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Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when someone assumes another person’s personal identifying information, like a name, social security number or date of birth with the intent of committing fraud. Identity theft is often characterized as the fastest growing crime in America. Experts estimate it takes fourteen months for an average victim to discover an identity theft and approximately two years to correct credit information. 

Note: Urban Partnership Bank will never ask you to verify financial or personal information via unsolicited email or telephone calls. 

Your identity can be stolen in a variety of ways:

  • Loss or theft of your wallet, purse, or credit card
  • Mail theft
  • Skimming information from the magnetic strip on credit or debit cards
  • "Dumpster diving”: Looking through the trash for sensitive information
  • "Shoulder surfing”: Looking over your shoulder when you are entering a PIN or password
  • Eavesdropping
  • Scam phone calls where a stranger asks for personal or financial information
  • Phishing and spyware
  • Computer hacking

What to Look For

These are the identify theft warning signs:

  • Unauthorized charges appear on your checking account or credit card statement
  • Accounts appear on your credit report that you did not open
  • You receive a call from a collection agency asking why you have not paid a bill
  • You receive a call from a financial institution regarding an account you did not open
  • You have not received your bills or credit card statements when they normally arrive
  • Your bank statements show unauthorized transfers or withdrawals

What to Do to Prevent Identity Theft

There are several preventative steps you can take to reduce your risk of identity theft:

  • Do not carry your Social Security card in your wallet.
  • Do not have your Social Security number or driver’s license number printed on your checks.
  • Beware of giving information to anyone over the phone or the internet unless you initiate the call.
  • Shred any documents with account numbers or other personal data you are throwing out, preferably with a cross-cut shredder.
  • Watch for regular monthly bills that are not delivered. Stolen mail is one way to obtain sensitive information.
  • Do not leave mail for pickup at an unlocked mailbox.
  • Check your credit report at least once a year to identify accounts that may have been opened in your name without your knowledge. You can get a copy of your credit report at every twelve months.
  • Monitor your online financial accounts frequently.
  • Sign your new debit and credit cards promptly.
  • Do not keep PIN’s attached to credit, debit, or ATM cards.
  • If you are a member of a military service unit who is on active duty, consider placing an active duty alert on your credit report. The active duty alert can prevent pre-screened offers of credit and insurance being sent while you are away on active duty.

What to Do if You Become a Victim

  • Contact the financial institutions or the companies where the information about you has been used and let them know you are a victim of identity theft.
  • Contact the credit reporting agencies to report the identity theft and request they place a fraud alert on your account. You only need to contact one; they will contact the other two. - 1-888-766-0008 - 1-888-397-3742 - 1-800-680-7289

  • Contact the police department to report the crime. Be sure to request a copy of the report.
  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission at to make a report and review their helpful hints for dealing with identity theft.
  • Keep good records of who you talk to, summaries of conversations, and documentary evidence of the crime.

For additional information concerning fraud and identity theft, visit the Identity Theft Resource Center at