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What's Happening
Identity Theft



Free Credit Reports
Order your FREE Credit Reports from each
of the three Credit Reporting Agencies
for the new year 2006.   Click here  for information
on how to do so!


How To Protect

if you need to report identity theft...
email us at:

 There is an "ID Theft Affidavit" ...
that you will need to download and complete. 


NOTE:  After downloading the Affidavit--to return to
Mountain Valley Bank's web page...

"How To Protect Your Identity"
-- just click on the
Red "x" top right of the Affidavit form.
(click here to download the)  
             "ID Theft Affidavit."

To print this Affidavit�
the printable version requires Adobe Acrobat Reader
(available to download at no cost from Adobe) to view and print.

download now

Otherwise... read below to learn:
How To Protect Your Identity!

Protect yourself ... by becoming informed about fraud and identity theft.
Fraudulent email (also called phishing, spoofing or imposter email) and
fraudulent Web sites are used to trick people into providing personal
information that can be used for identity theft.

To help protect you against ID Theft ...
as well as other Internet fraud,
Mountain Valley Bank has developed a Checklist: Ten tips for accessing
your accounts safely online. We recommend that you follow each of these
steps to ensure you are taking the necessary safety precautions to protect
your account information.


                         Learn more about
              fraud and identity theft.

What is identity theft?
Ten Tips for accessing your accounts safely online.
How to recognize fraudulent email.
What you can do about phishing schemes.
How to avoid e-mail viruses and other malicious programs.
Some recent examples of email and internet fraud.
How to protect your identity offline.
Some things you can do if you are a victim of identity theft.

What is identity theft?
Identity thieves want your personal information so they can:

 * Open a new credit card account, using your name, date
       of birth, and Social Security Number.
    * Call your credit card issuer, pretending to be you,
       change the mailing address on your account, and then
       run charges up on your account.
    * Open a bank account in your name and write bad
       checks on that account.

  Other ways are�
� �dumpster diving�
          � �skimming�
          � �double swipe�
          � �wallets and purses stolen�
          � �personal information from your home�
          � �pretexting�
          � �phishing�
          � �pharming�
          � �counterfeit cashiers checks�
          � �counterfeit money orders�

An Example (true story):
An attorney has his wallet stolen. Within a week, the thieve(s)
ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a
VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway
computer, received a PIN number from the Department of Motor
Vehicles to change his driving record info online. By the time the
attorney discovered this by placing a fraud alert through the credit
reporting bureaus (almost two weeks after the theft), all the damage
had been done. There were records of all the credit checks initiated
by the thieves� purchases, none of which the attorney knew about
before placing the alert. Since then, no additional damage has been
done, and the thieves threw away his wallet (someone turned it is).
It seemed to have stopped them dead in their tracks by placing the
fraud alerts.

10 Tips... for accessing your accounts
safely online.

     (To The Top)
Read a newspaper or watch the evening news, and chances are there
will be something about identity theft or other types of Internet fraud. As
Internet usage has grown, so has Internet-related crime, especially fraud.
Since this will continue to be a growing issue of concern for consumers
and the financial services industry alike, Mountain Valley Bank is taking
aggressive steps to protect your information online, using sophisticated
detection and prevention systems. We�ve also developed a checklist to
help you protect yourself. We recommend that you implement each of
these safety precautions to protect your account information.

     1. Update your online banking password.
This is perhaps the easiest precaution! Although changing your password
is not required, we strongly recommend that you change it on a regular
basis. This will help keep your accounts secure should someone obtain
your user ID and password. Choose passwords that are not obvious and
that would be difficult to guess. To strengthen security, choose a password
consisting of both alphabetic and numeric characters. And remember �
never share your password with anyone else.

          To change your password...
          Log in to Online NetBanking.
          Select the "Options" Tab on blue line at top.
          Select "Personal Options--Change Password".
          Follow the remaining instructions to
            change your password.

   2. Verify your last login date.
You can keep your Online Banking accounts more secure every time you
access them by verifying your previous login date. Your login information
appears on the bottom left-hand side of the Account Listing page under
"Customer Summary Information." If you feel that the information may be
inaccurate, please call us immediately at 1-888-632-7004. Ask for Barb
Gorr, Manager of NetBanking, Monday thru Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm,
or report it to a Personal Banker at any Mountain Valley Bank location you
do your banking.

