Preventing Identity Theft

At Deerwood Bank, protecting your privacy and identity is paramount. That is why we are dedicating this page to keep you informed about the latest types of scams and fraudulent attempts that may affect you financially and potentially be used to steal your identity. In addition, we are providing you with links to help you in the event that you feel your identity has been compromised. If you have any questions or concerns call us at 1-800-291-6597 or email us at info*AT*

There are times when an employee from the bank may call you to ask for updated information or to confirm other personal data. If you prefer, please take down the employee’s name and call 1-800-291-6597 to verify that the employee does indeed work at Deerwood Bank. The person who answers the phone can then direct you to the employee that called.

How Identity Theft Happens

Identity theft starts with the misuse of personally identifying information such as name and social security number, credit card numbers, or other financial account information. Skilled identity thieves may use a variety of methods to get hold of your information, including:

  • Cyber Attacks ‘Hacking’ – Accessing personal information on your computer or mobile device through the use of malware. The FDIC provides ‘A Bank Customer’s Guide to Cybersecurity’»
  • Dumpster Diving – Rummage through trash looking for bills or other paper with personal information on it.
  • Skimming – Steal credit or debit card numbers by using a special storage device at a merchant or at an ATM when processing a card transaction.
  • Phishing – Pretend to be with a financial institution or company and send spam or pop-up messages to get someone to reveal or respond with their personal information.
  • Changing Your Address – Divert the billing statement or another account notice to another location by completing a change of address form with the financial institution or company.
  • Theft – Stealing wallets and purses or mail, including bank and credit card statements, pre-approved credit offers, orders of new checks, or tax information. Stealing personal records or bribing employees with access to personal records to steal them.

Pretexting – Using false pretenses to obtain personal information from financial institutions, telephone companies, and other sources.

Mobile Banking Safety Tips:

Following a few simple steps can help make Mobile Banking a safe, convenient way to manage your accounts.

  • Avoid storing sensitive information like passwords and social security numbers on your mobile device.
  • Password protect your mobile device and lock it when you’re not using it.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Don’t type any sensitive information if others around you can see.
  • Log out completely when you complete a mobile banking session.
  • Protect your phone from viruses and malware just like you do for your computer by installing mobile security software.
  • Download the updates for your phone and mobile apps.
  • Use discretion when downloading apps.
  • If you change your phone number or lose your mobile device, let us know right away.
  • Monitor your accounts regularly and immediately report suspicious activity.

Helpful links to inform you about steps you can take to protect your identity:
View your credit report online at no cost to you at:

To order your report:
PO Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

To order your report:
PO Box 2104

Allen, TX 75013


To order your report:
PO Box 1000

Chester, PA 19022

Resources for Victims of Identity Theft

If you feel like you are a victim of Identity Theft contact your local Deerwood Bank office. Additional resources are provided below. Any of our bankers are able to assist you with completing any of the following tasks.

Identity Theft Recovery Plan Booklet *PDF*

Here are links that are helpful and can inform you about steps you can take when you are a victim of Identity Theft.

Federal Trade Commission –

1-877-438-4338 600
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580

You will want to notify one of these three credit bureau companies.

To report fraud:
PO Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

To report fraud:
PO Box 9532

Allen, TX 75013


To report fraud:
PO Box 6790

Fullerton, CA 92834


scam alert

Equifax Security Breach

On 9/7/17 Equifax announced a “cybersecurity incident potentially impacting approximately 143 million U.S. consumers”. They have also stated there is “no evidence of unauthorized access to core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases.”

We at Deerwood Bank understand you may be concerned about the security of your personal information. For additional information regarding the breach, click here. You can also sign up for the Equifax Lock & Alert program, that allows you to lock and unlock your credit report right from your smartphone. For more information visit, Equifax Lock & Alert page.

Equifax will send direct mail notices to consumers whose credit card numbers or dispute documents with personal identifying information were impacted.

As a service to our customers, Deerwood Bank is providing this information for security purposes only. We are not making any recommendations of action or inaction.

