Keeping your good name
As part of our ongoing commitment to look out for your best interest, we wanted to provide information on how you can safeguard yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft.
Identity theft overview
Identity theft occurs when someone steals key pieces of personal information, such as your name, driver's license, Social Security number or account number, and uses them fraudulently.
Identity thieves may open new accounts, apply for credit, drain existing accounts and run up bills- under your name. Needless to say, this can wreck your credit history, leaving you with the burden of having to clear your name.
Personal information can be stolen from anywhere-outside mailboxes and dumpsters, telemarketing scams, computer hacking-and sometimes thieves bribe retailers or other institutions to copy information about customers.
In 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released the list of the top 10 consumer complaints it received in 2016, and reported that for the 14th year in a row identity theft was the number three consumer complaint category. Thirteen percent of complaints received were related to identity theft.1
An ounce of prevention
The average identity theft crime victim may spend up to 200 hours to repair the damage caused by an identity theft crime. Getting informed about identity theft and safeguard your personal information are the best ways to protect yourself.
Here are some preventive measures you can take:
Manage your mailbox
- Don't leave bill payment envelopes in your mailbox.
- Know your billing cycles and watch for any missing mail.
- Carefully review all of your monthly accounts for unauthorized changes.
Protect your device
- Use and update anti-virus and anti-spyware software regularly.
- Read website privacy policies to know how your personal information will be used.
- Install a firewall if you use a high-speed cable or DSL internet service.
Watch your purse or wallet
- Never leave your purse or wallet unattended-even for a minute.
- Protect your Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) and passwords; don't carry them in your wallet!
- Never give your Social Security number, account numbers or personal credit information to anyone who calls you.
- Sign your credit and debit cards as soon as you receive them.
- Cancel your unused credit cards so that the account numbers won't appear on your credit report.
- Watch your card during a transaction and ask for it to be returned quickly.
- Shred bills, receipts, preapproved credit card offers and forms with personal information before tossing.
- When online, use a secure browser that encrypts or scrambles purchase information, and make sure your browser's padlock or key icon is active.
- Check your Social Security Earnings and Benefits statement for suspicious activity. It usually comes in the mail about three months before your birthday.
- Review each of your three credit reports each year to make sure information is accurate.
- Keep a record of all credit card account numbers, their expiration dates and the phone number and address of each company in a secure place.
If you become a victim of identity theft
It's important that you take action immediately. Call our toll-free number, 888-PNC-BANK, right away to report the situation. As soon as you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, contact your bank(s) and card issuers immediately so that:
- Access to your valid accounts can be protected
- Stop payment orders can be placed on missing or unauthorized checks
- Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) and online passwords can be changed
- New accounts can be opened, if necessary
Keep a record of all conversations and correspondence. Be sure to tell the bank or card issuer about all accounts and/or cards potentially affected, such as ATM cards, check (debit) cards, credit cards and phone cards.
For additional information on preventing and dealing with identity theft, visit the Federal Trade Commission's National Resource about Identity Theft at www.ftc.gov/idtheft.
This website is a national resource to help citizens learn about the crime of identity theft. It provides detailed information to help you deter, detect and defend against identity theft. It also provides a comprehensive reference center-for consumers, businesses, law enforcement, and the media-with access to specific laws, contact information and resources from state and federal government agencies.