   3. Don�t open links in emails.
Hackers frequently try to get information from individuals by sending emails
asking for verification of account information. These deceptive emails may
say that your bank account has been closed due to fraudulent activity or that
it needs to be verified. If you ever receive an email of this nature, do not open
the attached files, and do not provide any personal information. Mountain
Valley Bank will never solicit your personal or account information through
If you receive any email from Mountain Valley Bank or from anyone else �
requesting personal or account information, please treat it as fraudulent and
forward it to us at  Or, you can call us at
Toll Free1-888-632-7004 or at any local Mountain Valley Bank that you do
business with. Our Personal Bankers are available weekdays, 8:00 a.m. to
5:00 p.m. MST.

   4. Install a firewall.
A firewall is your computer�s first line of defense, because it protects your
machine from hackers and intruders. A firewall is a software program that
guards the entrance to your private network and keeps out unauthorized or
unwanted traffic. It acts as a buffer between your computer and the outside
world, allowing you to determine what traffic may access your computer.
Purchase a firewall program from any local computer store.  Most firewall
programs allow you to set the level of security protection that you desire. A
good rule of thumb is to start with the highest protection setting and then
relax the settings as necessary. The price of a firewall program starts at
about $40 and includes features such as email attachment protection,
advertisement blocking, pop-up-window protection and other automatic
  5. Use anti-virus software.
Anti-virus software protects your computer against viruses � unauthorized
computer codes that attach to a program or portions of a computer system.
Viruses reproduce and spread from one computer to another, destroying
stored information and interrupting operations. An anti-virus program detects
and destroys these unauthorized codes. With new viruses emerging daily,
you need to have your anti-virus program updated regularly. Software manu-
facturers often sell their anti-virus programs with their firewall as a package,
since they�re natural complements.

   6. Use anti-spyware software.
Spyware is any software program that aids in gathering information
electronically about people or organizations without their knowledge or
consent. It then relays that information to an unauthorized third party. Users
most often open the door to spyware unknowingly by downloading free
software indiscriminately or by clicking on pop-ups or dialogue boxes.

Some kinds of spyware will redirect your browser to a new home page
(not of your choosing). Others generate multiple pop-up ads that can make
web surfing a chore. Another type of spyware known as a �keystroke logger�
can cause the most damage, because this type of program records a copy
of each character you type (such as user names and passwords to secure
web sites) and sends that information to an unauthorized party who can
steal your personal information. Among the anti-spyware programs on the
market today, some are free, but most cost about $25.

   7. Read your user licensing agreements.
It�s possible for you to inadvertently agree to accept spyware with a program
you're downloading. So be sure to thoroughly read any agreement included
with applications or software you�re about to download. Complete the down-
load only if you recognize the additional programs included and you know
they are safe. Always deal with reliable sources � products or companies
you know or that are recommended by others you trust.

   8. Examine browser security settings.
Make sure the security settings in your browser (Internet Explorer, for
example) are set to provide an appropriate level of protection. Browser-
based attacks can occur when a user visits a web page containing hidden
code intended to sabotage a computer or compromise one�s privacy. Use
the "Help" feature of your Internet browser program to familiarize yourself
with the security features available for your particular browser, or visit the
browser manufacturer�s web site for more information.
     To edit your security settings for Internet Explorer:
           Click on Tools on the menu bar.
           Then click on Internet Options on the pull-down menu.
           Last, click on Security.

   9. Take advantage of security updates.
Your Internet service provider (AOL, for example) and your Internet browser
software manufacturer (for example, Microsoft) periodically issue security
updates. These updates are often created to patch holes that allow viruses
to get through. Many reputable software manufacturers dedicate sections of
their web sites to security updates of this kind. If you don't have or don�t use
auto-update mechanisms in your software, it�s a good idea to visit the
manufacturers� websites regularly to make sure you have the latest fixes.

   10. Use a secured computer at all times!
Use a computer that is secured at all times, even when you�re traveling. 
Even if you follow all the steps outlined here for your home computer, none
of it will matter if you use a different computer that isn�t secured. Be especially aware of this if you are traveling, for instance, or whenever you�re using a work or
personal computer that you typically don�t use. If you must use a computer
other than your own, first make sure that it has all of the items on this checklist
installed and updated on its system.

For the same reasons, it is also a good rule of thumb to avoid letting
unfamiliar people have access to your computer. And, whenever you�re not
using the Internet, we recommend disconnecting your Internet access.

How to recognize fraudulent email.
     (To The Top)
Be wary of any seemingly legitimate looking email (usually with a colored
official looking logo) request for account information, asking you to verify or
reconfirm confidential personal information such as account numbers, Social
Security Numbers, passwords or other sensitive information.