Additional Articles:

Deerwood Bank Recognizes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Every year, millions of seniors fall victim to financial fraud. Studies show elder financial abuse costs seniors approximately $2.9 billion each year. In recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, Deerwood Bank is urging older customers and their trusted caregivers to safeguard all personal information and stay alerted to the common signs of financial abuse.

Deerwood Bank is offering the following tips:

  • Plan ahead to protect your assets and to ensure your wishes are followed. Talk to someone at your financial institution, an attorney, or financial advisor about the best options for you.
  • Carefully choose a trustworthy person to act as your agent in all estate-planning matters.
  • Lock up your checkbook, account statements, and other sensitive information when others will be in your home.
  • Never give personal information, including Social Security Number, account number or other financial information to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call and the other party is trusted.
  • Never pay a fee or taxes to collect sweepstakes or lottery “winnings.”
  • Never rush into a financial decision. Ask for details in writing and get a second opinion.
  • Consult with a financial advisor or attorney before signing any document you don’t understand.
  • Get to know your banker and build a relationship with the people who handle your finances. They can look out for any suspicious activity related to your account.
  • Check references and credentials before hiring anyone to do work in your home. Don’t allow workers to have access to information about your finances.
  • Pay with checks, debit and credit cards instead of cash to keep a paper trail.
  • You have the right not to be threatened or intimidated. If you think someone close to you is trying to take control of your finances, call your local Adult Protective Services agency or tell someone at your bank.

If you believe you are a victim of financial abuse, be sure to: Talk to a trusted family member, doctor, attorney, local police, adult protective services or your local bank.

Recent Scams and Fraud

Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks in Circulation

It has become an all-too-familiar situation for many financial institutions: A customer makes a transaction with a third party over the Internet (e.g., selling an item on an online marketplace) and is paid with a counterfeit cashier’s check, money order, or similar instrument. The checks are realistic and bear proper routing numbers. The scheme, operates like this:

  1. The victim responds to an offer, then receives a cashier’s check for greater than the negotiated selling price to cover the cost of a shipping agent.
  2. The victim is instructed to deposit the check into his or her own account and to keep several hundred dollars as “payment.”
  3. The victim then uses the balance to pay the shipping agent, which generally involves sending the balance of the funds to third parties via wire transfers.
  4. By the time the illegitimate cashier’s checks are returned as fraudulent, the victim’s funds are gone.

While that is one example of counterfeit cashier check fraud here are a few others:

  • Online transactions: As discussed previously, a consumer sells an item through an online marketplace such as eBay or Craigslist, and someone offers to buy it using a cashier’s check (or similar instrument) for an amount greater than the asking price. The buyer offers a contrived explanation for the overpayment and asks the seller to deposit the check, keep the amount of the selling price plus $100 extra for his time, and wire the balance back to the buyer after the check clears.
  • Mystery shopper: The consumer receives a letter stating she has been chosen to act as a mystery shopper and receives a cashier’s check to deposit. The consumer is told to use a portion of the funds to purchase merchandise at the designated stores, transfer a portion of the funds to a third party using a designated wire service company, and keep the remainder.
  • Lottery or inheritance: The consumer is notified that he won a lottery (even though the consumer may not have actually purchased a ticket) or inherited money, and he receives a check, with a request to wire back a portion of the check to cover taxes.

Helpful tips to follow to avoid becoming a victim of these schemes:

  • Avoid offers that require paying for a free prize or a gift.
  • Know who you are dealing with and never wire money to strangers.
  • When selling something, never accept payment for more than the selling price, no matter how tempting the offer or how convincing the story. Suggest an alternative way for the buyer to pay, such as an escrow service or online payment service.
  • When accepting payment by check, ask that the check be drawn on a local bank or a bank with a local branch to verify the check is valid.
  • If a buyer insists that you wire back funds, end the transaction. Legitimate buyers don’t pressure you to send money by wire transfer services. In addition, you have little recourse if there’s a problem with a wire transaction.
  • Resist any pressure to “act now.”

