We value your trust, and we understand that handling your financial information with care is our most important responsibility. So, only those who provide the products or services you might need are authorized to have access to your financial information.
Our Security Policy: We operate under a detailed, rigorous information security policy designed to protect the security and confidentiality of your information. The Information Security Program is subject to ongoing regulatory oversight and examination.
How Does Browser Security Work?
Recent versions of most internet browsers support the encrypted transmission of on-line documents and the data you enter on a web page. This means that instead of sending readable text, both your browser and the website's secure server encode all text using a security key. That way, personal data sent to your browser or data you send back would be extremely difficult to decode in the unlikely event it was intercepted by an unauthorized party. The key used for encoding is a random number that is unique to your session at the secure website.
There are two grades of internet security: International-grade encryption uses a 40-bit random number negotiated between your browser and the web-server. This means that only one out of about 1,000,000,000,000 possible decoding keys can be used to decipher your data. Domestic-grade encryption uses a 128-bit key, so that the number of possible keys is vastly larger. This site uses the highest grade of encryption supported by your browser and your internet connection.
How Do I Know If Security Is Operating?
Your internet session is encrypted if your security-enabled browser is connected to a website using the Secure Hypertext Transport Protocol. URL strings beginning with "HTTPS://" instead of the usual "HTTP://" indicate that the secure protocol is in effect. Your browser may also tell you if security is operating. For example, Mozilla's Firefox will display the icon in the lower right corner of your screen in secure mode. Microsoft Internet Explorer shows an icon or the address bar may be a different color. Note that security may be operating without any visible indication if the web page you are viewing employs frames (see below).
If secure transmission is not in effect or only part of a frame-based page is secure, Firefox shows the "red-slashed lock" icon, and Explorer does not show the “lock” icon.
Most browsers can be set to give you a pop-up announcement when you enter or leave a secure web page. In Firefox, these settings are on the Security section when you select "Options" on the Tools menu. In IE, the setting is on the "Advanced" tab when you select "Options" on the View menu.
Secure Mode and Frame-Based Web Pages
Security may be operating without displaying any security icons (or Firefox may show the "red-slashed lock" icon) if only part of a frame-based page is employing security. You can verify the security of a page within a frame by opening it in a new browser window. Both IE and Firefox allow you to open a link in a new window by right-clicking on the link and selecting that option from the pop-up context menu. When a secure page is open in its own window, instead of being viewed within a frame, you can then see the security icons provided by your browser as well as the "https://" secure protocol prefix in the URL string.
What are Shared Secrets?
Shared secrets are the most common security method for accessing confidential information. A shared secret is something known to both the user and the holder of the confidential information. The most common shared secrets are a user ID and password. These shared secrets allow the user to log into the site of the holder of confidential information such as a financial institution or online merchant. Shared secrets form an integral part of user authentication in today's online environment.
Protecting Your Shared Secrets Protecting your shared secrets ensures that information accessed via those shared secrets is protected. You should never record your shared secrets electronically such as in documents or spreadsheets. In the event of a compromise of your computer hard drive, your shared secrets can be compromised as well placing all the data protected by those shared secrets at banks and merchants at risk. Likewise you should never store credit card numbers, expiration dates, bank account number, social security numbers, driver’s license number or other personal identifying information electronically on your computer for the same reason.
Your shared secrets should never be revealed in response to unsolicited e-mails. Criminals attempt to obtain individual’s personal identifying information and use that information illegally such as to open and/or use credit cards, obtain phone or utility accounts, obtain loans, work, open bank accounts and/or pass fraudulent checks using a technique called "phishing". Criminals may also attempt to obtain that information over the phone posing as a survey taker, telemarketer or other unsolicited caller ("pretexting").