It�s often hard to detect a fraudulent email. That�s because the email address
of the sender often seems genuine (such as ""), as
do the design and graphics. But there are clear signs to be aware of. For
example, fraudulent emails often try to extract personal information from you
in one of two ways:
     1. By luring you into providing it on the spot (e.g., by
          replying to the email), or
     2. Including links to a Web site that tries to get you to
         disclose personal data

Like the email, a fraudulent Web site is designed to trick you into believing
it belongs to a company you know by using its brands as domain names
and/or its logo graphics. The ultimate goal of this fraud is to use your
information to gain unauthorized access to your bank or financial accounts
or to engage in other illegal acts.

Do not...
reply to any email requesting your personal information, or
one that sends you personal information and asks you to update or confirm
it. If you receive an email you are suspicious of, contact the bank, credit card
company or any other company through an address or telephone number
you know
to be genuine. Mountain Valley Bank will never send you any email
that requests your account information or asks you to verify a statement.

If you suspect you have provided confidential account or personal information
to a fraudulent Web site, change your password immediately, monitor your
account activity frequently and report any suspicious activity to the company.

What you can do about phishing schemes?
     (To The Top)
The Department of Justice recommends following three simple rules when
you see emails or Web sites that may be part of a phishing scheme: Stop,
Look, and Call.

   1. Stop.
Phishers typically include upsetting or exciting (but false)
statements in their emails with one purpose in mind. They want people to
react immediately to that false information, by clicking on the link and
inputting the requested data before they take time to think through what they
are doing. Resist that impulse to click immediately. No matter how upsetting
or exciting the statements in the email may be, there is always enough time
to check out the information more closely.

   2. Look.
Look more closely at the claims made in the email, think about
whether those claims make sense, and be highly suspicious if the email asks
for numerous items of your personal information such as account numbers,
usernames, or passwords.

      For example:
If the email indicates that it comes from a bank or other financial
institution where you have a bank or credit card account, but tells you that
you have to enter your account information again, that makes no sense.
Legitimate banks and financial institutions already have their customers'
account numbers in their records. Even if the email says a customer's
account is being terminated, the real bank or financial institution will still
have that customer's account number and identifying information.

If the email says that you have won a prize or are entitled to receive
some special "deal," but asks for financial or personal data, there is good
reason to be highly suspicious. Legitimate companies that want to give you
a real prize, don�t ask you for extensive amounts of personal and financial
information before you're entitled to receive it.

   3. Call.
If the email or Web site purports to be from a legitimate company
or financial institution, call that company directly and ask whether the email
or Web site is really from that company. To be sure that you are contacting
the real company or institution where you have accounts: credit card
accountholders, call the toll-free customer numbers on the backs of your
cards; and bank customers can call the telephone numbers on your bank

How to avoid viruses and other
malicious programs.

     (To The Top)
If you receive a suspicious email, don�t open it. Immediately delete both
the email and the attachment, as it may contain a virus or malicious program.
Do not open the attachment. If you do open an attachment containing a virus
or other malicious program, clean your system using anti-virus software and
change your Internet and system passwords. We encourage you to use and
maintain the most updated anti-virus software. Never open emails or
attachments that come from an unrecognized source.

Some recent examples�
of email and internet fraud.

     (To The Top)
"Closed account� hoaxes:
An email is sent purporting to be from a
financial institution or the FDIC, saying that the recipient�s account has been
closed or frozen, and requesting that they click on a link provided in the email. The link takes them to an imposter Web site, which requests that they provide
information about their account. The fake FDIC emails attempted to frighten
the recipient by saying falsely that the Director of the Department of
Homeland Security has advised the FDIC to suspend all deposit insurance
on the email recipient's bank account due to violations of the USA Patriot Act.

�Accounting department� hoax:
Email has been sent to individuals at
various companies, purportedly from that company�s accounting department.
The message asks the recipient to open an attachment to read an Internet
Billing Notice. The attachment contains a virus, which then sends itself to
everyone in the recipient�s email contact list.

�Internet auction� hoaxes:
People selling items on eBay and other Internet
auction sites have been given counterfeit checks in payment for an item. The
buyer sends the seller a counterfeit check for more than the item�s selling
price and requests that the seller send the difference back to the buyer
through Western Union or some other means. When selling an item on the
Internet, only accept payment for the actual amount of the item that you are
selling. If you suspect the payment item might not be good, call the bank from
which it is drawn to verify the form of payment before shipping the item.

