How long do you amortize residential real estate loans?
Mortgages on residential real estate loans may be amortized in accordance with State law, but not longer than 30 years.
Do I need a down payment for a Residential home loan?
Yes; the loan to value shall not exceed 85% on a variable rate loan, and the loan to value shall not exceed 80% on a fixed rate loan.
Do I need a down payment for an automobile loan?
Yes, the loan to value shall not exceed 80%.
How long can I get an automobile loan for?
In general, the maximum term for a new auto is 60 months, two years old for 48 months, three years old for 36 months, four to six years old for 24 months, and seven to ten years old for 12 months. We will not finance a vehicle older than 10 years old.
How often are my accounts updated on the Internet-Banking site?
GTSB is 100% “Real Time” Processing. All over the counter, mobile banking, online banking, debit card, and ATM activity is posted within seconds of happening.
Direct deposits, direct debits, and any checks that are clearing from non-local payees for that day will be posted as they are received by the bank.
How do I get the GTSB Mobile Banking App?
Mobile App For iPhone/iPad
Download the mobile banking app to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch device two ways. Click on the link below, or navigate to the iTunes or iPhone App Store™. Search for “GTSB” or “Germantown Trust & Savings Bank” and then install. Tap “FREE” to install the app.
Log in using your existing online banking credentials.
How much does the Mobile App cost?
The GTSB mobile app is FREE to download. Although the mobile app is provided by GTSB free of charge, web access is needed to use the mobile banking app, and standard data rates may apply. Please check with your service provider for details.
Why am I not able to find the GTSB Mobile Banking app in my iPad App Store?
When searching for the GTSB app on an iPad, you will need to change the search settings to include iPhone apps as well.
Is the mobile banking app secure?
Germantown Trust & Savings Bank mobile banking services use the same high security standards as our online banking services.
Our App utilizes SSL Traffic up to 256-bit encryption for all information passed back and forth.
The RSA Key is a 2,048 bit key.
Our App does not save information to the device. (UserID may be saved if you choose.)
You are required to log in each time you access your account information or bill pay services through mobile banking. Mobile banking is available to existing online banking users only. All terms applicable to online banking apply to mobile banking as well.
What can I do through the mobile banking app?
Check account balances
View account history
Pay Bills (Mobile App users must be previously enrolled in bill pay with established payees to use this feature.)
Find branch and ATM locations
Payment and Tip Calculators
How long will it take for my card to come in?
Cards are ordered on Monday afternoons (assuming there are enough cards to justify placing an order) and usually take anywhere from 5 to 7 business days for you to receive them in the mail. Cards can be “RUSH” ordered, but there is a small fee. Cards come in VERY PLAIN envelopes, be sure you do not throw it away mistaking it for “junk mail.”
Need your card immediately? No worries! We now offer Instant Issue Debit Cards at both our Breese and Germantown locations. (Instant Issue cards are fee based.)
I received my card, but have not received my PIN. What should I do?
An EZ PIN has been ordered for you; therefore, you will not receive anything in the mail in regards to your PIN. Upon receipt of your card, please contact the bank and we will get you set up with EZ PIN instructions. EZ PIN creation is fully automated and takes about 2 minutes.
What should I do if I forget my PIN?
You are the only one who has access to your PIN. If you are unable to remember your PIN, a replacement can be ordered. You can request a new EZ PIN number by contacting any of our four facilities. Within minutes, a new EZ PIN Reference number can be generated and your new PIN created.
Can I choose my own PIN?
Yes. GTSB offers the EZ PIN option for all Debit Cards. Once you receive your card in the mail, visit the GTSB location closest to you and they will get an EZ PIN reference number assigned to your card so you will be able to create your PIN.
Should I keep my PIN number written down in my purse/wallet, just in case I’m at an ATM and can’t remember it?
No. Never keep your PIN in the same vicinity as your card. This makes it too easy for a criminal to use your card if they have it. Even if you think it is disguised well as a phone number or address, a clever thief knows what to try.
