm the authenticity of the request.
- Foreign Lottery Scam: A person receives a letter or phone call claiming s/he has won a bogus foreign lottery or sweepstakes and urges the “winner” to wire money or give credit card or bank account information to claim the “prize.”
- Grandparent Scam: Grandma or Grandpa receive an urgent call (usually around a holiday season) that their grandchild is in a bad situation in another country and needs money sent (have been in an accident, car needs to be towed or the grandchild is shopping and needs money for a duty tax). As it turns out, the grandkids aren’t even on vacation, etc...
- The Bank Phishing Scam: A person receives a text message or email from their bank claiming that account numbers and identity need to be clarified in order to restore the account.
- The MBA is hoping to significantly reduce these scams in Minnesota through a partnership spearheaded by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division (AGED): The Minnesota Fraud Enforcement Partnership.
- The partnership has created a place for bankers to report frauds and scams. If a bank customer receives a questionable letter, check, or text message, bankers can forward the information on to the people at MnScams who will work to shut down the scammer’s main form of communication with victims: a phone number or email address.