How to protect your identity offline.
     (To The Top)

� Dumpster Diving: 
Dispose of printed account statements, ATM receipts,
store and restaurant receipts and other documents containing your account
information in a secure location. Shred papers with account or other personal
information. Many identity thieves have obtained the information they needed
by going through the victim�s trash, which is dumpster diving.

� Shredder:
Do not leave statements or other documents with your personal
information lying around where others can see them. Shred them with a
�cross-cut� shredder.

� Minimize the amount of personal identifying information you carry.
Reduce the risk of a criminal stealing this information. Don�t carry extra credit
cards, your Social Security card, extra gas cards, store charge cards,
insurance cards, birth certificate or passport.

As soon as you receive your credit card, do not sign the back. Instead, put

� If you have been taken by identity theft�
you should cancel your credit
cards, bank accounts immediately. But the key is having the toll free numbers
handy so you know whom to call. Make a list of all your credit cards, loans,
account numbers, expiration dates and customer service phone number to
call in a safe place in case of theft or loss to cancel. Make that list TODAY by
taking everything out of your billfold and start listing, or photocopy the
information on both sides!

give information over the phone for credit card numbers or loan
account numbers unless you initiated the call.

� Check your credit report...
for accuracy at least once a year.  The law
now allows consumers to check their credit one time a year at each of the
three national credit reporting agencies (listed below).

� Take care when using ATM machines...
to shield the keyboard from
view when you enter your PIN. Someone could look over your shoulder, either
take a picture with a cell phone, or memorize your PIN, and use it to gain
access to your information later.

� Be aware of who is listening...
when you give personal information over
the phone, whether at your desk at work, or in public on a pay phone or cell

                                                                 To The Top

Some things you can do if you are a victim
of identity theft.  
      (To The Top)

1.   Contact one of the major credit reporting bureaus to
          report a fraud:

          Equifax..........................1-800-525-6285 or
                      write: POB 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
          Experian........................1-888-397-3742 or
                      write: POB 949, Allen, TX 75013-0949
          TransUnion.....................1-800-680-7289 or
                      write: Fraud Victim Assistance Division,
                                  POB 6790, Fullerton, CA 92634

If you contact one of these companies, they will pass on your information to
the other two companies, saving you time. Each company will follow a
standardized three-step process:

   (a)   to post a security alert on the credit file;
   (b)  opt you out of pre-approved offers of credit or
          insurance;  and
   (c)  mail you a copy of your file. Ask that creditors should
         get your permission before opening any new accounts
         in your name. In a few months� order new copies of
         your reports to verify your corrections, changes and
         any new fraudulent activity.

    Here is what the process will look like in more detail
    once you make the call:

� The company receiving the initial call will notify you
       of the ID fraud initiative and will electronically notify the
       other two credit reporting companies of the crime.

  � A fraud alert will be put on your credit report at all three
       nationwide credit reporting companies within 24 hours.

     � You will be opted out of all pre-approved offers of credit
       and insurance for two years.

  � Your request for a copy of your credit report will be
        handled in no more than three business days. Each of
        the three national credit reporting companies will work
        with you to verify the information in their respective
        reports and to delete any fraudulent data. You must file
        a police report with your local police department, or 
        where the theft took place. The Consumer Data Industry
        Association's national credit reporting company
        members will voluntarily expedite services for you by
        immediately deleting fraudulent data without the usual
        reinvestigation procedure.

     � The fraud alert will be displayed by each national credit
        reporting agency to all lenders or other users that
        access the reports in the future.

2. Bank accounts, credit or ATM cards & checks: 
If you have reason
to believe that a thief has accessed your bank account or credit card, close
the accounts immediately.
Open a new account, and insist on password-
only access. Avoid the same information and numbers when you create a
new PIN. If an ATM card has been lost, stolen or otherwise compromised,
cancel the card and get another with a new PIN. If checks have been stolen
or misused, call and issue a stop payment.

3. Police Report:
Report the crime to your local police and sheriff�s
departments. Even if the police can�t catch the identity thief, having a police
report can help you in clearing up your credit records later on. Get a copy
of your police report.
You may need to provide a copy of the police report
to the creditors.

4. File a complaint with the FTC
                 (Federal Trade Commission) at
        or call their
                 toll-free hotline 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338).