Can I have two cards with the same PIN, one for me & one for my husband/wife?
Yes. With the EZ PIN option, this is now possible.
Can I have a SHAZAMChek® card in the name of a business?
Yes. We now offer both business and personal SHAZAMChek® cards. When inquiring about a business debit card, please be sure to specify that the card will be in the name of a business as the application differs from the personal application.
Can I have a SHAZAMChek® card without having a checking account, just a savings account?
No. In order to have a SHAZAMChek® card, it must be linked to a checking account. The SHAZAMChek® card can be linked to a savings account as a second account, but not by itself.
When using my card at a merchant location, should I select “Debit” or “Credit”?
Either will work, but we suggest selecting “Credit”. By selecting “Credit”, the clerk will have you sign a receipt rather than entering your PIN. This will lower the risk of other customers or the clerk watching you enter your PIN. If you select “Debit”, you have to enter your PIN. This increases the risk of someone else finding out your PIN.
What do I do if my card is lost or stolen?
Contact SHAZAM® or the bank as soon as you realize that it is missing!! By doing this, your card can be “Hot Carded” immediately and any unauthorized transactions can be stopped. SHAZAM® (800) 383-8000
What are Shazam Bolt$ and Shazam Bolt$ Transaction Control?
As a benefit to our customers, GTSB subscribes to Shazam Bolt$. Shazam Bolt$ is a FREE card monitoring, fraud detection system . Once enrolled, you can view balance information for the enrolled debit card’s primary account, receive transaction alerts, receive suspicious transaction alerts, and block future transactions with the Transaction Control system. Notifications are sent 24/7; therefore, no matter where you are or what you’re doing you can take action. Shazam Bolt$ is accessible through both a PC and the Shazam Bolt$ mobile app.
An ATM “ate” my card, how do I get it back?
Depending on the type of ATM that ate your card, we may not be able to get it back. Some ATM locations are required to destroy the card as soon as they are captured. Some places will charge a fee and send the destroyed card to GTSB. This fee is in turn passed on to you. A way to avoid a captured card situation is to be quick with removing your SHAZAMChek® card from the ATM. An ATM may also capture your card if your card is damaged.
When I received my monthly statement, I noticed that I was charged twice for the same purchase or withdrawal, what should I do?
First contact the merchant and try to get a refund from them.
I recently got married, but my card doesn’t expire for a while, can I get a new card with my correct name on it?
Yes. All you need to do is notify someone at any of our four facilities of the name change and a replacement card (with the same PIN) will be ordered for you at no charge.
My card has been denied at several POS (Point of Sale) locations but worked fine at others on the same day. I know there is enough money in my account and I have yet to reach my daily limit. What is the problem?
On many occasions, the merchant will give you a reason for denial. However, some do not. In most call in and internet purchase cases, this type of problem is caused by an incorrect address in one of your card files. This problem could be with SHAZAM® or with GTSB. Either way, it is easily corrected. Just contact us and we will be sure that not only we have the correct address on file for you, but that SHAZAM® does as well. This may seem to be an inconvenience to you, but is actually a very good security measure.
In some cases, the denials may have nothing to do with your account or card information. Not all merchants are online with the SHAZAM network; this makes doing a Debit transaction impossible because of the way Debit payments are routed. Try having the merchant run the transaction through as a Credit. The payment will come off of your account the same, but it is routed through Mastercard rather than SHAZAM.
Does my card have withdrawal limits?
Yes. Unless requested by the customer, the default limits for SHAZAMChek® cards are as follows:
$ 500.00 – Daily limit – All PIN & Signature based – The daily limit is the maximum dollar amount the cardholder can spend in one calendar day. This limit resets at midnight each day.
$ 500.00 – Unmanned limit – PIN based only – The unmanned limit applies only to transactions the cardholder initiates at an ATM
$1000.00 – 3-day limit (any 72 hr. time period) – PIN based only – the 3 day limit applies to PIN based transactions initiated at ATMs and POS terminals.
