HOW/WHY does fraud happen?

How do thieves get your personal information?

Skilled identity thieves use a variety of ways to gain access to your personal information.  The following examples are ways thieves may attempt to steal your identity:

Dumpster Diving

They rummage through trash looking for bills or other paper with your personal information on it.


They steal credit/deebit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card.  Skimmers can be found anywhere credit/debit cards can be run including ATMs and self-pumps at gas stations.

Changing Your Address

They divert your billing statements to another location by completing a change of address form.

Old-Fashioned Stealing

They steal wallets and purses; mail, including bank and credit card statements; pre-approved credit offers; and new checks or tax information.  They steal personnel records or bribe employees who have access.


Phishing is fraudulent emails alleging to be from your bank or a similar trusted source that lures you to a copy cat website (one that may look just like your bank's site). Once there you are instructed to "verify" certain information, which is then used to hijack your accounts and your identity. If you receive a suspicious email, delete the message and call us to inform us of the email. Our phone number is 1.888.272.8866.


This is very similar to "phishing".  However, smishing is when an SMS text message is sent to a mobile phone.  This text message will try to get you to give information including a name, date of birth, address, phone number, social security number, account number, password, etc.  Citizens Security Bank will never send you a text message asking you to verify information.  If this occurs or you have any questions, please contact us at 1.888.272.8866.


Pharming is when computer hackers redirect a website to a false website that looks similar to the original.  This false website will often ask for personal information such as passwords and credit card numbers.  These hackers will use your information to access your bank account, steal your identity, or commit other fraud in your name.  Please contact us if you notice any suspicious activity.

Pretext Calling

Pretext calling is when someone calls the bank and pretends to be a customer.  They will provide certain information to retrieve more information including biographical and account information.  The bank takes steps to prevent this, such as giving limited information over the phone.  They will also only give information to those who have identified themselves correctly.  For this reason, you should be very careful with personal information, PIN numbers, passwords, and so forth so that it does not end up in the wrong hands.

Keystroke Logging or Keylogging

Keylogging is a method by which fraudsters record your actual keystrokes and mouse clicks.  Key loggers are "Trojan" software programs that can detect and copy any files opened on your computer, internet pages visited, information keyed in, and much more.  Passwords and personal information can be stolen using this method.  To protect yourself from fraudsters using keylogging, make sure your anti-virus and anti-spyware programs are valid and up to date.


What do thieves do with a stolen identity?

Once they have your personal information, identity thieves use it in a variety of ways.

Credit card fraud

  • They may open new credit card accounts in your name. When they use the cards and don't pay the bills, the delinquent accounts appear on your credit report.
  • They may change the billing address on your credit card so that you no longer receive bills, and then run up charges on your account. Because your bills are now sent to a different address, it may be some time before you realize there's a problem.

Phone or utilities fraud

  • They may open a new phone or wireless account in your name, or run up charges on your existing account.
  • They may use your name to get utility services like electricity, heating, or cable TV.

Bank/finance fraud

  • They may create counterfeit checks using your name or account number.
  • They may open a bank account in your name and write bad checks.
  • They may clone your ATM or debit card and make electronic withdrawals your name, draining your accounts.
  • They may take out a loan in your name.

Government documents fraud

  • They may get a driver's license or official ID card issued in your name but with their picture.
  • They may use your name and Social Security number to get government benefits.
  • They may file a fraudulent tax return using your information.

Other fraud

  • They may get a job using your Social Security number.
  • They may rent a house or get medical services using your name.
  • They may give your personal information to police during an arrest. If they don't show up for their court date, a warrant for arrest is issued in your name.