MIND OVER MONEY.
Take a few minutes out of your day, and get the advice that comes from our years of banking experience. Check back often for tips on how to get more from your money, including more peace of mind.
HOW TO BUILD GOOD CREDIT Potential lenders and companies will look at your credit score.
Pay your bills on time – Late payments will negatively affect your credit score for years.
Try to reduce your debt at every opportunity – Pay down your credit cards, car loans and mortgages when you have extra available cash.
Budget – Make sure you have a plan that accurately reflects your monthly income and expense. Spend wisely. Example: You have a $1000 credit limit on your credit card don’t charge more than $500.
How to check your credit – If you’ve been denied for credit, the denial letter will contain instructions on how you can obtain a free credit report within 60 days from the date you received the letter. A free report can be obtained at www.annualcreditreport.com.
- Log on to annualcreditreport.com
- Call 1-877-322-8228
- Or write: Annual Credit Report Request Service
PO Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
To get a copy of your credit report at any time directly from the credit bureaus; fees may apply.
- Equifax: 1-800-685-1111
- Experian: 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion: 1-800-916-8800
IDENTITY THEFT Keep your personal information secure.
The first step in preventing a stolen identity is to understand how it can occur. Listed below are several methods criminals use to steal your private information.
Dumpster Diving. They rummage through trash looking for bills or other paper with your personal information on it.
Skimming. They steal credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card.
Phishing. They pretend to be financial institutions or companies and send spam or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal information.
Changing Your Address. They divert your billing statements to another location by completing a change of address form.
Old-Fashioned Stealing. They steal wallets and purses; mail, including bank and credit card statements; pre-approved credit offers; and new checks or tax information. They steal personnel records, or bribe employees who have access.
Pretexting. They use false pretenses to obtain your personal information from financial institutions, telephone companies, and other sources.
Now that you have an understanding for how identity theft occurs, here are some tips on how to safeguard yourself. The Citizens Bank would like to provide you with some tips to help prevent this from happening to you.
Do not give out personal information on the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you initiated the contact. We will never contact you by mail, telephone or Internet and ask for your Personal Identification Number (PIN).
Protect your incoming and outgoing mail.
Shred financial documents and paperwork with personal information before you discard them.
Protect your Social Security number. Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write your number on a check. Give it out only if absolutely necessary or ask to use another identifier.
Don’t use an obvious password like your date of birth, your mother’s maiden name or the last four digits of your Social Security number. Never share your password and avoid writing it down.
Review account statements carefully. Checking your accounts carefully can help to quickly detect fraudulent activity.
Review your credit report. Look over your credit report at least annually. A free report can be obtained at www.annualcreditreport.com.
If you believe you are a victim of identity theft you should react immediately. The following are some tips to follow if you suspect your identity has been stolen.
Place a “Fraud Alert” on your credit reports by contacting one of the three major reporting companies.
- Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
- Experience: 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
Close any accounts that have been tampered with or established fraudulently.
File a report with local law enforcement to help with creditors who may want proof of the crime.
Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission online at ftc.gov/idtheft or by phone at 1-877-438-4338.