How to identify and prevent fraud
Identity Theft and Fraud: How to Spot it and How to Prevent it

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Identity Theft

What is Identity Theft?  Return
    Identity theft is when someone takes and uses your personal information (such as your name, social security or credit card number) without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. These criminals take the identities of others to open new credit cards; obtain phone or utility accounts, loans, or employment; open bank accounts; and/or pass fraudulent checks. According to the FBI, identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America.

How Does Identity Theft Occur?  Return
    Criminals gain access to personal information in many ways, but the most common method is to take it from the victim themselves. They steal mail (such as account statements, new checks and offers of credit) left in a mailbox, discarded in the trash or stored in an easy-to-get-to location in your home or office. They take credit card and personal identification from your purse or wallet. Without knowing it, you may give the information directly to the criminal when you enter data at an unsecured or unknown website, or in response to a fraudulent request for account information through an unverified e-mail (phishing). Imposters also ask for information from you by pretexting, tricking you into thinking it is someone you know, such as your bank.
What Happens to the Victim?  Return
    Identity thieves can damage the credit reputations and lives of victims. Studies have shown that victims spend an average of $808 and 205 hours resolving the identity theft. Time and money is spent clearing credit reports, reporting the theft to lenders and merchants, and filing complaints with law enforcement and governmental agencies. One of the menacing problems of identity theft is that it can happen more than once. Once the initial incident is resolved, the thief may begin using the victim’s identity again after waiting six months to a year and the cycle begins all over again.
How Can I Avoid Becoming a Victim?  Return
    Identity theft requires someone to gain access to your personal information. You can take steps to decrease the risk of someone stealing your information.

    • Destroy papers you throw out. Shred or completely destroy any documents that contain personal information before discarding them in the trash. This includes information about you, your family, your home, or your accounts such as credit card solicitations, pre-approved credit offers, convenience checks contained in your statements, bills, cancelled checks, loan offerings, ATM or credit card receipts, insurance or tax information. Just as important are receipts from ATM’s or self-service devices such as gasoline pumps. Don’t just leave them behind or throw them in the trash. Criminals only need a few pieces of information about you to get credit in your name and access your existing accounts.

    • Be careful who you give your information to over the telephone. Do not give out personal information such as your social security number, credit card or bank account numbers, or loan numbers over the phone to anyone who has called you without first confirming who you are speaking to, why they need the information and that they are who they claim to be.

    • Guard your PINs. Never give out your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Memorize your PINs and never write them on your cards or carry them in your wallet.

    • Report lost or stolen credit cards, checks or identification immediately.

    • Store your personal information securely. Keep it where it is not easily available in the event of a burglary or other unauthorized access.

    • Be cautious online. Be cautious when providing information at websites or with online merchants you do not have an existing relationship with. Always confirm that you are in a secure session before entering personal information online (see How Do I Know if Security is Operating?).

    • Check your credit reports. Review your credit report regularly to identify any inquiries or accounts that you are not aware of and did not apply for.

    • Protect your mailbox. If your residential mailbox is not secure, don’t put outgoing mail in the box and promptly pick up incoming mail or obtain a secure postal mailbox.

    • Safeguard your checks. Never print your personal information such as a Social Security Number or driver’s license number on your checks.

    What Should I Do if I Become a Victim of Identity Theft?  Return

    • Contact the four major credit bureaus.
    • Equifax 800.525.6285 equifax.com
      Experian 888.397.3742 experian.com
      TransUnion 800.680.7289 transunion.com
      innovis Consumer Assistance 800.540.2505

    • Ask them to send you a copy of your credit report and instruct them to place a fraud alert on your record. Once you receive the report, review it carefully. Contact any creditors listed that you did not apply for credit with and inform them that you have been a victim of identity theft. Instruct them to close the account, send you copies of the application and any transactions, and to promptly clear your credit record.

    • Contact your local police or sheriff’s department and file an identity theft complaint. A copy of the police report can help provide evidence of fraud to creditors, credit agencies, and third parties. If the police cannot file a report based on the facts provided, request that a miscellaneous incident report be filed for your records.

    • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission or call their hotline at 1.877IDTHEFT (438.4338).

    Identity Theft Resources  Return

    Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
    877.438.4338
    Social Security Administration Fraud Hotline
    800.269.0271
    Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
    619.298.3396
    Identity Theft Resource Center
    858.693.7935
    Department of Justice Identity Theft Statistics
    US Postal Inspection Service
    800.372.8347
    Identity Theft Laws (by state)

    What Are We Doing to Assist in the Battle Against Identity Theft?  Return

      Protecting the confidentiality and security of our customers’ personal information is a priority for our family of companies. You can find more information in our Privacy and Security Policy. We understand the implications identity theft can have and take very specific steps to reduce the chance that identity thieves can damage the credit reputations of our customers. As a result, we have put multiple safety measures in place to combat identity theft.

    Law Enforcement  Return

      We coordinate with local, state and federal law enforcement when identity theft cases arise.

    Reporting Identity Theft  Return

      If you think your identity has been stolen, affecting any of your loans or accounts with any of the companies in our family, or resulting in the establishment of a fraudulent relationship with us, please contact us immediately.

      Phone: 800-327-7861 or email FraudAlerts@bsifinancial.com.
      Fax: 814-217-1366
      Address: BSI Financial Services
      314 S Franklin Street
      Titusville, PA 16354

    Our Code of Ethics   Return

      We have a strict code of ethics for all associates that require confidential treatment of your information. Associates having access to information must complete privacy and information security awareness training annually. We also maintain physical, electronic and procedural safeguards to protect against unauthorized access to customer information.

    Our Computer Security Plan   Return

    Keeping your financial and personal information secure and confidential is one of our most important responsibilities. Your information remains secure because our computer systems are protected in the following ways:

    • Computer anti-virus protection detects and prevents viruses from entering our computer network systems.

    • Firewalls block unauthorized access by individuals or networks. Firewalls are one way we protect our computer systems that interact with the Internet.

    • Secure transmissions ensure information remains confidential. We use encryption technology, such as Secure Socket Layer (SSL), to transmit information between you and us. This protects data in three key ways:

      • Authentication ensures that you are communicating with us, and prevents another computer impersonating us.

      • Encryption scrambles transferred data so it cannot be read by unauthorized parties.

      • Data integrity verifies that the information you send to us is not altered during the transfer. The system detects if data was added or deleted after you sent the message. If any tampering has occurred, the connection is dropped.

      • Advances in security technology are constantly evaluated by our experts to ensure that we provide the right protection for you. Secure email is provided, giving you peace of mind that your communications with us are always private.

    Report Fraud   Return

    Preventing fraud is a priority. That's why BSI Financial goes to great lengths to keep you protected and informed.

    We strive to ensure quality, safety and the integrity of your personal accounts. At BSI Financial, you’re in control of your accounts, with the guarantee that we are here to offer service and support every step of the way.

    Become educated about fraud and security and take action to keep yourself protected.
How Scams Work   Return
    Fraudsters use a variety of tactics to find homeowners in distress. Some sift through public foreclosure notices in newspapers and on the Internet or through public files at local government offices, and then send personalized letters to homeowners. Others take a broader approach through ads on the Internet, on television or radio, or in newspapers; posters on telephone poles, median strips, and at bus stops; or flyers, business cards, or people at your front door. The scam artists use simple – but potentially deceptive – messages, like:

    • "Stop foreclosure now!" "Get a loan modification!"

    • "Over 90% of our customers get results."

    • "We have special relationships with banks that can speed up the approval process." "100% Money Back Guarantee."

    • "Keep Your Home. We know your home is scheduled to be sold. No Problem!"

    Once they have your attention, they use a variety of tactics to get your money. By knowing how their scams work, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says you'll be better able to defend against fraud.

Common Fraud Scams You Should Know About   Return
    Anyone can be scammed if they don’t know the warning signs to look for. Here are some red flags to indicate that you may be dealing with a mortgage loan scammer:

    • A company/person asks for a fee in advance to work with your lender or mortgage servicer to modify, refinance or reinstate your mortgage. It is illegal for a company/individual to charge fees in advance for these services according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Mortgage Assistance Relief Service (MARS) Rule. Note: Attorneys are allowed to charge fees in advance if they meet certain requirements and place fees in a client trust account (FTC MARS Rule Compliance Guide for attorneys). But be careful! Attorneys, and people claiming to be attorneys, have been known to take advantage of homeowners, too.

    • A company/person guarantees they can stop a foreclosure or get your loan modified. Nobody can make this guarantee to stop a foreclosure or modify your loan. Many scammers offer “money-back” guarantees to make homeowners feel more comfortable. But why do you need a money-back guarantee when getting a loan modification is supposed to be free? Legitimate, trustworthy HUD-approved counseling agencies will only promise they will try their very best to help you.

    • A company/person advises you to stop paying your mortgage company or to pay them instead. Despite what a scammer will tell you, you should never stop paying your mortgage to improve your chances of getting a loan modification. Also, never send a mortgage payment to anyone other than your mortgage servicer. As soon as you have trouble paying your mortgage, contact us and ask for the loss mitigation department. You should also contact a HUD-approved counseling agency for assistance. It’s free.

    • A company pressures you to sign over the deed to your home or sign any paperwork that you haven’t had a chance to read, and you don’t fully understand. Be careful. Signing over the deed to your home may not prevent foreclosure. You are still responsible for paying your mortgage even if you sign over the deed to your home. A legitimate housing counselor would never pressure you to sign a document before you had a chance to read and understand it.