Common Shared Secrets
To minimize the potential compromise of your shared secrets, you should avoid commonly used secrets such as names (yours, your spouse's, your children's, parents), common terms that appear in the dictionary (brute force attacks to crack passwords often use dictionaries in an attempt to randomly match the password), exclusively numbers (numbers range from 0 to 9 for each character where letters range from A to Z creating 26 potential variations or 52 if case sensitive). The best passwords are a combination of both letters and numbers where the letters do not spell words that could be found in a dictionary and the password is of sufficient length, 6 characters or preferably more, to make brute force attacks harder.
We suggest you do not use shared secrets across multiple domains (e.g. websites). If you use the same logon and password while shopping or surfing online as you use for your bank, if one of the online merchant sites is compromised, your user ID and password could then be used to access your bank information. Not all websites apply the same level of security to their database. The use of a single logon ID and password across multiple sites is only as secure as the least secure site.
What Do I Do If My Shared Secrets are Compromised?
Immediately change your shared secrets with all sites on which you have used the same shared secrets. Follow the instructions What Should I Do if I Become a Victim of Identity Theft?
Safeguarding Social Security Numbers
Tips to Protect Your Social Security Number
- Carry only necessary identification with you. Don't carry your Social Security card.
- Never provide your Social Security Number unless you have initiated the contact and have confirmed the business or person's identity
- Do not use your full or partial Social Security Number as a Personal Identification Number (PIN) or as a password
- If you must send your Social Security Number in an email ensure that the email is encrypted
- Only enter your Social Security Number into internet web sites when the site is secure and you know how the recipient will protect it
- Be cautious of your surroundings when disclosing your Social Security number, e.g. if a retail store requests your Social Security Number to look up your store credit card number
- Do not transmit your Social Security Number over the Internet unless you know that the connection is secure or you have encrypted the Social Security Number
- Be cautious when faxing your Social Security number, double check the fax number to ensure it is the correct number
- Do not record your Social Security Number on a check, traveler's check, gift certificate, money order or other negotiable instrument unless required by law
We Safeguard Your Social Security Number
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is when someone takes and uses your personal information (such as your name, social security or credit card number) without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. These criminals take the identities of others to open new credit cards; obtain phone or utility accounts, loans, or employment; open bank accounts; and/or pass fraudulent checks. According to the FBI, identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America.
How Does Identity Theft Occur?
Criminals gain access to personal information in many ways, but the most common method is to take it from the victim themselves. They steal mail (such as account statements, new checks and offers of credit) left in a mailbox, discarded in the trash or stored in an easy to get to location in your home or office. They take credit card and personal identification from your purse or wallet. Without knowing it, you may give the information directly to the criminal when you enter data at an unsecured or unknown website, or in response to a fraudulent request for account information through an unverified e-mail phishing. Imposters also ask for information from you by pretexting, tricking you into thinking it is someone you know, such as your bank.
What Happens to the Victim?
Identity thieves can damage the credit reputations and lives of victims. Studies have shown that victims spend an average of $808 and 205 hours resolving the identity theft. Time and money is spent clearing credit reports, reporting the theft to lenders and merchants, and filing complaints with law enforcement and governmental agencies. One of the menacing problems of identity theft is that it can happen more than once. Once the initial incident is resolved, the thief may begin using the victim’s identity again after waiting 6 months to a year and the cycle begins all over again.
How Can I Prevent Becoming a Victim?
Identity theft requires someone to gain access to your personal information. You can take steps to decrease the risk of someone stealing your information.
- Destroy papers you throw out. Shred or completely destroy any documents that contain personal information before discarding them in the trash. This includes information about you, your family, your home, or your accounts such as credit card solicitations, pre-approved credit offers, convenience checks contained in your statements, bills, cancelled checks, loan offerings, ATM or credit card receipts, insurance or tax information. Just as important are receipts from ATM’s or self-service devices such as gasoline pumps. Don’t just leave them behind or throw them in the trash. Criminals only need a few pieces of information about you to get credit in your name and access your existing accounts.
- Be careful who you give your information to over the telephone. Do not give out personal information such as your social security number, credit card or bank account numbers, or loan numbers over the phone to anyone who has called you without first confirming who you are speaking to, why they need the information and that they are who they claim to be.
