Avoid Identity Theft and Online Fraud

Protect your identity and avoid online fraud. Scams such as Spoofing and Phishing to commit identity theft are becoming more prevalent. Protecting your personal information from identity theft is a crucial matter and there are many ways the unscrupulous can gain access to such information.

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft involves the use of your personal information - such as your name, Social Security number, credit card or bank account numbers, or other identifying information - by someone else, to commit fraud or other crimes.

  • E-mail Phishing - Involves your receiving an e-mail that appears to be from a legitimate company, such as AltaPacific Bank. It may even include the company's logo and a link to an Internet address that looks appropriate. This e-mail directs you via a link to a website where you are to supply account or personal information. However, simply clicking the link could secretly install software on your computer. The software may infect your computer with a virus or record and transmit everything you type, including passwords. Additionally, the website you link to may be spoofing the correct Internet site.
  • Website Spoofing - Involves your trying to visit a website but accidentally keying-in or linking-to a different address. This may lead you to a website that mimics the legitimate site that you were trying to visit. The spoof Internet site may route whatever information you provide to criminals. This can include your account numbers, Social Security numbers, credit card information, passwords and personal identification numbers. To make spoof sites seem legitimate, criminals may use the logos, graphics, names and code of the real company's site. They also may attempt to fake the URL that appears in the address field at the top of your browser window and the padlock that appears in the lower right corner.

If you receive what may be a phishing e-mail or visit what might be a spoof website referring to AltaPacific Bank, please contact us immediately at:

AltaPacific Bank
707.236.1500

If the e-mail or website had references to another company, you should contact that company directly.

Protect Yourself Online

  • Do not reply to an e-mail or pop-up message asking for personal or financial information. Legitimate companies like AltaPacific Bank will never ask for personal or financial information via an e-mail or pop-up message.
  • Don't e-mail personal or financial information.  If you initiate a transaction, look for indicators that the message is secure, which can be validated by a lock icon. Most e-mail programs do not provide confidentiality via encryption.
  • Use bookmarks to access known sites to avoid being lured to imposter sites.
  • Use updated anti-virus software. Some phishing emails contain viruses and software that can harm your computer.

Other Ways To Protect Yourself

  • Always shred unwanted documents that contain personal information – including any bank notices, utility bills, mortgage notices and credit card statements.
  • Don't leave mail in your mailbox and place outgoing mail in a secure mail drop or US Postal Service mailbox only.
  • Don’t leave receipts at ATMs, gas pumps, etc. Take them with you and shred them once you have verified them against your account statement.
  • Review credit card and bank statements immediately for unauthorized charges and contact the company if statements are more than a few days late.
  • Don’t carry your Social Security Card with you -- memorize it.
  • Don't write down passwords, and always use passwords that are not related to your family name, address or phone number.  A creative password that incorporates alpha, numeric and special characters is best.
  • Report lost or stolen credit and debit cards immediately.

Review Your Credit Report

We recommend that all consumers review their credit report at least once per year. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – to provide you with a FREE copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.  The following sites can assist you:

  • Annual Credit Report.com – www.AnnualCreditReport.com - This central site allows you to request a free credit file disclosure, commonly called a credit report, once every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
  • Equifax - www.equifax.com; 1-800-685-1111
  • Experian - www.experian.com; 1-888-397-3742
  • TransUnion - www.transunion.com; 1-800-916-8800

Get More Information

For additional information on phishing and identity theft, go to the Federal Trade Commission's Website at www.ftc.gov and look at the following brochures:

More information may be obtained at the following sites:

  • Privacy Rights Clearinghouse - http://www.privacyrights.org/identity.htm - is a nonprofit consumer education, research, and advocacy program based in San Diego. This link goes to their identity theft page.
  • The Identity Theft Resource Center - http://www.idtheftcenter.org - (ITRC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing and implementing a comprehensive program against identity theft.

Important Contact Information if You've Been a Victim of Identity Theft

U.S. Government Agencies

  • Federal Trade Commission
    Identity Theft Clearing House
    Hotline: 877-438-4338
    IDD: 202-326-2502
    Website: http://www.ftc.gov/idtheft
  • Social Security Administration
    Fraud Hotline: 800-269-0271

Credit Reporting Agencies

For more information on Identity Theft, you can visit the Federal Reserve Bank's webpage  or click on the brochure below.

Identity Theft Brochure