Upon your request, your limits can be set higher or lower for certain periods of time. (Vacations, all day shopping trips, large dollar purchases, Etc.)
NOTE: If you have more than one card attached to one account, the limits are card limits, not account limits. Each card will have access to the full $500.00
I made a deposit yesterday, but when I went to the ATM last night, my deposit was not included in my balance. How long will it take for the ATM balance to include my deposit?
GTSB is 100% “Real Time” Processing. All over the counter, mobile banking, online banking, debit card, and ATM activity is posted within seconds of happening.
Direct deposits, direct debits, and any checks that are clearing from non-local payees for that day will be posted as they are received by the bank. If your deposit is not reflected in your total, please contact our data processing department.
How can I avoid paying foreign ATM fees and surcharges?
The only way to avoid paying a foreign ATM fee is to use an ATM affiliated with GTSB. You can find these at any of our four facilities as well as at our 4th & Walnut kiosk in Breese and our Albers ATM located along Rte 161.
There are two ways to avoid the surcharges. You can either use an ATM affiliated with GTSB or you can use a “Privileged StatusTM” machine. The participating ATM’s will be marked with a “Privileged StatusTM” sticker. For a full list of participating ATM’s and their locations, visit SHAZAM.net. Using a “Privileged StatusTM” machine will allow you to avoid the surcharge only, not the foreign ATM fee.
My Debit Card expires in a month, how do I get a new one?
A report is generated 2 months in advance for all cards expiring in the following 2 months. We make address and name changes when necessary, delete closed cards and cards with no activity, and send the corrected report to SHAZAM®. From this report, SHAZAM® automatically sends you a new card at no cost to you about 1 month prior to the expiration. If your cards expiration date is 11/16, your card is good until 11/30/16. You should receive your new card in the mail sometime in the middle of October.
We are taking a European vacation; can I use my SHAZAMChek® card overseas?
Yes. The SHAZAMChek® card works in other countries just as it does in the United Sates. The only differences are the fees and the currency exchange. You will be charged the foreign ATM fee of $3.00 as well as a surcharge. When making a purchase or withdrawal in another country, in their currency, the amount that shows up on your statement will be in converted dollars. You will receive whatever the current exchange rate is for that currency on the day of the purchase. (Ex. $20.00 may show up on your statement as $14.82 for Europe or $2.16 for Mexico, Etc.) Historically, Mastercard has one of the best currency exchange rates.
Is it a good idea to use my card to reserve hotel rooms and rental cars?
No. When reserving a hotel room or rental car with your SHAZAMChek® card, you will have outstanding authorizations on your card. These outstanding authorizations will go against your daily withdrawal limit, and will continue until the room/ rental car payment is posted. (Ex. Hotel room for the weekend $200.00, rental car for the weekend $100.00, your daily withdrawal limit until your reserved room and car is paid for is $200.00. The amount of time you have the lower withdrawal limit depends on how far in advance you reserved the room and car.) The best thing you can do is to reserve the room and car with a credit card and when you get there to pay for them, use your SHAZAMChek® card.
Is it a good idea to use my card to “Pay at the Pump” for gas purchases?
Yes. You can use your card at Pay at the Pump stations. However, please be aware of the fact that many gas stations will “pre-authorize” for a set amount prior to approving your purchase. Some stations pre-approve for $1.00, some may pre-approve for as much as $75.00. If you are at a gas station that pre-approves for $75.00 and you only have $70.00 in your account, your Pay at the Pump service will be denied, even if you only intend on pumping $20.00 in gas. Please note, that you are still able to pump your $20 in gas; however, you will need to pay inside. In addition, when making “Pay at the Pump” purchases, the pre-authorization amount will be held against your account balance, in addition to your actual purchase amount, until the Service Station settles it’s daily transactions. At which time, the pre-authorization drops off and the actual charge is deducted from your account. Note: Some stations settle at shift changes, while others may only settle 1 time per day.
Can I use my SHAZAMChek® card at any ATM?
