Bank official warns of identity theft

n Sherry Williams offers
tips at Chamber meeting.
By Mack Spencer
Monitor-Herald
VARDAMAN – Identity theft doesn’t necessarily have to be a problem.
“The easiest way to not get your identity stolen is, don’t use credit cards or a computer,” said Sherry Williams of BancorpSouth in Vardaman. “Of course, that’s not going to happen.”
Given that, Williams said people should closely examine their bank statements each month, or check their accounts online even more frequently.
She also pointed out online “phishing” and “skimming” scams that arrive by e-mail.
Phishing e-mails masquerade as messages from banks or credit card companies that ask for important account access information.
Skimming involves downloading a stealth program that saves and transmits all keystrokes from a person’s computer to the program’s creator.
Williams also cautioned online shoppers to make sure that they shop with reputable merchants, and that the pages they shop on do belong to those merchants.
The easiest way to avoid identity theft, however, shred any documents that contain sensitive information like account numbers or passwords, and not to simply throw such documents away.
“It’s amazing the number of people in Vardaman who have been affected by identity theft,” Williams said. “Someone came to the bank here to open an account, and their Social Security number was linked to a checking account that was charged off in Georgia. This person had never even been to Georgia.”
If a scam involves a customer’s bank account, “we will help them get their money back,” she said. “I know of no one yet that we haven’t helped get their money back.”

Mack Spencer