Identity theft and fraud can be devastating, and these crimes have become more widespread over the past few years. If a criminal gains access to your personal or financial information, your accounts and good name can be ruined, along with your peace of mind.
Preventing identity theft and fraud starts with education and TexasBank is always here to support your financial education needs. Consider these online and banking security topics to help protect yourself and your loved ones.
What is identity fraud?
Fraud occurs when thieves create fake accounts and steal money using a real person’s name and information obtained without consent. Fraudsters are getting smarter, causing a higher percentage of victims to pay out of pocket and never see that money again. With the increase in e-commerce in 2022, there were over 2.4 million reports of fraud according to the Consumer Sentinel Network, costing victims as much as $8.8 billion.
What is identity theft?
Identity theft occurs when an unauthorized person attempts to use your bank account or personal information to open a new account, apply for a loan in your name or engage in another fraudulent act. Texas saw over 101,000 complaints of identity theft in 2023 according to the Insurance Information Institute. There are several types of identity theft:
Account takeover fraud has surged in recent years, particularly on mobile devices. This type of identity theft occurs when criminals use a victim’s personal information, often from a data breach, to change the victim’s account information or add themselves as a new user to the account.
With access to a victim’s bank account, they can take over credit card accounts, checking accounts, savings accounts or brokerage accounts. Criminals conceal their activities by updating the email addresses and contact information within the accounts, so no red flags are raised. Identity thieves mainly use the following information to commit account takeover fraud:
  • Bank account login information (username, password, PIN)
  • Social Security number
  • Email address
New account fraud occurs within three months of an account having been opened. Criminals open a new account in someone else’s name to commit fraud, such as depositing and withdrawing stolen or counterfeit checks. Often, the victim’s information is obtained from a data breach. Most people find out they’ve been a victim of this type of fraud when they review their credit reports and notice discrepancies, or if they receive a call from debt collectors.
Most credit card fraud is now happening online. This is known as card-not-present fraud and often occurs as a result of hacking, phishing or skimming when card information is given remotely. Criminals committing card-not-present fraud can access and use your card information without ever having the card in hand.
This is a growing threat, as the transition to embedded chip cards has made it more difficult to commit credit card fraud in person. Card-not-present fraud has become the most common type of fraud, and a 2022 Federal Trade Commission study even announced that nearly 13% of credit card fraud in 2022 consisted of criminals opening new accounts.

How to protect yourself from identity theft & fraud
Protecting your identity is essential to keeping your personal information safe. Be vigilant in safeguarding valuable information like your Social Security number, PIN, bank account logins and passwords. Also, be careful with paper documents—shred them or opt for paperless statements. Never share your sensitive information with anyone, and keep important documents locked up in a safe. Here are a few other tips to prevent identity theft:
  • If a “bank” calls you asking for payment information, do not provide it. Banks don’t initiate calls you didn’t ask for. Instead, hang up and call your bank to verify. If the call wasn’t from your bank, the bank can place a fraud alert on your account. TexasBank will never call you to ask for your information or ask for your password.
  • Review your credit report at least every year to identify new accounts you didn’t open and any suspicious transactions. You are legally entitled to one free credit report from each credit bureau every 12 months from
  • If you lose your credit or debit card, report it immediately. Also, check your accounts frequently for suspicious charges, and report them ASAP. A good way to keep tabs on your account is monitor transactions through online and mobile banking. TexasBank also offers text alerts so you can be notified every time your debit card is used.
  • Don’t choose the same password for multiple accounts. Select a hard-to-guess password with a combination of symbols, upper and lowercase letters and numbers. A good way to remember a password like this is to spell out and abbreviate a longer sentence, using the first letter of each word, a comma, a year and a special character. For example, “I love to eat cookies at night, 1983!” would result in a password of, “Iltecan,1983!” Using unique passwords helps promote online security and make it harder for hackers to target you.
If you suspect you’ve been the victim of fraud, please contact us immediately at one of our branches in Central Texas, West Texas and the Dallas-Fort Worth area.