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Fraud & ID Theft

Unfortunately, crimes such as identity theft, computer hacking, telemarketing fraud and email fraud are all too common today. Customers may be deceived by unscrupulous individuals who pose as representatives of legitimate businesses.

Luzerne Bank employees only request personal and/or financial information from customers when new accounts are established, during the loan application process or if it is necessary to validate an extraordinary account transaction. We will never call you or send you an email that asks you for account numbers or PIN numbers. If you question the legitimacy of a request for information from someone claiming to represent Luzerne Bank, please contact us immediately at 570-288-4511.

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft occurs when someone who does not have permission takes and uses your personal information (such as your name, social security or credit card number) to commit fraud or other crimes. These criminals take the identities of others to open new credit cards; obtain phone or utility accounts, loans, or employment; open bank accounts; and/or pass fraudulent checks. According to the FBI, identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America.

How Does Identity Theft Occur?

Criminals gain access to personal information in many ways, but the most common method is to take it from the victim themselves – you. They steal mail (such as account statements, new checks and offers of credit) left in a mailbox, discarded in the trash or stored in an easy to get to location in your home or office. They take credit card and personal identification from your purse or wallet. Without knowing it, you may give the information directly to the criminal when you enter data at an unsecured or unknown website, or in response to a fraudulent request for account information through an unverified e-mail (”phishing“). Imposters also ask for information from you in unsolicited phone calls, tricking you into thinking it is someone you know, such as an employee from your bank (”pretexting“).

What Happens to the Victim?

Identity thieves can damage the credit reputations and lives of victims. Studies have shown that victims spend an average of $808 and 205 hours resolving the identity theft. Time and money is spent clearing credit reports, reporting the theft to lenders and merchants, and filing complaints with law enforcement and governmental agencies. One of the menacing problems of identity theft is that it can happen more than once. Once the initial incident is resolved, the thief may begin using the victim’s identity again after waiting 6 months to a year and the cycle begins all over again.

How Can I Prevent Becoming a Victim?

Identity theft requires someone to gain access to your personal information. You can take steps to decrease the risk of someone stealing your information.

·Destroy papers you throw out. Shred or completely destroy any documents that contain personal information before discarding them in the trash. This includes information about you, your family, your home, or your accounts such as credit card solicitations, pre-approved credit offers, convenience checks contained in your statements, bills, cancelled checks, loan offerings, ATM or credit card receipts, insurance or tax information. Just as important are receipts from ATM’s or self-service devices such as gasoline pumps. Don’t just leave them behind or throw them in the trash. Criminals only need a few pieces of information about you to get credit in your name and access your existing accounts.

·Guard your PINs. Never give out your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Memorize your PINs and never write them on your cards or carry them in your wallet.

·Store your personal information securely. Keep it where it is not easily available in the event of a burglary or other unauthorized access.

·Be careful who you give your information to over the telephone. Do not give out personal information such as your social security number, credit card or bank account numbers, or loan numbers over the phone to anyone who has called you without first confirming who you are speaking to, why they need the information and that they are who they claim to be.

·Be cautious online. Make sure it is safe when you are asked to provide information at websites or with online merchants you do not have an existing relationship with. Always confirm that you are in a secure session before entering personal information online.

·Check your credit reports. Review your credit report regularly to identify any inquiries or accounts that you are not aware of and did not apply for.

·Report lost or stolen credit cards, checks or identification immediately.

·Protect your mailbox. If your residential mailbox is not secure, don’t put outgoing mail in the box and promptly pick up incoming mail or obtain a secure postal mailbox.

·Safeguard your checks. Never print your personal information such as a Social Security Number or driver’s license number on your checks.

What Should I Do if I Become a Victim of Identity Theft?

·Contact the three major credit bureaus

P.O. Box 105069
Atlanta, GA 30348

P.O. Box 2002
Allen, TX 75013

P.O. Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022

Ask them to send you a copy of your credit report and instruct them to place a fraud alert on your record. Once you receive the report, review it carefully. Contact any creditors listed that you did not apply for credit with and inform them that you have been a victim of identity theft. Instruct them to close the account, send you copies of the application and any transactions, and to promptly clear your credit record.

·Contact your local police and file an identity theft complaint.

·File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at or via their hotline at 1-877-IDTHEFT.

Fraud & Identify Theft Resources:

Pennsylvania Identity Theft Action Plan

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)


Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)


Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force

Identity Theft Resource Center


IRS ID Theft Assistance

Check Fraud Schemes – Protect Yourself