Privacy and Security

Trust is the cornerstone of every relationship at Bank of Houston. That’s why we make the privacy and security of your information our top priority. To learn more about how we keep your private information safe, review our Privacy Disclosure.

Internet Security

Our Online Banking system utilizes a comprehensive security strategy to protect accounts and transactions conducted over the Internet. In addition to a security login, we use SSL (secure socket layer) encryption technology for everything done in the system. Your browser automatically activates this technology when it connects to our Online Banking System and will support 128-bit key lengths.

Whenever SSL is securing your communications, the browser typically indicates the “secure session” by changing a small padlock icon at the bottom of the screen from open to locked. This means your communications will be encrypted as they are carried over the Internet, and that no unauthorized party can read the information as it is being transmitted.

Additionally, our servers have been certified by a Certificate Authority to assure you that you are connected to the appropriately identified Bank of Houston servers.

Bank of Houston also recommends that our customers follow the best practices for information security provided in the National Institute of Standards and Technology U.S. Department of Commerce document NISTIR 7621. Small Business Information Security

Identity Theft

Avoid ID Theft
Identity theft is a growing problem, but there are certain things you can do to help keep your personal information safe. Below are different ways to deter, detect and defend yourself against ID theft.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) wants you to fight back against identity theft. So please visit their website at www.ftc.gov/idtheft for more information.

Deter

Identity theft is a serious crime. It occurs when your personal information is stolen and used without your knowledge to commit fraud or other crimes. Identity theft can cost you time and money, possibly even destroy your credit and ruin your good name.

To help deter identity thieves and safeguard your information, keep the following tips in minds.

  • Shred financial documents and paperwork before you discard them.
  • Protect your Social Security number (SSN). Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write your SSN on a check. Always ask to use another form of ID and only give your SSN out if absolutely necessary.
  • Don’t give out personal information over the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you know who you are dealing with.
  • Never click on links sent in unsolicited e-mail; instead, type in a Web address you know. Use firewalls, anti-spyware and anti-virus software to protect your home computer; and always keep them up-to-date. Visit www.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 to your house.

Detect

Detect suspicious activity by routinely monitoring your financial accounts and billing statements.

Be alert to signs that require immediate attention, such as:

  • Bills that do not arrive as expected
  • Unexpected credit cards or account statements
  • Denials of credit for no apparent reason
  • Calls or letters about purchases you did not make

Inspect your credit report
Credit reports contain information about you, including what accounts you have and your bill payment history.

The law requires the major nationwide consumer reporting companies—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—to give you a free copy of your credit report each year 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 reports each year. Or write: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.

Inspect your financial statements
Review financial accounts and billing statements regularly. Pay special attention to any charges you suspect that you did not make.

Defend

As soon as you suspect that you may be a victim of identity theft, defend yourself immediately.

Place a “Fraud Alert” on your credit reports and review them 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 alerts on your accounts.

  • Equifax: 1.800.525.6285
  • Experian: 1.800.EXPERIAN (397.3742)
  • TransUnion: 1.800.680.7289

Placing a fraud alert on your credit report entitles you to free copies. Look for inquiries from companies you haven’t contacted, accounts you didn’t open and debts on your accounts that you can’t explain.

Close accounts
Close any accounts that have been tampered with or established fraudulently.

  • Call the security or fraud departments of each company where an account was opened or charged without your okay. Follow up in writing, with copies of supporting documents.
  • Use the ID Theft Affidavit at ftc.gov/idtheft to support your written statement.
  • Ask for verification that the disputed account has been closed and the fraudulent debts discharged.
  • 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 with creditors who want proof of the crime.

Report theft to the Federal Trade Commission
Your report helps law enforcement officials across the country in their investigations.

There are three ways to report identity theft:

  • Report online: www.ftc.gov/idtheft
  • Report by phone: 1.877.ID.THEFT (438.4338) or TTY, 1.866.653.4261
  • Report by mail: Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20580

Common ways id theft happens

Skilled identity thieves use a variety of methods to steal your personal information, including:

  • Dumpster Diving. Rummaging through trash looking for bills or other paper with your personal information on it.
  • Skimming. Stealing credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card.
  • Phishing. Pretending to be financial institutions or companies by sending spam or pop-up messages to get you to reveal personal information.
  • Changing Your Address. Diverting your billing statements to another location by completing a “change of address” form.
  • “Old-Fashioned” Stealing. Stealing wallets and purses; mail (including bank and credit card statements); pre-approved credit offers; and new checks or tax information. Thieves may also steal personnel records from employers or bribe employees who have access to private information.

More information

To learn more about identity theft and how to deter, detect and defend against it, visit www.ftc.gov/idtheft.

You may also request copies of identity theft resources by writing to:

Consumer Response Center
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, H-130
Washington, DC 20580