- Guard your PINs. Never give out your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Memorize your PINs and never write them on your cards or carry them in your wallet.
- Report lost or stolen credit cards, checks or identification immediately.
- Store your personal information securely. Keep it where it is not easily available in the event of a burglary or other unauthorized access.
- Be cautious online. Be cautious when providing information at websites or with online merchants you do not have an existing relationship with. Always confirm that you are in a secure session before entering personal information online (see How Do I Know if Security is Operating?).
- Check your credit reports. Review your credit report regularly to identify any inquiries or accounts that you are not aware of and did not apply for.
- Protect your mailbox. If your residential mailbox is not secure, don’t put outgoing mail in the box and promptly pick up incoming mail or obtain a secure postal mailbox.
- Safeguard your checks. Never print your personal information such as a Social Security Number or driver’s license number on your checks.
- Contact the four major credit bureaus
- Ask them to send you a copy of your credit report and instruct them to place a fraud alert on your record. Once you receive the report, review it carefully. Contact any creditors listed that you did not apply for credit with and inform them that you have been a victim of identity theft. Instruct them to close the account, send you copies of the application and any transactions, and to promptly clear your credit record.
- Contact your local police or sheriff’s department and file an identity theft complaint.
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission or call their hotline at 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338).
Identity Theft Resources
What Are We Doing to Assist in the Battle Against Identity Theft?
Protecting the confidentiality and security of our customers’ personal information is a priority for our family of companies. You can find more information in our Privacy and Security Policy. We understand the implications identity theft can have and take very specific steps to reduce the chance that identity thieves can damage the credit reputations of our customers. As a result, we have put multiple safety measures in place to combat identity theft.
We train key employees in customer identification and authentication. Our training is designed to reduce the chance of an account or loan being opened in your name without your permission. We regularly update training to educate our employees on changing trends in identity theft.
We coordinate with local, state and federal law enforcement when identity theft cases arise.
Reporting Identity Theft
If you think your identity has been stolen, affecting any of your loans or accounts with any of the companies in our family, or resulting in the establishment of a fraudulent relationship with us, please contact us immediately. The Identity Theft Complaint provided below should be completed and then faxed or mailed back to us at the address shown below. The Complaint, which requires Adobe Acrobat Reader, can be obtained below:
Allied Mortgage Group
314 S. Franklin Street
Titusville, PA 16354
Our Computer Security Plan: Keeping your financial and personal information secure and confidential is one of our most important responsibilities. Your information remains secure because our computer systems are protected in the following ways:
- Computer anti-virus protection detects and prevents viruses from entering our computer network systems.
- Firewalls block unauthorized access by individuals or networks. Firewalls are one way we protect our computer systems that interact with the Internet.
- Secure transmissions ensure information remains confidential. We use encryption technology, such as Secure Socket Layer (SSL), to transmit information between you and us. This protects data in three key ways:
How the Scams Work
Fraudsters use a variety of tactics to find homeowners in distress. Some sift through public foreclosure notices in newspapers and on the internet or through public files at local government offices, and then send personalized letters to homeowners. Others take a broader approach through ads on the internet, on television or radio, or in newspapers; posters on telephone poles, median strips, and at bus stops; or flyers, business cards, or people at your front door. The scam artists use simple – but potentially deceptive – messages, like:
"Stop foreclosure now!"
"Get a loan modification!"
"Over 90% of our customers get results."
"We have special relationships with banks that can speed up the approval process."
"100% Money Back Guarantee."
"Keep Your Home. We know your home is scheduled to be sold. No Problem!"
Once they have your attention, they use a variety of tactics to get your money. By knowing how their scams work, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says you'll be better able to defend against fraud.
