Identity Theft

Identity Theft and Fraud
     Awareness is the first line of defense against identity theft and fraud. As banking customers, you need to be aware of the scams that are used by criminals to obtain your information and steal your identity or money. A variety of methods are used to steal your personal information, including:
  • Dumpster Diving – identity thieves rummage through trash looking for bills or other paper with your personal information on it.
  • Skimming – identity thieves steal credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card.
  • Phishing – identity thieves pretend to be financial institutions, companies or government agencies, and send email or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal information.
  • Hacking – identity thieves hack into your email or other online accounts to access your personal information, or into a company's database to access its records.
  • Stealing - identity thieves steal wallets and purses; mail, including bank and credit card statements; pre-approved credit offers; and new checks or tax information.
Two of the most common scams are phishing (pronounced “fishing”) by e-mail and fake phone calls claiming to be from your bank.

Phishing is a forged e-mail sent to you via the Internet pretending to be from your bank or a service provider, asking you to verify or re-submit personal information.
  • IMPORTANT: WaterStone Bank will not send you an unsolicited e-mail asking you to verify your information. Never provide your personal information in response to an unsolicited e-mail, fax, letter, or Internet advertisement.
  • When using e-mail for account inquiries to WaterStone, always send your e-mail through secure online banking by signing on to Consumer Internet Banking.
Fake phone calls are very troublesome because the criminals claim to be calling from your bank and ask you to verify personal and account information.
  • IMPORTANT: If you have any doubt that the caller is not from your bank, do not give any information. Ask for the caller’s name, title, and department. Hang up and call Customer Service to verify that the caller is indeed from WaterStone.
  • When WaterStone requests information, you have the option to submit the required information by mail or in person. It is never required that you give personal information over the telephone.
To reduce changes of identity theft you should safeguarding your information
  • 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. Avoid disclosing personal financial information when using public wireless connections.
  • 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; keep them up-to-date.
  • 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.
Be alert to signs of possible identity theft such as
  • Bills that do not arrive as expected
  • Unexpected credit cards or account statements
  • Denials of credit for no apparent reason
  • Calls or letters about purchases you did not make
  • Charges on your financial statements that you don't recognize
Finally, report anything suspicious to a local or federal law enforcement agency and to your bank. If you believe that you are already a victim of identity theft or fraud, you can learn more about filing an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov or by calling toll-free 877.438-4338.