Since 2019, the number of incidents of fraud and identity theft reported in the United States has increased from 3.4 million to 5.9 million – nearly 74 percent. With statistics like this, chances are very good that you or someone you know has been the target of identity theft or fraud.
Pennsylvania and Maryland have some of the highest rates of these crimes in the country. Pennsylvania (14th) and Maryland (12th)rank in the top 20 for identity theft reports per 100,000 people and in the top 10 (Pennsylvania, No. 7; Maryland, No. 2) for other fraud and scams.̽
It takes an average of 18 months for a victim to recover from the damage done to their credit or their reputation. F&M Trust knows how troubling this can be and provides a variety of resources for people to protect themselves from identity theft and fraud on the Money Moves section of its website.
There one can find such articles as:
- How to Protect Yourself After a Data Breach
- How Scammers Posing as Grandkids are Stealing Thousands of Dollars
- How to Avoid a Student Loan Debt Relief Scam
- How to Spot a Charity Scammer
- Everything You Need to Know About Gift Card Scams
The bank also offers identity theft aid through its YourBux benefits program as part of its YourWay Plus and YourWay Premier checking accounts.
Here are some other helpful tips to protect against identity theft and fraud, provided by F&M Trust Security Officer Ray Wills:
- Review your credit report at least annually. Get a free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com or contact any of the three credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion).
- Consider placing a free credit freeze on your report. This makes it difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name because most creditors need to see your credit report before they approve a new account.
- You may want to place a fraud alert on your file if your personal identifying information has been exposed but you haven’t been the victim of identity theft.
- If a company responsible for exposing your information offers you free credit monitoring, take advantage of it.
- File your income taxes as early as you can. Scammers will use your Social Security number to get a tax refund or even apply for a job. Respond to letters (not calls, emails or text messages) from the IRS immediately.
Victims of identity theft or fraud should file a report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov. Each report helps the FTC and its partners in law enforcement to take action to stop scams and impersonators.
If you would like to speak to F&M Trust Security Officer Ray Wills for more information about identity theft or fraud, please contact F&M Trust Corporate Communications Joel Huffer at 717-262-7565 or email@example.com.
̽ These statistics were compiled by the Federal Trade Commission with Officer data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Social Security Administration, Internet Crime Complaint Center, and various state law enforcement agencies.
About F&M Trust: A subsidiary of Franklin Financial Services Corp., F&M Trust is an independent community bank headquartered in Chambersburg. With approximately $1.7 billion in assets, F&M Trust has 22 community-banking locations in Franklin, Cumberland, Fulton, and Huntingdon counties in Pennsylvania, and in Washington County, Maryland. Please visit fmtrust.bank for more information.