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Identity Theft

Identity Theft is a serious crime. It occurs when your personal information is stolen and used without your knowledge to commit fraud or other crimes. Identity theft can cost you time and money. It can destroy your credit and ruin your good name. Even if you have not been touched by identity theft, chances are you will be one day. Here are some of the most important trends you should be aware of to keep fraudsters from separating you from your money.


Phishing is the criminal attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Phishing is typically carried out by email, directing users to enter personal financial details at a fake website whose look and feel are almost identical to a legitimate one.

Spear Phishing

This is a variation of phishing. With phishing, criminals might send a single, mass email to thousands of people. Spear phishing attacks are customized and sent to a single person at a time. The spear phishing email usually contains personal information such as your name or some disarming fact about your employment. A spear phishing email usually includes a link leading to a fake website that requests personal information. The phony email may contain a downloadable file. They often appear to come from an employer or another seemingly legitimate source. But the file contains malware, and once downloaded to your computer, collects your personal information and transmits it to the criminal.


Vishing is the name for phishing attacks using the telephone. The term is a combination of voice and phishing, and is typically used to steal credit card numbers, bank account numbers and passwords. You might receive a phone call advising you that your credit card has been used illegally, and to call a certain number to “verify” your account number.


Smishing is yet another variation of phishing.  The term is a combination of SMS (Short Message Service, the technology used in text messaging) and phishing. In this scam, the fraudster uses cell phone text messages to lure you to a website or perhaps to use a phone number that connects to an automated voice response system.

Dearborn Federal Savings Bank will never send an email, text message or leave a voice message asking for personal information or send you to a special site to “update personal information.” If you receive any such requests from someone claiming to be a representative of Dearborn Federal Savings Bank, contact our Customer Service Department at 800-809-3372, option 4.

ATM, Debit and Credit Card Skimming

Card skimming attempts to hijack your personal information and your identity by tampering with ATM machines. Fraudsters set up a device that is capable of capturing the debit card magnetic stripe and key pad information from the ATM, then sell this information to criminals who use it to create new cards with your account numbers.

Fake Check Scams

Fake check scams use technology to create realistic cashier’s checks. These checks are used by scammers to pay for online purchases (such as through Craig’s List), some form of lottery that you are told that you won, mystery shopper funding and other fraudulent activities. The scam always involves you accepting the fake cashier’s check (or other type of check) which is more than the purchase price of payment due to you, and then you sending the difference in a separate check or via wired funds to the scammer. You keep the worthless fake check and the scammer keeps your real check or wired funds with your real money. Click here to view the FBI Fraud Alert.

Tips to Keep You and Your Money Safe

  • Shred financial documents and paperwork with personal information before you discard them.
  • 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 if absolutely necessary or ask to use another identifier. Don’t give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you know who you are dealing with.
  • Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails; instead, type in a web address you know. Use firewalls, anti-spyware, and anti-virus software to protect your home computer and keep them up to date. Remember, financial institutions will never send an email asking for personal information or send you to a special site to “update personal information.”
  • Don’t use an obvious password like your birth date, your mother’s maiden name, or the last four digits of your Social Security Number.
  • Keep your personal information in a secure place at home, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help or are having work done in your home.
  • Inspect your credit report regularly. Credit reports contain information about you, including what accounts you have and your bill paying history. The law requires the major nationwide consumer reporting companies to give you a free copy of your credit report each year if you ask for it. To order your free credit report go to www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.
  • Review financial accounts and billing statements regularly looking for transactions that you did not make.


If you become a victim of Identity Theft there is some important information you need to know in order to limit your exposure to additional loss:

  • Place a “Fraud Alert” on your credit reports and review the reports carefully. The alert tells creditors to follow certain procedures before they open new accounts in your name or make changes to your existing accounts. The three nationwide consumer reporting companies have toll-free numbers for placing an initial 90-day fraud alert;                          

Experian: 1-888-397-3742

Equifax:  1-800-525-6285

TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289

  • Placing a fraud alert entitles you to free copies of your credit reports. Look for inquiries from companies you haven’t contacted, accounts you didn’t open and debts on your accounts that you can’t explain.
  • Close any accounts that have been tampered with or established fraudulently.
  • Contact the Security Department at Dearborn Federal Savings Bank at 800-809-3372 to report fraud or potential fraud with any of your Dearborn Federal Savings Bank accounts.
  • Call the security or fraud departments of each company where an account was opened or changed without your okay. Follow up in writing, with copies of supporting documents.
  • Use the ID Theft Affidavit at www.ftc.gov/idtheft to support your written statement.
  • Ask for verification that the disputed account has been closed and fraudulent debts discharged.
  • Keep copies of documents and records of your conversations about the theft.
  • File a police report with law enforcement officials to help you with creditors who may want proof of the crime.
  • Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Your report helps law enforcement officials across the country in their investigations.

                           Online: www.ftc.gov/idtheft
                           By phone: 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338)
                           By TTY: 1-866-653-4261
                           By mail: Identity Theft Clearinghouse
                           Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580

Where you can go for help and additional information:

Federal Trade Commission: www.ftc.gov/idtheft
On Guard Online: www.OnGuardOnline.gov
Internet Crime Complaint Center: www.ic3.gov
Consumer Guides and Protection: www.usa.gov
Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force: www.stopfraud.gov
National Cyber Security Alliance: www.staysafeonline.org
Protect Your Identity: www.protectyouridnow.org