Others tips when sending or receiving cashier’s checks:

  • Understand the difference between having access to funds from a deposit because federal law requires it and the actual time it can take for banks to clear checks.
  • Examine cashier’s checks or money orders carefully for any irregularities.
  • Contact the banks issuing cashier’s checks and money orders to verify if the instruments were issued in the amount stated and if they had been paid to the depositary bank. Customers should obtain the bank’s phone number from an independent source, since the counterfeit check could display a fake phone number of a person working in tandem with the fraudster.
  • Be aware that wire transfers generally cannot be canceled once the transfer has been completed.
  • Remember the adage: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

What can you do if you receive a counterfeit check(s)? You can file complaints with the following agencies, as appropriate:

  • U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Inspector General (OIG) by telephone at 800-359‑3898 or by visiting the OIG website.
  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by telephone at 877-382-4357 or by visiting the FTC website.
  • National Consumers League (NCL) by telephone at 202-835-3323 or by email. To file a fraud complaint, visit the NCL fraud website.
  • Better Business Bureau (BBB).
  • FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) to report scams that may have originated via the internet.
  • If correspondence is received via the U.S. Postal Service, contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service by telephone at 888-877-7644; by mail at U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Office of Inspector General, Operations Support Group, 222 S. Riverside Plaza, Suite 1250, Chicago, IL 60606-6100; or via the online complaint form.

Has an online love interest asked you for money?

Looking to start a new relationship? For some, that may mean meeting a new love interest online. Word to the wise: sometimes it’s best to lead with your head and not your heart.

Millions of Americans use dating sites, social networking sites, and chat rooms to meet people. And many forge successful relationships. But scammers also use these sites to meet potential victims. They create fake profiles to build online relationships, and eventually convince people to send money in the name of love.

The Federal Trade Commission receives thousands of reports each year about romance scammers who create fake online relationships only to steal their victims’ money. Unfortunately, an online love interest who asks for money is almost certainly a scam artist. The FTC’s new infographic, developed with the American Bankers Association Foundation, lists common signs of online dating scams and what to do if someone you meet online asks you for money.

Scams Happening In Our Area

You or a friend receive a call that your GRANDCHILD is in JAIL.

  • Never mail or FedEx cash.
  • Have you tried calling your grandchild?
  • Are you being pressured to send money?
  • Have you been told not to tell anyone?

The IRS issued an ARREST WARRANT to you for unpaid taxes.

  • The IRS will not call you until they have 1st mailed out several bills for unpaid taxes.
  • The IRS will never have you pay taxes by a specific method like an iTunes gift card.
  • The IRS will not ask for financial information, like your credit card number, over the phone.
  • The IRS will not threaten to have you arrested.
  • Are you being threatened?

You sell something online and receive a CHECK WRITTEN FOR MORE THAN the sale amount.

  • Did the buyer say it was a mistake? Have the bank verify the funds on the check.
  • Did the buyer say you can keep some of the money for the hassle?

You receive a letter or call that you WON a LOTTERY or SWEEPSTAKES.

  • You should never have to send someone money to win something.
  • Do you remember registering for a contest or sweepstakes?


Don’t get scarred by gift cards…

That gift card you purchased at the store might be all used up before you even give it to the recipient.  The thieves will take the information down from the card and wait for it to be activated at the register.  They will check the balance often and once they find it is active, the card is drained of its funds.  What can you do?  Use the card quickly after purchasing it.  If the card has been compromised; keep your receipt and contact the retailer, you may be able to recoup some of your losses.

Many cards will require a PIN that has to be scratched off to reveal a code to be used with the card number.  This can delay a thief, but not entirely.  The scratch-off area can be easily recovered with a sticker.  What can you do?  Inspect the card before purchasing.  If it appears to have been tampered with, pick a different card and alert the retailer.

Thieves are an impatient bunch.  Oftentimes they will record information from a card and then return it back to the original location in the store.  Often the tampered card will be put in front of others, as they hope for a quick return on their devious investment of time and skill.  What can you do?  Inspect any card you take but avoid taking the card in front.

Be on the lookout for fraudulent sites offering to check the balance of your card.  Phishing or fraudulent ads may offer a convenient link or phone number to check that gift card balance.  As with a credit card, always follow the information on the back of the card, or contact the company offering the card directly to check your balance.


Here’s some information on how to protect your mobile phone from hackers.

Why Cyber Criminals Want to Hack Your Phone