Fifth Third Bank

Identity Theft

You lose your wallet or purse or it gets stolen. Your driver's license and social security card are in it.   The thief now has enough information to assume your identity.   The thief has successfully opened up new credit cards in your name and is on a shopping spree.

Your trust in Fifth Third is important to us – and we want to help you guard against disclosure of your personal information that could lead to identity theft.

Fifth Third does not contact customers via text, e-mail, telephone or mail to request or verify security information about passwords or personal identification numbers (PINs). For your protection and privacy, Fifth Third representatives will ask for certain information to verify your identity.

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft (ID theft) occurs when someone assumes another person's personal identifying information (e.g. a name, social security number or date of birth) with the intent of committing fraud. Identity theft is often characterized as the largest growing crime in America. Experts estimate it takes fourteen months for an average victim to discover an identity theft and approximately two years to correct credit information.

Your identity can be stolen in a variety of ways:

  • Loss or theft of your wallet, purse, or credit card
  • Mail theft
  • Skimming information from the magnetic strip on credit or debit cards
  • "Dumpster diving" through the trash
  • "Shoulder surfing" -- looking over your shoulder when you are entering a PIN or password
  • Eavesdropping
  • Scam phone calls where a stranger asks for personal or financial information
  • Phishing [LINK TO new Phishing page] and spyware
  • Computer hacking

How Does Identity Theft Work?

Using one or more of the methods identified above, the fraudster obtains key pieces of personal information (e.g. Social Security number, driver's license number, home address, etc.) that is then used to open new bank accounts in your name, apply for mortgages, apply for credit, etc.

What Should You be Looking for?

  • Unauthorized charges that appear on your checking account or credit card statement
  • Accounts appearing on your credit report that you did not open
  • Calls from collection agencies asking why you have not paid a bill
  • Calls from financial institutions regarding accounts you did not open
  • Missing bills or credit card statements that don't arrive when they are supposed to
  • Unauthorized transfers or withdrawals on your bank statements

What Can You do to Try to Prevent Identity Theft?

There are several preventative steps you can take to reduce your risk of identity theft:

  • Do not carry your Social Security card in your wallet.
  • Don't have your Social Security number or driver's license number printed on your checks.
  • Beware of giving information to anyone over the telephone or the Internet unless you initiate the call.
  • Shred any documents with account numbers or other personal data you are throwing out, preferably with a cross-cut shredder.
  • Watch for regular monthly bills that aren't delivered. Stolen mail is one way to obtain sensitive information.
  • Don't leave mail for pickup at an unlocked mailbox.
  • Check your credit report at least once a year to identify accounts that may have been opened in your name without your knowledge. You can get a copy of your credit report at every twelve months.
  • Monitor your online financial accounts frequently.
  • Sign your new debit and credit cards promptly.
  • Do not keep PIN numbers attached to credit, debit or ATM cards.
  • If you are a member of a military service unit who is on active duty, consider placing an active duty alert on your credit report. The active duty alert can prevent pre-screened offers of credit and insurance being sent while you are away on active duty.

What Should You do if You Become a Victim of Identity Theft?

  • Contact the financial institution(s) or the companies where the information about you has been used and let them know you are a victim of identity theft.
  • Contact the credit reporting agencies to report the identity theft and request they place a fraud alert on your account. You only need to contact one. The first agency you contact will contact the other two. The credit reporting agencies are:
    • - 1-800-525-6285
    • - 1-888-397-3742
    • - 1-800-680-7289
  • Contact the police department to report the crime. Be sure to request a copy of the report.
  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission at to make a report and review their helpful hints for dealing with identity theft.
  • Keep good records of who you talk to, summaries of conversations and documentary evidence of the crime.

For additional information about account fraud and identity theft, visit the Identity Theft Resource Center at