No. You can only use your SHAZAMChek® card at machines that have the SHAZAM® or CIRRUS® symbol. For a list of all CIRRUS® ATM’s in a particular location, visit Mastercard.com or call (800) 4-CIRRUS. For SHAZAM® and “Privileged StatusTM” locations visit SHAZAM.net.
Where can I use my SHAZAMChek® card?
You can use your card at any SHAZAM® or CIRRUS® ATM and at most merchants that accept MasterCard.
Is there a fee for using my SHAZAMChek® card at a merchant location rather than writing out a check?
No. There is no transaction cost involved when using the card at a MasterCard location.
How will the transactions appear on my checking account statement?
Each transaction made by your SHAZAMChek® card will have a descriptive entry on your checking account statement. Your statement will have the date the item was posted, the name of the merchant, location of the merchant and the amount of the transaction. This can easily be matched up to the receipt you will receive for each transaction.
When shopping On-Line, I received a notification for MasterCard® SecureCode …What is it?
Due to mandatory MasterCard® security enhancements, your GTSB ShazamCheck Debit Card has been pre-enrolled for MasterCard® SecureCode. This is a complimentary, new online security service to add protection against unauthorized use of your card online. The next time you shop online at a participating merchant, a window will appear from Shazam asking you to confirm your identity and create a private SecureCode, all to better protect you from unauthorized use of your card.
My Debit Card was “Hot-Carded”, do I need to specify to the teller that I want a new card ordered?
Yes. If you contact Shazam to have your card “Hot-Carded” you must contact GTSB for a new card, as one will not automatically be ordered for you. If you contact GTSB to have your card “Hot-Carded”, be sure to mention to the teller taking your request that you would like a new card as well. In addition, if Shazam contacts you, concerning potentially fraudulent activity on your card and your card is in turn “Hot-Carded”, you are responsible for contacting GTSB to order a new card. Shazam will not automatically do this for you.
I have my accounts at Bartelso, can I make deposits, payments, and withdrawals at other facilities (Germantown, Beckemeyer, or Breese)?
YES! It does not matter where you opened your accounts or where you “normally” do business, you can make deposits, payments, and withdrawals at any of our four facilities. Please be patient when using a facility that you don’t normally use, we may check your accounts or ask to see some form of identification. Remember, this is for your safety! We pick up work from all of the facilities several times a day, so no matter where you do your transaction it will be posted on that day’s business. (Remember, any transaction done at any location after 3:00 pm will memo post immediately; however, when fully processed, will be dated on the following business day.)
What ATM’s can I use without getting charged the foreign ATM fee?
We have ATM’s at all four of our bank locations as well as in our Kiosks located at 4th & Walnut in Breese and State Route 161 next to Casey’s in Albers.
Bartelso’s is located on the North side of the building.
Germantown’s is located on the South side of the building.
Beckemeyer’s is located in the first drive-up lane before the teller window.
Breese’s is located in the third drive-up lane.
GTSB has additional ATMs located at 4th & Walnut across from Dairy King in Breese, along State Rte 161 in Albers (next to Casey’s), and at Breese St. Joseph’s Hospital (Outside Cafeteria) .
What ATM’s can I use without getting charged the surcharge?
As a service to our ATM and Debit Card customers, GTSB has subscribed to SHAZAM’s Privileged Status® program. With SHAZAM’s Privileged Status® program, GTSB can offer our customers access to thousands of surcharge-free ATMs throughout the country! (Foreign ATM fees will still apply) Privileged Status ATMs are easy to find using SHAZAM’s Privileged Status ATM locator.
Find the Privileged Status ATM Locator on the “Contact” page on our website or in our App! If looking in the App, without logging in, hit the 3 lines in the upper left hand corner of your screen. Select “Locations”, then select “Privileged Status ATM Locator.” Continue through the “leaving GTSB” notice and search your current city/state. (If you need to extend the search radius, you can do so up to 50 miles.) A map indicating Privileged Status ATM locations will appear, along with a listing of ATM’s and addresses. Click on the word “Directions” next to your desired ATM. Then select “Get Directions”.
