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Security Tips

There are many conveniences when using on-line or mobile banking but as the old-adage goes “the chain is only as strong as its weakest link”.  First State Bank takes many steps to protect your private information when allowing our customers to access their account information via on-line or mobile banking.  One very important step First State Bank cannot help you with is securing the device you utilize to do your on-line or mobile banking.  Below are some reminders and steps to follow to ensure your PC or mobile device is secure as possible when viewing your accounts with First State Bank.  We have also included some helpful reminders when using your bank debit and ATM card.

  • PC and Mobile Threats

    Phishing happens when fraudsters try to use email to lure you to fake bank websites and trick you into giving out your sign in information. "SMiShing" (SMS Phishing) is like email phishing on a PC, except it sends phishing messages via your Short Message Service (SMS) text service. The message may ask you to update a password, re-enter your credit card or provide sensitive information that can be used to defraud you. It may even try to commandeer your phone to launch bot attacks or damage your files.

    Spam is always annoying, but some of it will consist of unsolicited offers or SMiShing, both designed to get your personal information for financial gain or file destruction. Don't open email if you don't know the sender. If any sender asks you to provide sensitive information, don't. If such a request seems to be from a business you know, use your browser to go to their website or a phone to call the business.

    Snoopware can be used to eavesdrop on your conversations, emails, text messages, contact lists and passwords. If you use a smartphone to make financial transactions, snoopware can be programmed to eavesdrop on those as well.

  • Secure your computer

    Set your computer's operating system to receive automatic updates if possible; if not, download and install updates regularly.

    Make sure you're using the most recent version of your Internet browser; previous versions can have security weaknesses that put you at risk.

    Use an Internet browser that supports advanced security features such as phishing site detection, and support for extended security certificates.

    Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software and set them to auto-update as well.

  • PC Do's and Don'ts

    Do use a firewall with default settings at a very minimum. Don't click pop-ups or download files from websites you don't trust.

    Do make sure web addresses begin with HTTPS (not HTTP) and look for a key or padlock icon in your browser window.

    Do look for the green address bar in your web browser indicating the site you're on is using extended security certificates and is a genuine website.

    Do sign out at the end of your session and close your browser as you leave a secure banking site.

    Don't click links or open attachments in suspicious emails.

    Don't ever send personal or sensitive information by email.

    Do choose passwords that are difficult to guess and change them on a regular basis. Memorize them and never share them with anyone.

    Don't use the same passwords for all websites, especially for secured sites like ours.

    Do back up your important computer files at least once a month.

    Don't let anyone look over your shoulder if you're banking online from a public computer. Better yet, select "Hide My Typing."

  • Secure Your Mobile Phone

    Just as you should always secure your PC with up-to-date Internet security software, you should protect your smartphone with security software that will protect it against the latest security threats.

    Install security software for your phone and keep it up-to-date.

    Check to make sure the security software you're using has features that let you:

    Detect and eliminate mobile threats before they can infect your phone

    Remotely wipe data and erase sensitive information on your phone if it's lost or stolen

    Track your phone's location (so you can easily find it if it's lost or stolen)

  • The Do's and Don'ts of Mobile Banking

    These days, your bank may be as close as your phone. But the increasing reliance on smartphones for financial transactions means that the bad guys are targeting these devices.  Most experts agree that it's critical to exercise caution when you bank by phone.  Follow these do's and don'ts and feel safe when you're banking on the go:

    Do protect your phone password. Use your device's locking or password mechanism to make sure the bad guys can't access personal info stored on your phone.

    Don't choose automatic login options. When you visit password-protected websites, take the time to type in the password. Otherwise, a thief could access sensitive information simply by unlocking your phone.

    Don't install third-party apps. Only download apps from trusted sources such as links sent by your bank or directly from your bank's website.

    Do use your bank's mobile website. Make sure you're actually on your bank's website by typing the name into your browser. And remember that on most smartphones, you can save a website with an icon on your mobile desktop screen (just like an app from an app store).

    Do communicate carefully with your bank. Understand that your bank won't send emails or texts asking for personal information. Don't save messages from your bank containing passwords either.

  • Secure your Account Info

    Review your account statements, and do it regularly. Report any suspicious activity and unauthorized transactions immediately.

