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Identity Theft


In 2022, identity fraud impacted over 40 million U.S. Adults and had over $43 Billion in total losses.1

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information, such as your name, Social Security number, or bank account number without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. Examples include the use of your name and personal information to open new credit card accounts, establish new bank accounts, forge checks, and even apply for loans. Some clues that could indicate your identity may have been stolen include failing to receive bills or other expected mail, receiving credit cards for which you did not apply, denial of credit for reasons that are not apparent, or receiving calls from debt collectors or companies about merchandise or services you did not purchase. While you can't entirely control whether you will become a victim, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk. Many of these steps also can pertain to business practices.

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How Does Identity Theft Occur?

Skilled identity thieves use a variety of methods to steal your personal information, including:


A high-tech scam that uses spam or pop-up messages to deceive you into disclosing personal information.


Using a phone call and methods such as impersonation, or manipulation tactics to trick you into disclosing personal information.


Deploying high-tech scams that use high-profile employee names to trick you into disclosing personal information, sending wires, or other forms of collection.


This is a form of social engineering in which a thief lies about his identity or purpose to obtain an individual's personal information.


This method is a link that will redirect you to a fake sign-in portal, prompting you to sign into your email, social media, bank, etc. that will then steal your log-in information to obtain your personal information, and spread the fake link.

Address Changes

Thieves frequently divert billing statements to another location by completing a false "change of address" form.

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What Can You Do To Help Fight Identity Theft?

Bank of Central Florida has strict procedures for protecting and monitoring our clients' accounts and personal information.

The following are a few tips you can use to reduce the risk of identity theft:

  • Protect Your Social Security Number: Don't carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write your Social Security number on a check. Give it out only when absolutely necessary.
  • Review Your Credit Report: Federal law requires the major nationwide credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to provide you with a free copy of your credit report every 12 months upon your request.
  • Never Click on Links in Unsolicited E-Mails: E-mails requesting account information and passwords should be scrutinized carefully, particularly if the information is needed to "award a prize," "verify a statement," or "verify information on file." These may be phishing scams. Use updated firewalls, as well as anti-spyware and anti-virus software to protect your home and business computers from viruses.
  • Keep Personal Information Secure:
    • Do not give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you initiated the contact and know who you are dealing with.
    • Avoid disclosing personal information when using public wireless connections.
    • Deposit outgoing mail in post office collection boxes rather than in your curbside mailbox.
  • Monitor Financial Statements. Carefully monitor bank and credit card accounts regularly for unauthorized charges by checking account information over the phone, at ATMs, or on the Internet. Immediately report any suspicious activity to your financial institution. If you do not receive a statement or bill as scheduled, contact the company to determine why, as it may have been diverted by an identity thief.
  • Monitor Financial Statements: Carefully monitor bank and credit card accounts regularly for unauthorized charges by checking account information over the phone, at ATMs, or on the Internet. Immediately report any suspicious activity to your financial institution. If you do not receive a statement or bill as scheduled, contact the company to determine why, as it may have been diverted by an identity thief.

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What Should You Do If You Are a Victim of Identity Theft?

Bank of Central Florida is ready to assist you where needed if you are an identity theft victim. Please ask us for an "Identity Theft Awareness Tool Kit" to help you get the process started. It is recommended that you follow these steps where necessary as soon as you become aware of identity theft:

Contact Financial Institutions

Contact Bank of Central Florida immediately if the fraudulent activity is related to your bank account(s). Review the activity on all of your accounts, including checking and savings accounts, debit cards, loans, and other banking accounts and look for changed addresses, changed Personal Identification Numbers (PINs), or new cards ordered. Notify the fraud departments of credit card companies, as well as other banks and lenders, of the potential fraud. Close the accounts that you know or believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Change your Online Banking username and password immediately.

Contact the Police

Immediately call the local police or the police in the community where the identity theft occurred and file a report. The police can initiate an investigation and you can obtain information from the police report, which you will likely need to address credit report and account issues.

Complete an Affidavit Form

Bank of Central Florida, as well as many financial institutions and law enforcement agencies, may require you to complete an "Identity Theft Victim's Complaint and Affidavit" form. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) developed the Affidavit form for use by victims of identity theft.

Contact Credit Bureaus

Contact the toll-free number of any of the three consumer reporting agencies below to place a "fraud alert" on your credit report. You only need to contact one of the three agencies, because the first agency you contact is required to report the alert to the other two, which will then place an alert on their versions of your report. 

Request a statement be shown on the report whereby creditors contact you to verify future credit applications

Once a fraud alert is placed, you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report from each of the agencies. Review each credit report carefully once received. Look for inquiries from companies you have not contacted, accounts you did not open, and debts on your accounts that you cannot explain. Continue to check your credit reports periodically to ensure no new fraudulent activity has occurred.

Contact the Federal Trade Commission

Report the criminal activity to the FTC by filing a complaint using the FTC's online complaint form or by calling the Identity Theft Hotline at 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338) and speaking with a trained identity theft counselor. By sharing your identity theft complaint with the FTC, you will provide important information that can help law enforcement officials across the nation track down identity thieves. You can also provide a copy of your online complaint form to the police to incorporate into their police report.

Keep Records

Document the names, phone numbers, and dates for each person you speak to regarding the incident. You can download and print a "Chart Your Course of Action" form to record the steps you have taken to report the fraudulent use of your identity. Follow up on your phone calls with letters and keep copies of all correspondence.

Continue to Review All Accounts

Since identity theft can take time to completely resolve, carefully review all charges and transactions appearing on your account statements and online. Report any discrepancies immediately.


If you feel that you may be a victim of identity theft, please contact your bank representative as soon as possible so that we may take the proper precautions to help you.