What are the benefits of Online Bill Pay?
On line Bill Pay is a quick, easy, and convenient way to pay your bills. On line Bill Pay is also cost effective; it eliminates the expense of checks, envelopes, and stamps. There are different levels of Bill Pay that offer different payment capabilities depending on your individual needs.
Are there fees associated with Online Bill Pay?
The cost of On line Bill Pay vary depending on the product type you choose and your monthly usage.
What are the levels of On line Bill Pay, and what are the characteristics of each?
BASIC – $0.50 per transaction ($3.00/month will be assessed for each month of inactivity)
CLASSIC – $4.95/month for 10 transactions then $0.48/trans. thereafter
PLUS – $6.95/month for 15 transactions then $0.48/trans. thereafter
Product features are the same for all 3 levels:
We offer products that are great for beginner or intermediate users that have one or a lot of bills to pay and are too busy to be burdened with old fashioned check writing
Allows you to make payments to ANYONE
Allows you to make payments from several accounts
Simple and intuitive
All payees are verified before the first payment is made
Schedule, change, or stop single and recurring payments
View payment history and scheduled payments
24/7 access; extended customer service hours
Send money to anyone in the U.S. via ACH
How do I sign up for On line Bill Pay?
First, you must sign up for our GTSB on line banking. After you are set up for on line banking, you can click on the Bill Pay Enrollment Link on the GTSBIB Log In screen and sign up on line. Don’t forget to print the enrollment agreement and return it signed to any of our four locations. As soon as the form is turned in, we can activate the on line Bill Pay service. Click here to enroll today.
What are EMV/chip cards?
A chip card – also called a smart card or an EMV card – is a debit or credit card that contains a microprocessor that enhances the security of cards during point-of-sale transactions. These cards are in use and accepted throughout the United States and much of the world, and use security technology as a way to fight card fraud resulting from theft, skimming and counterfeiting. The EMV technology has been adopted by all major card brands and issuers. Even though chip cards have started being issued in the U.S. and some merchants have already installed chip-enabled card terminals for payment, the entire conversion process is expected to take a few years to complete. If a merchant’s card reader or an ATM is not yet chip-enabled, your transaction can still be processed using the magnetic strip.
When will I get my EMV/chip card?
There is no need to request a new card. Your card will be replaced with a new EMV/chip card when your current card expires. Once your new card arrives, be sure to contact GTSB to activate it, you will then need to destroy your old card. YOUR OLD CARD WILL NO LONGER WORK after the new card is activated. For more information, visit one of our 4 locations or call 618-523-4202.
NOTE: IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO TRAVEL INTERNATIONALLY OR HAVE AN IMMEDIATE NEED FOR AN EMV/CHIP CARD, PLEASE CONTACT 618-523-4202 OR STOP BY ONE OF OUR 4 LOCATIONS.
How do I use EMV/chip cards?
Your EMV/chip debit card is equipped with both a chip and magnetic strip technology. That means, regardless of what terminal type the merchant has, you’ll be able to use your card anywhere your MasterCard is accepted.
- Retailers with chip-enabled terminals – insert your card, face up, chip first. With chip transactions, your card remains in the terminal throughout your transaction. Follow the prompts on the terminal and wait for the transaction to be processed. You may be required to enter your PIN or signature to complete the transaction. Remove the card after the transaction is completed when you are prompted to do so by the payment terminal.
- Retailers without chip-enabled terminals – swipe your card and process as you normally would do.
- Over the phone or online – provide your card information as you always have when ready to make your purchase.
Is an EMV/chip card more secure than my current card?
Yes. EMV/chip cards add an additional layer of security to the safeguards already in place to protect your card. Each time you use your EMV/chip card, it generates a code that is unique to that transaction. This makes it harder to counterfeit your card or use it fraudulently for in-store purchases.
Can I use my EMV/chip card anywhere?
