In the past several weeks, you have learned about various methods digital thieves use to illegally gain access to your personal information. The most common methods include collecting personal information through malware, phishing scams, and spyware. In a world where one person out of every eight eventually becomes the victim of identity theft as a result of the work of digital thieves, we here at Somerville National Bank feel it is important to educate those that live in and around our communities on this growing problem. In this installment of our series, How to Avoid Becoming the Target of Digital Thieves: An Online Fraud Guide, we will be providing you with consumer safety strategies that will allow you to avoid becoming a victim of digital thieves.

A Brief Explanation of Identity Fraud
If a digital thief or another type of criminal obtains your personal information without your knowledge and then uses that information to commit a crime, you are said to be a victim of identity fraud. Examples of the crimes that may be committed using your information include obtaining new forms of credit, purchasing products, and getting services in your name. In many instances, a digital thief may actually tap into your existing accounts and commit illegal acts. Institutions like us here at Somerville National Bank, other banks, lenders, and a variety of other financial institutions work diligently to identify fraud. As a result of this, many attempts by digital thieves are actually thwarted. Unfortunately, not all instances of online fraud and identity fraud result in this matter.

Complacency is Highly Detrimental
According to numerous studies, complacency is considered to be highly detrimental when it comes to online/identity fraud. This is now considered to be a common issue. The quicker fraud is identified, the quicker it may be resolved. Unfortunately, most people fail to see fraud in time to stop it in its tracks. As a result, victims are highly inconvenienced. In most cases, fraud has been identified as the “silent crime”. That is, when it happens, it is not known that it has occurred until the damage is done. When this happens, it is challenging to undo the damage. Research indicates that, for a person that is complacent in reviewing their credit reports and accounts, it could be up to 14 months for fraud to surface in one way or another.

The Signs
You must be diligent. You should learn the signs that you are a victim of fraud. One of the first methods is to review your credit report on a regular basis. The next step is to ensure that you check your bank statements, credit card statements, and other accounts for charges that are not familiar to you. You may also receive notifications from a lender or a type of collector about accounts and/or debts that you are not familiar. Finally, if you have been refused credit unexpectedly, you may be a victim of crimes committed by digital thieves. To learn more about fraud, contact Somerville National Bank today: