At Sun Community protecting your personal and financial wellbeing is our top priority. With identity theft on the rise, we're excited to announce our new partnership with EZShield Identity Protection as part of Secured Savings.

For more information or to enroll, please click here or call 1-888-439-7453.

What is identity theft?
Identity theft is when someone uses your personally identifiable information such as your name, Social Security number, date of birth, your mother’s maiden name, and your address to use it, without your knowledge or permission, for their personal benefit. 

Types of ID Theft and Tips to Prevent Them

  • Dumpster Diving is when someone goes through another’s garbage to obtain personal identifiable information.  Do not throw away any paperwork that contains information that can be read.  You should shred everything before disposing of it with a cross-cut paper shredder.
  • Mail Theft is when someone targets another person’s mail box and removes mail that has personal identifiable information.  Ensure to keep you mailing address up to date with anyone who may mail you paperwork.  If your mail box is not secured by lock or key, take steps to correct this.  If you suspect that someone has been taking mail out of your mailbox, contact the post office immediately.
  • Social Engineering is when someone deceives another to divulge information either in person, over the telephone or computer.  To prevent this, stay alert. Do not give out any personal information to anyone you do not know.
  • Shoulder Surfing is when someone gets close to another in order to see/steal the information they are inputting.  A common example would be when someone stands close behind you at the ATM attempting to see you PIN.  To prevent this from happening, you should be aware of your surroundings when you are accessing any accounts that require you to enter a password or PIN in public.
  • Stealing Personal Items is one of the oldest forms of ID theft, however it is still very relevant.  Identity thieves can obtain your personal information by stealing your wallet or purse. When this occurs, we recommend that you immediately contact credit card companies, banks and/or credit bureaus to let them know of your situation.
  • Credit/Debit Card Theft is a form of ID fraud.  The impact is significant, sometimes leaving a person without funds in their account.  Steps you can take to protect yourself from credit/debit card theft is write, “SEE ID” on the back of the card in the signature field which requires merchants to request to see other forms of identification to verify the name on the card.
  • Skimming could occur anytime you use your credit, debit or ATM card.  The device your card is swiped through electronically stores the card information.  This allows a criminal to make a copy of the card for unauthorized use.  To prevent skimming, make it a habit to periodically check your credit and debit card statements.  In addition, enroll in automated alerts through your financial institution.
  • Pretexting occurs when a thief researches someone before contacting them in order to bait them into releasing their personal information.  An example would be someone calling posing as the Human Resources representative from their employer.  To prevent this, verify who you are speaking to. Ask for a call back number, and question why they need this information. If you feel you have been a victim of this, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/
  • Man-in-the-Middle Attack occurs most commonly online when you searched for a website, select it and then you are redirected to another website without notification.  Now, this website is in the middle of your computer and your destination website stealing the information you are inputting.  You should protect yourself by becoming more diligent when you selecting a website.  Ensure the website address is legitimate by verifying the URL address.
  • Phishing Schemes is the most common form of computer ID theft.  Different types include cell phone messages, internet social networks, emails, text messages, and standard mail. Below are some common schemes that attempt to get you to reveal your personal information, debit/credit card, account numbers, etc. 

Pharming – This can happen when a hacker tampers with a website host file or domain name system so the website you are attempting to see reroutes you to a fake or spoofed website instead. 

Vishing – This scheme is also known as “voice phishing.” It occurs when the thief contacts an individual over the telephone. In this instance, the schemer posses as an individual working for a legitimate organization such as a government agency, a financial institution, a payment services organization, or another well-known company.
 Another tactic used is to make robo-calls (pre-recorded messages) urging you to contact a certain phone number, stating that you either won a prize, or an emergency has occurred that requires you to disclose your personally identifiable information or credit card / debit card numbers.

Search Engine Phishing – This type of phishing occurs when thieves create websites that contain “too good to be true” offers, services, and other incentives.

SMiShing – In this scheme, the identity thief sends spam text messages posing as a financial institution or other legitimate entity. The text message has a sense of urgency, and can scare you into thinking there is a serious emergency by leading you to believe you will suffer financial losses or fees if there is no response.

Malware Based Phishing – This scheme occurs when the thief attaches a harmful computer program to an email or website.  The malware uses key loggers and screen loggers to record what you type on the keyboard and what sites you visited on the internet.  The malware then sends the information to the schemer.

Phishing through Spam – In this scheme, the thief, also known as a spammer, sends repeated spam emails to you. These email messages offer you opportunities for scholarships, business partnerships, or free products. In some instances, the spammer pretends to be a financial institution or organization you might belong to.

Spear Phishing – This scheme is very similar to the email phishing scam, except it attacks businesses. Spear phishers send emails to almost every employee of an organization and can be written to look like it has been sent by a division within the organization such as the IT or the human resources department. For instance, the email might state that every employee must send their user name and password for verification purposes. This potentially not only gives the attacker access to your personally identifiable information but also the company’s private information.

If you have any questions or wish to enroll into EZShield, please visit your nearest Sun Community Branch or call our Contact Center at 760-337-4200.