Fraud Protection and Prevention
Customers entrust confidential information to American National, and we give our highest level of attention to the protection of that information. We continuously audit our safety and security systems to ensure your account and personal information are protected. However, most fraud and identity theft occurs in places in and around your home—your email inbox, mail box, outdoor trash receptacles, and even your phone conversations. Thieves use a variety of methods to steal your personal information, including:
- Phishing. They pretend to be financial institutions, companies or government agencies, and send email or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal information.
- Dumpster Diving. They rummage through trash looking for bills or other papers that contain your personal information.
- Skimming. They steal credit/debit card numbers by using a special device when you use your card at an ATM or other terminal.
- Hacking. They hack into your email or other online accounts to access personal information, or hack into a company's database to access its records. Use firewalls, anti-spyware and anti-virus software to protect your home computer, and keep them up-to-date. If you use peer-to-peer file sharing, check the settings to make sure you’re not sharing other sensitive private files. Visit OnGuardOnline.gov for more information.
- “Old-Fashioned” Stealing. They steal wallets and purses; mail, including bank and credit card statements; pre-approved credit offers; and new checks or tax information. They steal personnel records from their employers, or bribe employees who have access.
American National will never send you an email or text message, or call you via phone to ask for confidential information such as your:
- Personal identification number (PIN)
- Bank account number
- Online Banking login or password
- Social Security Number (SSN)
If you receive such an email, text, or phone call alleging to be from American National or any other financial institution—do NOT respond. When you call American National, we may ask you to verify certain information, but only if you have called us.
Help prevent account fraud and identity theft by following these tips from the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Protection Division:
Deter identity thieves by safeguarding your information.
- Shred financial documents and paperwork with personal information before you discard them.
- Protect your Social Security number. Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write your Social Security number on a check. Give it out only if absolutely necessary or ask to use another identifier.
- Don’t give out personal information on the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you know with whom you are dealing. Avoid disclosing personal financial information when using public wireless connections.
- Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails; instead, type in a web address you know. Use firewalls, anti-spyware and anti-virus software to protect your home computer, and keep them up-to-date. If you use peer-to-peer file sharing, check the settings to make sure you’re not sharing other sensitive private files. Visit OnGuardOnline.gov for more information.
- Don’t use an obvious password like your birth date, your mother’s maiden name or the last four digits of your Social Security number.
- Keep your personal information in a secure place at home, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help, or are having work done by outside contractors in your house.
Detect suspicious activity by routinely monitoring your financial accounts and billing statements.
Stay alert for signs that require immediate attention:
- Bills that do not arrive as anticipated
- Unexpected credit cards or account statements
- Denials of credit for no apparent reason
- Calls or letters about purchases you did not make
- Charges on your financial statements that you don’t recognize
- Your bank account. Monitor account transaction daily through Online Banking
- Your credit report. Credit reports contain information about you, including what accounts you have and your bill paying history.
- The law requires the major nationwide credit reporting companies—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—to give you a free copy of your credit report every 12 months if you ask for it.
- Visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1-877-322-8228, a service created by these three companies, to order your free credit report. You also can write to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
- If you see accounts or addresses you don’t recognize or information that is inaccurate, contact the credit reporting company and the information provider. To find out how to correct errors on your credit report, visit ftc.gov/idtheft
Defend against account fraud and identity theft as soon as you suspect it.
- If you suspect bank account fraud, call American National immediately at 1-800-240-8190 or call your local branch.
- If you suspect identity theft, place a “Fraud Alert” on your credit reports, and review the reports carefully. The alert tells creditors to follow certain procedures before they open new accounts in your name or make changes to your existing accounts. The three nationwide consumer reporting companies have toll-free numbers for placing an initial 90-day fraud alert, and a call to one company is sufficient. Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742); TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; and, Equifax: 1-800-525-6285.
- Placing a fraud alert entitles you to free copies of your credit reports. Look for inquiries from companies you haven’t contacted, accounts you didn’t open and debts on your accounts you can’t explain.
- Contact the security or fraud departments of each company where an account was opened or charged without your okay. Then, follow up in writing, with copies of supporting documents and use the ID Theft Affidavit at ftc.gov/idtheft to support your written statement. Lastly, ask for verification that the disputed account has been dealt with, the fraudulent debts discharged, and keep copies of documents and records of your conversations about the theft.
- File a police report. File a report with law enforcement officials to help you correct your credit report and deal with creditors who may want proof of the crime.
- Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Your report helps law enforcement officials across the country in their investigations. To make a report online, visit ftc.gov/idtheft; to make a report by phone, call 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338) or TTY, 1-866-653-4261; and to make a report by mail, send notice to Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580.