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Protecting Yourself Against Identity Theft

How To Protect Yourself

While there is no guarantee against Identity Theft, there are things you can do to reduce the chance of becoming a victim.

1. In The Home

  • Do not give out personal information by telephone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you have initiated the contact or know with whom you're dealing.
  • When disposing of documents, shred all personal and/or financial information. You may want to purchase a personal shredder.
  • Be careful about revealing your Social Security Number (SSN) to others. Use other numbers for identification whenever possible.

2. On your mobile device

  • Treat any unsolicited alerts or messages with caution, even if they look like they’re from an institution you know.
  • Only install apps from your trusted app source (Apple App Store® or Google Play™).
  • Only enable Accessibility Services or Background Execution for apps that legitimately need it. These high-level permissions are rarely needed for legitimate applications and are common means for malicious apps to gain access you wouldn’t want them to have.
  • Password-protect your mobile device and keep it in a safe place. Change your password periodically.
  • Install anti-virus software on your device.

3. When Handling Mail

  • When sending mail, deposit it in a locked mailbox or at the Post Office.
  • Gather your mail promptly after it has been delivered.
  • If you're planning to be away from home and can't pick up your mail, call the U.S. Postal Service at 800-275-8777 to request to have your mail held or visit their website
  • Inspect your monthly/periodic account statements and credit card bills. Immediately report anything that looks suspicious.
  • Consider turning off your paper bank statements and receiving online statements.

4. Internet Safety Tips

  • Do not give out personal information over the Internet unless you have initiated the contact or know with whom you’re dealing.
  • Don't post pictures online.
  • Report suspicious and inappropriate things.

5. In The Workplace

  • Keep your purse or wallet in a safe place.
  • Keep forms with personal information in a locked drawer.
  • Protect your user names and passwords. Do not share this information with other individuals.

6. As You Go About Your Business

  • Limit the number of credit cards and other personal information that you carry in your wallet or purse.
  • Don't leave receipts containing your full account number at ATMs, bank counters, or unattended gasoline pumps.

7. When Using Credit Cards or Visa Debit Cards

  • Report lost or stolen cards immediately by calling Commerce Bank at 800-645-2103.
  • If you have requested a card and have not received the card in a timely manner, immediately notify the financial institution involved.
  • Closely monitor the expiration dates on your cards. Contact the issuer if the replacement card is not received prior to the expiration date on your card.
  • Sign all new cards upon receipt.
  • When using a password, avoid using the standard mother's maiden name, birth date, and the last four digits of your Social Security or phone number. Change your passwords often.
  • If you have a Personal Identification Number (PIN), keep your card and PIN separate at all times and never share your PIN with anyone.
  • Take advantage of online statements if available.
  • Cancel all inactive credit card accounts. Even though you do not use them, those accounts appear on your credit report, which can be used by thieves.

8. ATM Safety Tips

ATMs are great for withdrawing cash, checking your balance or transferring funds. But you should take extra steps to protect your safety while at an ATM.

Before you go to an ATM:
  • Put your ATM card in your pocket or hand so you don't have to hunt for it in your purse or backpack.
  • Take another person with you whenever possible.
  • Protect your Personal Identification Number (PIN) - don't write it down, and don't share it with anyone.
Choosing an ATM:
  • Use an ATM that is located in an open space with bright lights.
  • Be alert. If anything makes you uncomfortable, leave.
At the ATM:
  • Focus on what you're doing. Don't use a cell phone or do anything else that diverts your attention.
  • Stand directly in front of the machine, so that people nearby can't see what you're doing.
  • If you're in the car, make sure your windows are up and your doors are locked.
  • Take all receipts and transaction records with you.
  • If the machine retains your card, notify the branch as soon as possible.
If your Commerce ATM card is missing, immediately call the 24-hour Account Information Line and touch "3."

9. Monitor your accounts and Credit Bureau reports

  • For the most up-to-date account activity, check your accounts online.
  • Carefully review your accounts regularly in order to quickly identify fraudulent transactions.
  • Order your credit reports for free. In order to get a complete view of your reports, order a report every four months from a different agency.
  • Visit or call 877-322-8228 to request a free credit report, once every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
  • Equifax Experian
  • TransUnion

10. The Federal Trade Commission

  • Visit the Federal Trade Commission's Website:

11. Tips for Constructing Strong Passwords

  • Minimum length of 8 characters
  • Contains both upper- and lower-case letters
  • Includes one or more numbers
  • Includes special characters such as @ : ? ! ( ) $ \ /
  • Does not contain the same letter or number repeated 3 or more times consecutively, for example, AAA or 111
  • Is not the same as your Customer ID
  • Change your password every 60-90 days.