    • A company claims to offer “government-approved” or “official government” loan modifications. They may be scam artists posing as legitimate organizations approved by, or affiliated with, the government. Contact us first. We can tell you whether you qualify for any government programs to prevent foreclosure. You can also work with a local HUD-approved counseling agency to determine what programs you may be eligible for. And, remember, you do not have to pay to benefit from government-backed loan modification programs.

    • A company/person you don’t know asks you to release personal financial information online or over the phone. You should only give this type of information to companies that you know and trust, like your mortgage servicer or a HUD-approved counseling agency.

    • A company/person tells you they can perform an “audit” to save your home. In exchange for an upfront fee, so-called forensic loan "auditors," mortgage loan "auditors," or foreclosure prevention "auditors" offer to have an attorney or other expert review your mortgage documents to determine if your servicer complied with the law. The "auditors" say you can use their report to avoid foreclosure, speed the loan modification process, reduce what you owe, or even cancel your loan. In fact, there's no evidence that forensic loan audits will help you get a loan modification or any other mortgage relief.

    • A company advises you to sell your home right now so you can rent it back. Con artists tell you to surrender the title to your house as part of a deal that allows you to stay there as a renter and buy it back later. They say that surrendering the title will let a borrower with a better credit rating get new financing and prevent the loss of the home. But the terms of these deals usually are so expensive that buying back your home becomes impossible. You lose the house and the scam artist walks off with the money you put into it. Worse, when the new borrower defaults on the loan, you're the one who's evicted.

    In a variation, the scam artist raises the rent over time so you can't afford it. After missing several rent payments, you're evicted, leaving the "rescuer" free to sell the house.

    In a similar equity-skimming scam, fraudsters offer to find a buyer for your home, but only if you sign over the deed and move out. They promise to pay you a portion of the profit when the home sells. Once you transfer the deed, they simply rent out the home and pocket the proceeds while your lender goes ahead with the foreclosure. The result: You lose your home – and you're still responsible for the unpaid mortgage because transferring the deed does nothing to transfer what you owe on the mortgage.
To Report Fraud or a Fraud Issue to BSI Financial  Return
    If you think you are the victim of fraud or of a fraud scam, affecting any of your loans or accounts with any of the companies in our family, or resulting in the establishment of a fraudulent relationship with us, please contact us immediately. Phone 800.327.7861 or email fraudalerts@bsifinancial.com.
    Fax: 814.217.1366
    Address: BSI Financial Services
    314 S Franklin Street
    Titusville, PA 16354

Is It BSI Financial or a Scam?   Return
    BSI Financial proactively monitors your accounts, but we also want to make sure you’re able to identify legitimate BSI Financial communications in order to avoid schemes and scams.

    BSI Financial will never: Send unsolicited emails or text messages asking you to provide, update or verify personal or account information, such as passwords, Social Security numbers, PINs, bank account numbers or other confidential information. In most cases, we won’t send you emails at all unless you have initiated an email dialogue with us, or have previously requested us to communicate with you in that manner.

    BSI Financial accepts ACH, check and Western Union payments only. BSI Financial does not accept cash, credit cards, debit cards, pre-paid credit cards or electronic MoneyGram as a form of payment and under no circumstances will we contact you or request this type of payment or payment information.
To Report a Fraudulent Email or Website to BSI Financial  Return
    If you think you have received a fraudulent email or been provided with a fraudulent website, affecting any of your loans or accounts with any of the companies in our family, or resulting in the establishment of a fraudulent relationship with us, please contact us immediately. Phone: 800.327.7861 or email security@bsifinancial.com

    Fax: 814.217.1366
    Address: BSI Financial Services
    314 S Franklin Street
    Titusville, PA 16354
Do You Suspect Fraud?   Return
    You may ask yourself, “Could I really be the victim of a scam?” To help you determine this, ask yourself the following questions:

    • Did anyone offer to help modify your mortgage, either directly or through advertising such as a flyer?

    • Were you guaranteed a loan modification or asked to do to any of the following:
      • Pay a fee
      • Sign a contract
      • Sign over title to your property
      • Redirect mortgage payments
      • Stop making loan payments

      If you answered Yes to either question, then report the possible scam. As soon as you suspect fraud, contact us immediately at 866.581.4513. We want to help protect you from theft and fraud.

      You can also call the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by calling 888.995.HOPE (4673) or click here to report a scam online (with your permission the complaint will be shared by HUD with federal and state enforcement agencies).

    Non-Profit Organizations  Return


    Enforcement Resources   Return

      HUD Office of the Inspector General
      Phone: 800.347.3735
      Email:hotline@hudoig.gov

      Federal Trade Commission: Complaint Assistance
      Phone: 877.FTC.HELP / 877.382.4357
      Email:spam@uce.gov

      Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force
      Phone: 202.514.2000
      Email:ffetf@doj.gov
      Web: stopfraud.gov