Fraud comes in all shapes and sizes, and its impact can range from a nuisance to financially debilitating. It’s important that you stay vigilant to protect yourself from identity theft and financial ruin.
Know the signs
Monitor the balances of your financial accounts. Look for unexplained charges or withdrawals. Know that Texas First Bank will NEVER ask for your personal information via email or text message, unless YOU initiated the contact. If you get an unexpected email or text message that looks like it's from us, you should call us immediately and do NOT respond.
Other indications of identity theft can be:
- Failing to receive bills or other mail signaling an address change by the identity thief;
- Receiving credit cards for which you did not apply;
- Denial of credit for no apparent reason; or
- Receiving calls from debt collectors or companies about merchandise or services you didn't buy.
Do what you can to prevent fraud
- Only share personal information with sources you trust.
- Only carry the identification, credit and debit cards you need.
- Carefully examine all bank statements to verify charges.
- Shred receipts, checks, insurance forms and bank statements.
- Set up online delivery of your documents.
- If you're on vacation, have someone pick up your mail or request a hold.
- Order and review a copy of your credit report on an annual basis.
- Use social media wisely.
Report suspicious activity
If you believe you’ve identified fraud, please report it. Examples of suspicious activity you should report include:
- False calls pretending to be from Texas First Bank;
- Phishing attempts from people who pretend to be Texas First Bank;
- SMS message phishing ("smishing") from someone pretending to be Texas First Bank;
- Fraudulent Texas First Bank letters received in the mail; and
- Fraudulent Texas First Bank checks in circulation.
NOTE: If you believe you’re a victim of credit or debit card fraud, or would like to dispute a charge, do not complete this online form. Contact our Visa department at: (800) 500-1044 for debit/check cards or (800) 325-3678 for credit cards
Types of Fraud & Best Practicecs
Learn more about some different types of fraud and best practices for preventing it below. If you think you’ve been a victim of identity theft, please follow the steps found in the "Identity Theft" section below and call us so we can put an alert on your account.
Skilled identity thieves use a variety of methods to gain access to your personal information. They get information from businesses or other institutions by:
- Stealing wallets or mail
- Stealing employee records
- Hacking into computers
- Rummaging through trash
- Posing as a landlord, employer, legitimate businessperson, or government official
- Using a special information storage device in a practice known as skimming to steal your card information at an ATM or gas pump
Once identity thieves have your personal information, they may:
- Go on spending sprees
- Open new accounts or change the mailing address on your existing accounts
- Take out loans in your name
- Counterfeit checks or debit cards, and drain your bank account.
- File for bankruptcy under your name to avoid paying debts they've incurred or to avoid eviction.
- Give your name to the police during an arrest. If they are released and don't show up for their court date, an arrest warrant could be issued in your name.
What do I do if I've been a victim of identity theft?
Even if you've been very careful about keeping your personal information to yourself, an identity thief can strike. If you suspect that your personal information has been used to commit fraud or theft, take the following four steps right away. Remember to follow up all calls in writing; send your letter by certified mail, return receipt requested, so you can document what the company received and when; and keep copies for your files.
1. Place a fraud alert on your credit reports and review your credit reports.
Call the toll-free fraud number of anyone of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit report. This can help prevent an identity thief from opening additional accounts in your name. As soon as the credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the other two credit bureaus will automatically be notified to place fraud alerts on your credit report, and all three reports will be sent to you free of charge.
Equifax: 800-525-6285, P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742), P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013
TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289, Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
Once you receive your reports, review them carefully. Look for inquiries you didn't initiate, accounts you didn't open, and unexplained debts on your true accounts. You also should check that information such as your SSN, address(es), name or initial, and employers are correct. Inaccuracies in this information also may be due to typographical errors. Nevertheless, whether the inaccuracies are due to fraud or error, you should notify the credit bureau as soon as possible by telephone and in writing.
You should continue to check your reports periodically, especially in the first year after you've discovered the theft, to make sure no new fraudulent activity has occurred. The automated "one-call" fraud alert process only works for the initial placement of your fraud alert. Orders for additional credit reports or renewals of your fraud alerts must be made separately at each of the three major credit bureaus.
2. Close any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
Credit accounts include all accounts with banks, credit card companies and other lenders, and phone companies, utilities, ISPs, and other service providers. If you're closing existing accounts and opening new ones, use new Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) and passwords.
If your ATM card has been lost, stolen or otherwise compromised, cancel the card as soon as you can. Get a new card with a new PIN. Call (800) 500-1044.
If there are fraudulent charges or debits, ask the company about the following forms for disputing those transactions:
For new unauthorized accounts, ask if the company accepts the ID Theft Affidavit.
If they don't, ask the representative to send you the company's fraud dispute forms.
For your existing accounts, ask the representative to send you the company's fraud dispute forms.