5. ID Theft Affidavit:
If required, fill out an (click here to get the  affidavit above)  
"D Theft Affidavit ".  Banks, credit reporting agencies and other credit
grantors may require you to complete an ID Affidavit or other forms. Follow
the specific instructions on how to complete it.

6. Mail:
Notify your local Postal Inspector of a fraudulent change of address.
Notify your local Postal Inspector if you suspect an identity thief has filed a
change of your address with the post office or has used the mail to commit
credit or bank fraud. (Call your local Postmaster to obtain the phone number).
Find out where fraudulent credit cards were sent. Notify the local Postmaster
for that address to forward all mail in your name to your own address. To be
safe.. deposit outgoing mail in local post office collection boxes, rather than
in an unsecured mailbox. Promptly remove mail. Never use mail box red
This just tells the thief�here are some checks to pick up! Stop mail
when vacationing.

7. Phone:
Contact your phone service provider if a thief has established
new phone or wireless service in your name and is making unauthorized calls. Immediately cancel the account and calling card.

8. SS#:
Get in touch with the Social Security Administration if it appears
that someone is using your SS#. Verify accuracy of your reported earnings
and that your name is reported correctly. If you suspect that your name or
SS# is being used by a thief to get a driver�s license, report it to your Depart-
ment of Motor Vehicles.

Who has the right to ask for your Social Security number? Many may
ask for it�few can demand it. Only four entities can demand it.
    (1) Government Agencies;
    (2) Financial Institutions and some insurance (for tax purposes;
Employers; and
    (4) Insurance Agencies.

need to decide who you want to do business with. You can say no to
any others who ask for it. Ask why they need it and how they will safeguard it.

9. Contacting Creditors:
For any accounts that have been tampered with
or opened fraudulently�ask to speak with someone in the security or fraud
department and follow up in writing. Following up with a letter� is one of
the procedures spelled out in the Fair Credit Billing Act for resolving errors
on credit billing statements, including charges that you have not made.

10.  Consider Banking Precautions:
Direct Deposit for paychecks, social
          security checks and any other type of direct deposits.
          Checks �
next time you order checks put only your initials
               (instead of first and last name. If someone takes your
               checkbook, they will not know how you sign your checks
               with just your initials or your first name, but the bank will
               know how you sign your checks. Put your work phone #
               on your checks instead of your home phone.  If you have
               a PO Box, use that instead of your home address. If you
               do not have a PO Box, use your work address. Never
               have your SS# printed on your checks.
          Credit Cards �
limit the number you carry. Do not sign the
               back of your credit cards. Instead, put �PHOTO ID
          Payment of Credit Card Bill �
DO NOT put the complete
              account number on the �For� line. Instead, just put the last
              four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of
              the number, and anyone who might be handling your 
              check as it passes through all the check processing
              channels won�t have access to it.

     (To The Top)
For more information about identity theft, consult the following resources:

To opt out of receiving pre-screened credit card offers, call:
1-888-567-8688 or 1-888-5-OPTOUT

To opt out of marketing lists used for marketing and promotional
purposes, call:

Experian � 1-800-407-1088

To opt out of Direct Marketers for mail, e-mail marketing and/or
telemarketing solicitations from many national companies, write:

DMA Mail Preference Service
POB 9008
Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008

To avoid unwanted phone calls from national marketers, write:
DMA Telephone Preference Service
  (Send name, address & telephone number)
POB 9014
Farmingdale, NY 11735-9014

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

Toll-free hotline 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338)

By mail:
Identity Theft Clearinghouse
                Federal Trade Commission
                600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
                Washington, DC 20580

To order your free credit report from
Experian -
Equifax - TransUnion...

                    Request your Credit Report Online.  You can SEE and
                    PRINT your report.  You will go through a simple
                    verification process.  It's quick, easy and secure.

  Request your credit reports by phone.  You will go
                     through a simple verification process over the phone.
                     Your reports will be mailed to you.

You can request your credit report by mail by filling out
                     the request form and mail it to:

                     Annual Credit Report Request Service
                     P.O. Box 105281
                     Atlanta, GA  30348-5281

           Click here... to download the form for mailing.
             You must have an Adobe viewer to download
             the request form.
 Download the free Adobe viewer.

Adobe Systems, Inc.

Should you have any questions or need to report that you have
been taken by identity theft, call a Personal Banker where you
normally do your banking at any... Mountain Valley Bank, or email
us at:

Thank you!
                                      Pam Simpson
                                      Director of Operations
                                      Mountain Valley Bank

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