Common Fraud Scams You Should Know About:
Anyone can be scammed if they don’t know the warning signs to look for. Here are some red flags to indicate that you may be dealing with a mortgage loan scammer:
O A company/person asks for a fee in advance to work with your lender or mortgage servicer to modify, refinance or reinstate your mortgage. It is illegal for a company/individual to charge fees in advance for these services according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Mortgage Assistance Relief Service (MARS) Rule. Note: Attorneys are allowed to charge fees in advance if they meet certain requirements and place fees in a client trust account ( FTC MARS Rule Compliance Guide for attorneys). But be careful! Attorneys, and people claiming to be attorneys, have been known to take advantage of homeowners, too.
O A company/person guarantees they can stop a foreclosure or get your loan modified. Nobody can make this guarantee to stop a foreclosure or modify your loan. Many scammers offer “money-back” guarantees to make homeowners feel more comfortable. But why do you need a money-back guarantee when getting a loan modification is supposed to be free? Legitimate, trustworthy HUD-approved counseling agencies will only promise they will try their very best to help you.
O A company/person advises you to stop paying your mortgage company or to pay them instead. Despite what a scammer will tell you, you should never stop paying your mortgage to improve your chances of getting a loan modification. Also, never send a mortgage payment to anyone other than your mortgage servicer. As soon as you have trouble paying your mortgage, contact us and ask for the loss mitigation department. You should also contact a HUD-approved counseling agency for assistance. It’s free.
O A company pressures you to sign over the deed to your home or sign any paperwork that you haven’t had a chance to read, and you don’t fully understand. Be careful. Signing over the deed to your home may not prevent foreclosure. You are still responsible for paying your mortgage even if you sign over the deed to your home. A legitimate housing counselor would never pressure you to sign a document before you had a chance to read and understand it.
O A company claims to offer “government-approved” or “official government” loan modifications. They may be scam artists posing as legitimate organizations approved by, or affiliated with, the government. Contact us first. We can tell you whether you qualify for any government programs to prevent foreclosure. You can also work with a local HUD-approved counseling agency to determine what programs you may be eligible for. And, remember, you do not have to pay to benefit from government-backed loan modification programs.
O A company/person you don’t know asks you to release personal financial information online or over the phone. You should only give this type of information to companies that you know and trust, like your mortgage servicer or a HUD-approved counseling agency.
O A company/person tells you they can perform an “audit” to save your home. In exchange for an upfront fee, so-called forensic loan "auditors," mortgage loan "auditors," or foreclosure prevention "auditors" offer to have an attorney or other expert review your mortgage documents to determine if your servicer complied with the law. The "auditors" say you can use their report to avoid foreclosure, speed the loan modification process, reduce what you owe, or even cancel your loan. In fact, there's no evidence that forensic loan audits will help you get a loan modification or any other mortgage relief.
O A company advises you to sell your home right now so you can rent it back. Con artists tell you to surrender the title to your house as part of a deal that allows you to stay there as a renter and buy it back later. They say that surrendering the title will let a borrower with a better credit rating get new financing and prevent the loss of the home. But the terms of these deals usually are so expensive that buying back your home becomes impossible. You lose the house and the scam artist walks off with the money you put into it. Worse, when the new borrower defaults on the loan, you're the one who's evicted.
In a variation, the scam artist raises the rent over time so you can't afford it. After missing several rent payments, you're evicted, leaving the "rescuer" free to sell the house.
In a similar equity-skimming scam, fraudsters offer to find a buyer for your home, but only if you sign over the deed and move out. They promise to pay you a portion of the profit when the home sells. Once you transfer the deed, they simply rent out the home and pocket the proceeds while your lender goes ahead with the foreclosure. The result: You lose your home – and you're still responsible for the unpaid mortgage because transferring the deed does nothing to transfer what you owe on the mortgage.
As soon as you suspect fraud, contact us immediately at 877-279-9036. We want to help protect you from theft and fraud.
You can also call the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by calling (888) 995-HOPE (4673) or click here to report a scam online (with your permission the complaint will be shared by HUD with federal and state enforcement agencies).
HUD Office of the Inspector General
Phone: (800) 347-3735
Federal Trade Commission: Complaint Assistance
Phone: (877) FTC-HELP / (877) 382-4357
Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force
Phone: (202) 514-2000