Yes. Your EMV/chip card can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted. If a merchant has a chip-enabled card reader, you will insert your card during the transaction. In the U.S., you will still be able to “swipe” your card to make your payment if a merchant has a regular card reader. You will need a PIN to be able to make a transaction at an ATM.
Can I continue to use my current non EMV/chip card?
Yes. You can use your current card until you get your EMV/chip card. At that time, activate your new EMV/chip card and begin using it. After your new card is activated, you will not be able to use your old card. Be sure to destroy the old card by cutting it up or shredding it.
Do I sign the back of my EMV/chip card?
Yes. You still need to sign the back of your card.
Can I use my EMV/chip card to make purchases online or by phone?
Yes. You can use your EMV/chip card to make these purchases as you do today.
Can I use my EMV/chip card at an ATM?
Yes. For ATM transactions, insert your card into the card reader and follow the instructions on the screen. Depending on the type of machine you are using you might be prompted to re-insert your card. Leave the card in the ATM until the transaction is complete and the card is released, and then remove your card and any money you might have withdrawn. If the ATM has a chip-enabled card reader the reader will clamp down on your card, if you try to remove it while it is clamped you may damage the chip.
What is the difference between chip and signature and chip and PIN?
You may be asked to provide your signature or enter your PIN to complete a transaction when you use your card. You will need to use your PIN at ATMs and it may be required at some unattended card readers such as fuel pumps and payment kiosks.
What if my card is lost or stolen?
Please call 618-523-4202 or 800-383-8000 immediately to report a lost or stolen card.
If you know where your card is but would like to temporarily block it until it is back in your possession, you can temporarily “deactivate” your card using the Shazam Bolt$ app and then “reactivate” it once you have it back in your possession.
Does the EMV/chip card contain more information about me that could be stolen?
No, an EMV/chip card does not contain any information about you that isn’t in your magnetic strip cards – just your name, account number, and expiration date.
Call us at 618-523-4202 or stop in any of our 4 locations for more information regarding EMV-Chip cards.
- Be aware of the surroundings when using an automated teller machine (ATM), particularly during the hours of darkness.
- Be accompanied by another person when using an ATM during the hours of darkness.
- Refrain from displaying cash. Place cash in a pocket as soon as a transaction is completed and count cash in the safety of a locked enclosure such as a car or home.
- Use another ATM or return at a later time if anything suspicious is noticed when using or considering using an ATM.
- Report all crimes immediately to the operator of the ATM or to local law enforcement officials.
- Know exactly what you are going to do before you leave your car and approach the ATM. Have your card ready, know your Personal Identification Number (PIN) and how much cash you want to withdraw.
- Cover your transaction with your body by blocking the keyboard from view. By doing this, you will prevent someone from learning your PIN.
- Always keep your PIN a secret and nowhere near your card. Never give the number to anyone or write it down anywhere. Memorize it or use a secret code if you must write it down.
- Never let anyone use your card or PIN. Law enforcement officers or financial officials will never ask for these items.
- Notify us immediately if your ATM card or PIN is lost or stolen at (618)523-4202 or (800)383-8000.
The first step in balancing your checkbook is to keep good records of your monthly activity. The best way to do this is by keeping a check register. Be sure to write down all of your deposit and withdrawal activity throughout the month. Even if you’re writing a check for a can of Ski at the convenience store, you need to write it down. Second, check the back of your bank statement when it comes in the mail. Here you will find a form that will help you reconcile your current bank statement with any outstanding (checks and deposits that have not yet cleared the bank) account activity. Lastly, keep in mind that the first couple of times you do this it may be somewhat time consuming; however, after a couple of months it will become second nature.
- On the backside of your statement, you will find a form that will walk you step by step through the process of balancing your checkbook. Before you start, please be sure you have entered in your register all automatic transactions shown on the front of your statement.
You’re going to start on the left-hand side of the paper, and list all of the outstanding checks, ATM withdrawals, and any other debits in your check register. You’re recording all of the withdrawals that do not appear on your current bank statement or any previous statement. Add up the sum of these withdrawals and total them at the bottom of the left hand column.
