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Dangers that Reach Beyond the Flood

Tips on how to protect your family from identity thieves and scammers after a natural disaster.

Dangers that Reach Beyond the Flood

In the aftermath of the recent catastrophic flooding in Nebraska, those affected face a long challenging recovery.  In times like these, victims feel heavy emotional stress. As the flood waters subside, they now have to deal with the aftermath, the beginning of restorations. Sadly at this very vulnerable time in their lives there is another man-made threat that they must face: identity thieves and scammers.

 Cyber Scout, our partner in identity protection services, offers the following tips as ways that flood victims can guard against identity thieves and scams:

  1. Protect important information and documents. Whether you’re in a shelter, staying with friends or crashing on your family’s couch, never let these items leave your sight. They are the key to your identity—and you will need this information to prove who you are.
  2.  Be proactive and check your credit report. Call 1-877-322-8228 or visit www.annualcreditreport.com. Consider adding an initial security alert to your credit report by visiting www.experian.com/fraud/center.html or by calling 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742).
  1. Ask the post office to hold your mail until you return home. This will keep thieves from finding sensitive materials that are left in your mailbox.
  2. Watch out for scams. Disasters attract good Samaritans, but they also attract criminals looking to take advantage of people in a time of distress. Here are just a few scams to watch out for:
    1. Photos with malware. Thieves count on people to be hungry for news, so they infect images and video with malware. Stick with legitimate sites, such as your local news station or newspaper for the latest information. Be wary of links on Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites.
    2. Fake charitable organizations. Watch out for fake charitable organizations that have names similar to reputable institutions. These sites often end in .com (instead of the typical .org for nonprofits). They’re designed to fool you into thinking you’re donating to a good cause when, in reality, you’re donating your money and personal and financial information to thieves.
    3. Illegitimate websites. Double check the legitimacy of the site you’re clicking to from your email, Facebook or elsewhere. When in doubt, check your local American Red Cross or the National FEMA site to find local help.
    4. Insurance scams. If you’ve experienced damage to any of your personal property, call your insurance company first. Don’t fall for fly-by-night “professionals” who make false guarantees about a claims check, damage appraisal, inspection or water quality testing.

 NebraskaLand Bank is proud to provide our customers and their family members with identity protection services provided by Cyber Scout at no additional cost.  If you would like more information on identity theft protection, or if you believe that you may be a victim of identity theft, please call us at 308-534-2100, we will put you in touch with a fraud specialist at Cyber Scout’s Resource Center. To learn more about Identity Theft Protection visit our Online Security Center.

Take immediate action. If you discover that you are missing any identification, financial instruments, or any items that can be used to commit fraud or harm your identity do not hesitate to report it. The longer you wait the more damage that can be done by criminals and identity thieves.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.