If your checks have been stolen or misused, close the account and ask your bank to notify the appropriate check verification service. While no federal law limits your losses if someone steals your checks and forges your signature, state laws may protect you.
Most states hold the bank responsible for losses from a forged check, but they also require you to take reasonable care of your account. For example, you may be held responsible for the forgery if you fail to notify the bank in a timely way that a check was lost or stolen. Contact your state banking or consumer protection agency for more information.
You also should contact these major check verification companies. Ask that retailers who use their databases not accept your checks.
TeleCheck: 800-710-9898 or 927-0188
Certegy, Inc.: 800-437-5120
International Check Services: 800-631-9656
Call SCAN at 800-262-7771 to find out if the identity thief has been passing bad checks in your name.
3. File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place.
Keep a copy of the report. You may need it to validate your claims to creditors. If you can't get a copy, at least get the report number.
4. File a complaint with the FTC.
By sharing your identity theft complaint with the FTC, you will provide important information that can help law enforcement officials track down identity thieves and stop them. The FTC also can refer victim complaints to other appropriate government agencies and companies for further action. The FTC enters the information you provide into our secure database.
Additional information is available at FDIC Consumer Assistance
Social Security Numbers
Very likely, your employer and financial institution will need your SSN for wage and tax reporting purposes. Other private businesses may ask you for your SSN to do a credit check, such as when you apply for a car loan. Sometimes, however, they simply want your SSN for general record keeping. If someone asks for your SSN, ask the following questions:
- Why do you need it?
- How will it be used?
- How do you protect it from being stolen?
- What will happen if I don't give it to you?
If you don't provide your SSN, some businesses may not provide you with the service or benefit you want. Getting satisfactory answers to your questions will help you to decide whether you want to share your SSN with the business.
A type of fraud, called "phishing" or "carding" or "smishing," uses deceptively designed warning messages to trick readers into revealing their credit card numbers, bank account information, social security numbers, passwords and other sensitive information. Texas First Bank will never request you to send us any of your personal information by email or text message, especially if you didn't initiate the conversation.
If you get an email or text message with little or no notice that one of your accounts will be closed or someone will send you money if you reconfirm billing information, do not reply or click on the link in the email. Instead, contact the company or bank directly using a telephone number or website address you know is genuine. Phone numbers provided in the suspicious email or text message may be part of the fraud attempt. It it better to use a phone number provided by the company or individual themselves that you can verify by multiple means, i.e. in the phone book, via searching Google, or on papers you were previously provided by the company.
As a general rule, ALWAYS think twice about who you're giving your personal and financial information and avoid giving it out via email or text message as much as possible. Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them for any unauthorized charges. For more information, visit the Federal Trade Commission's phishing website.
Social media connects families and friends with colleagues and businesses through powerful online communities. However, just as in real world communities you should be careful with what you share and how you share it to stay safe online.
- Use Privacy Controls to restrict who can see your profile and posts. Options change frequently and you should check and update your settings often.
- Watch what you post. When posting, keep in mind that even a deleted post may have already been copied and the content may still be in the provider's system, even if it is no longer visible. You also shouldn't post information about significant dates that involve your family members i.e., birthdays, ages or even family members' names.
- Don't reveal too much. Personal information such as where you live, work, or go to school could be used against you. Travel plans can give an indication that your home may be unoccupied. Identity thieves will read through your profile history which can paint a detailed picture of who you are.
- Photos taken with newer cameras and smartphones can include your location embedded in the image, called EXIF data. This can indicate where you are even if you don't mention it in the post. The background of the photo may also give away information.
For your safety, when using an ATM:
- Be aware of people and your surroundings. Shield the ATM keypad with your hand or body while entering your PIN.
- Protect the secrecy of your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Protect your ATM card as though it were cash. Don't tell anyone your PIN or write it where it can be discovered.
- At a drive-up facility, make sure all the car doors are locked and all of the windows are rolled up, except the driver's window. Keep the engine running and remain alert to your surroundings.
- Check to see if the ATM appears to have been tampered with. If so, look for a different one.
- Prepare for your transactions at home (for instance, by filling out a deposit slip) to minimize your time at the ATM or night deposit facility. Put away your card and cash immediately after withdrawals.
- Don't accept help from anyone you don't know when using an ATM or night deposit facility.
- Save your ATM receipts. Don't leave them at the ATM or night deposit facility because they may contain important account information. Compare your records with the account statements you receive.
If you lose your ATM card or if it is stolen, promptly notify us at (800) 500-1044 for debit/check cards or (800) 325-3678 for credit cards.
Tell us if you know of any problem with a facility. For instance, let us know if a light is not working or there is any damage to a facility. Report any suspicious activity or crimes immediately to both the operator of the facility and the local law enforcement officials.