- Now you’re going to move over to the right hand side of the paper. On the first line write the Current Balance shown on your bank statement. (located at the bottom right on your statement)
On the next couple of lines, write in any outstanding deposits (deposits not shown on this statement). Add all of the deposits together, and add that total to the Current Balance. Write this total on the next line. This will be your Total.
- Next, you need to carry the total from the left hand column over to the checks outstanding spot in the right hand column.
- Subtract the checks outstanding from your Total. The number you get SHOULD agree with the balance in your check book.
- A couple of things to keep in mind while balancing your checkbook are automatic withdrawals and deposits. Maybe you have a car or insurance payment that comes out on the 15th of every month, or a payroll deposit every Friday. Whatever it may be it is very important that you remember to include these items in your check register. Another thing to keep an eye out for are un-cashed checks. Sometimes people will hang onto checks and not cash them for months. Make sure you mark them as money spent. It’s better to be on the safe side, because they will eventually be cashed!
If you have done all three steps and you still find discrepancies between your numbers and the bank’s, please contact the bank. When you call, make sure that you have your account number, any suspect check numbers, and/or withdrawal dates handy. A few common errors are:
- Checks that have not been cashed yet.
- Unregistered ATM card withdrawals that go unnoticed.
- Cleared deposits that you are unaware of. (Direct deposits, interest earned, etc.)
- Bank fees that you have not considered. (Service charges, check fees, ATM fees, etc.)
- Human error (Transpositions, addition, subtraction, etc.)
The standard insurance amount currently is $250,000 per depositor.
If you are not sure as to whether or not all of your deposits at GTSB are fully covered, click on the FDIC link below or visit any of our 4 GTSB locations, and we will gladly assist you in calculating your coverage amount.
What is identity theft?
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personally identifying information, like your name, Social Security number, or credit card number, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes. The FTC estimates that as many as 25 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. In fact, you or someone you know may have experienced some form of identity theft.
The crime takes many forms. Identity thieves may rent an apartment, obtain a credit card, or establish a telephone account in your name. You may not find out about the theft until you review your credit report or a credit card statement and notice charges you didn’t make—or until you’re contacted by a debt collector.
Identity theft is serious. While some identity theft victims can resolve their problems quickly, others spend hundreds of dollars and many days repairing damage to their good name and credit record. Some consumers victimized by identity theft may lose out on job opportunities, or be denied loans for education, housing or cars because of negative information on their credit reports. In rare cases, they may even be arrested for crimes they did not commit.
How does identity theft happen, and how can I protect myself?
As Identity Theft continues to rise, the Federal Government continues to take steps to help educate and inform consumers of how Identity Theft happens, how to prevent it, and how to pick up the pieces after it happens. Click on the links below to learn more.
How to avoid online scams
GTSB, Visa, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and other agencies all advise consumers to never give out confidential personal information or financial account information when receiving unsolicited phone calls or e-mails. Additionally, they note that court personnel will never ask for such information over the phone, and that courts typically communicate only via traditional mail.
To protect against identity theft, consumers are advised to take these precautions:
Always verify the legitimacy of a caller by asking for official company or agency contact information and using directory assistance to verify and cross-reference the information given.
Never rely solely on the phone number the caller provides as verification of the legitimacy of the call. Scam artists often have accomplices answer the phone to appear legitimate in the event of a return call. Never respond directly to unsolicited e-mail messages or follow links to web sites provided therein. Close the message and open a new Web browser window to go to the official company or agency web site to verify the authenticity of the e-mail.
No matter how official the caller sounds or the e-mail message appears, legitimate businesses and government agencies will not ask for confidential personal information or financial account information in their correspondence.
This information was provided to Germantown Trust & Savings Bank in a Visa® U.S.A. Inc. Data Security Brief.
NOTE: Clicking on any external links listed below will take you to another site and they are not guaranteed to be accurate, and are in no way endorsed, offered or guaranteed by Germantown Trust & Savings Bank.