Understanding Fraud and Identity Theft

Fraud and identity theft are on the rise. Protecting your finances and your identity is important for your financial security.

Your Personal Identification Number (PIN) is a key part of your banking privacy and security. Commerce Bank will never ask for your PIN. Never share your PIN with anyone!

Guard your identification

  • Don't give out personal information by phone, email, on the Internet or in the mail unless you have initiated the contact.
  • Don't carry more identification or credit cards than you actually need.
  • Keep items and documents with personal information in a safe place.
  • When disposing of documents, tear up or shred those containing personal or financial information.
  • Be careful about revealing your Social Security Number (SSN) to others. Use other numbers for identification whenever possible.
    • Don't carry your SSN in your wallet.
    • Don't use your SSN as an ID number on your driver's license and other documents.
    • Don't have your SSN printed on your checks.

Beware of email and online fraud

  • Be very alert to unsolicited emails you receive, even from companies you know or do business with.
  • Beware of emails that ask you to provide, confirm or update sensitive personal information, such as your Social Security Number, user names, passwords, PIN numbers or account numbers.
  • Visit our Important Security Alert section for more information on email fraud.

Use passwords wisely

  • Use different passwords for different accounts whenever possible. Record them in a safe place but don't carry them with you.
  • When setting up passwords, use ones that would be easy for you to remember but difficult for someone else to guess. Don't use information that is easily linked to you.
  • Change your passwords often.
  • Use a combination of lower- and upper-case letters and symbols.

Pay attention to your mail

  • Send your mail through the Post Office or a postal service mailbox.
  • Remove your mail from your mailbox promptly after it has been delivered.
  • If you're planning to be away from home and can't pick up your mail, request to have your mail held.
  • Inspect your monthly/periodic account statements and credit card bills. Immediately report anything that looks suspicious, such as a missing payment or an unauthorized transaction, to the financial institution.
  • Contact the financial institution if your statement or bill doesn't arrive on time.

Monitor your credit

  • Order your credit report from the three national credit reporting agencies every year (see below).
  • Check your credit reports for accuracy.
  • Make sure that you recognize all the accounts listed.
  • Review who has requested copies of your report. Identity thieves have been known to request credit reports posing as a landlord, employer or someone else with a legal right to the information.
  • If your credit reports are not accurate, contact the credit reporting agency immediately.

Getting help if you need it

If you think you've been the victim of identity theft or attempted identity theft, do the following:

  • Contact all your financial institutions and credit card issuers immediately.
    • Change your PINs and passwords.
    • Arrange for stop payments on missing checks, if applicable.
    • Talk with them about the appropriate action to take.
  • File a police report.
  • Call the Federal Trade Commission at 877-438-4338 or contact them at ftc.gov.
  • Contact the fraud units of the national credit reporting agencies.
  • Keep a record of phone calls you've made and actions you've taken.


  • To send an email that contains confidential information, please visit the Secure Message Center where there are additional instructions about whether to use Secure Email or Online Banking messaging.