Have you ever heard the following (or something similar) from an unsolicited telemarketer, email source, or direct mail piece?

·     “Here’s an investment with no risk to you…”

·     “This offer is just too good to pass up…”

·     “You must decide now before it’s too late…”

·     “I’m calling to verify your correct account information…”

·     “It’s so simple, if you’ll just authorize us to bill your account we will…”

·     “You’ve won! If you just send us a check we will send you your winnings…”

Unfortunately, identity theft is on the rise and it has never been more important for individuals and businesses to safeguard their private information and data systems from those seeking to gain access illegally for fraudulent purposes. The perpetrators of identity theft schemes are increasingly persistent, deceptive and often times “high-tech”. It is everyone’s responsibility to take the necessary steps/safeguards to “Deter-Detect-Defend” against identity theft and to report it to the proper authorities immediately!

Just a few important, common sense things to remember:

1) If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. 2) When in doubt, check it out. 3) Your financial institution will NEVER call you to verify your account information. 4) Keep anti-virus and data security software updated.

5) Keep passwords and PIN #’s confidential and change them periodically.

Please be sure to visit the Federal Trade Commission’s excellent website for additional information on identity theft issues and protection: FTC.gov Identity Theft Site