    Consider requesting electronic statements, but only if the company can send them to you securely or make them available from your account.

    Lock away your Social Security Card, bank passwords and account numbers.

    Take care of checks, making sure to account for all new ones when you receive them, and store new and cancelled checks in a secure place. Don't include your driver's license and Social Security Numbers on pre-printed checks. If your checkbook is lost or stolen, contact your bank right away to stop possible payments. 

  • Monitor Your Credit

    ID Theft occurs when criminals use your personal information to make purchases, take out loans or commit other forms of fraud. Victims of ID Theft usually aren't held liable for crimes committed in their names, but they can spend months - even years - repairing their finances and credit history. The more proactive you are about preventing ID Theft, the less chance you'll fall victim.

    Beware of calls from companies with names that sound like government agencies or well-known organizations as well as those claiming you've won a prize when you never entered a contest.

    Never give anyone your Social Security or credit card numbers to purchase products or qualify for prizes, especially if you didn't initiate the call. Ask for written information on the offer and ask for references.

    Add yourself to the national Do-Not-Call registry at donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222.

    If things sound too good to be true, they probably are.

    Sign the back of new credit cards immediately.

    Cancel unused credit cards, but spread cancellations out over time so your credit score doesn't suffer (based on your total credit availability).

    Check your Social Security Earnings and benefits statement once a year to make sure no one else is piggy-backing on this information for employment purposes.

    If you're a fraud victim, set up free alerts through one of the bureaus. These alerts will last 90 days. Alerts are renewable, but credit bureaus may not allow continuous renewals if you're trying to use them as a credit monitoring tool.

    Freeze your credit. A recent law allows you to freeze your credit, preventing criminals from opening new accounts in your name. Check out the latest Credit Freeze Protection information and consider setting one up on your credit file.

    Identity and credit fraud are now hitting closer to home - your kids. Criminals are now targeting children, and sometimes parents don't discover it until their kids are older and apply for credit. Think about requesting credit reports for your kids as you would for yourself.

    Review your statements and look for transactions with strange payees or amounts you don't recognize; let your financial institution know right away.

    Check your credit report regularly. You can order one free report per year from each credit bureau (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian) (that's 3 free reports per year). Visit www.annualcreditreport.com to get started. Make sure each bureau's credit information about you is correct; if not, request a correction.

    If you stop receiving mail or if it's been tampered with, contact the post office right away. You should remove mail from your mailbox every day (consider signing up for electronic statements) and, when possible, send outgoing mail from the post office only. Thoroughly shred mail - especially credit card bills, statements, and offers for preapproved credit - before you throw it away. 

  • Be Smart at the ATM

    Automatic Teller Machines provide outstanding convenience, but also require a sharper focus on security and personal caution. ATMs can be located just about anywhere, and they're available 24/7. One of today's biggest concerns is ID Theft, when a bad guy steals your account information and then runs up charges and other bills in your name. These criminals often begin their theft with stolen ATM information. Here's how to help prevent this from happening to you:

    Protect your Debit Card as if it were cash. Report a lost or stolen card to your bank, immediately.

    Safeguard your Personal Identification Number (PIN). ATM fraud is most often committed by individuals who know the ATM cardholder.  Don't give the number to anyone.  Don't write your PIN on your card or keep it in your wallet and avoid using numbers that are easily identified (birth date, etc.).

    Never leave your receipt behind - even with an incomplete transaction.

    Discarded ATM receipts are a primary means of ID Theft and account fraud. Even at home, receipts can be a source for identity thieves - they rummage through the trash to find account numbers and other personal information. Shred receipts before discarding them.

    For your personal safety, minimize your time at the machine.

    Have your Debit Card ready when you approach the machine.

    Count your money later, not at the ATM.

    Remember to take your receipt.

    Give people ahead of you space to conduct their transactions. When you use the ATM, make sure no one watches you key in your PIN. You can use your body to shield the ATM keypad.

    If you leave your car to use the ATM, be sure to lock it up.

    At night, make sure there is ample lighting and the ATM is clearly visible from the street. Tell the bank (or ATM owner) about overgrown bushes, poor lighting or anything else you feel compromises personal safety and security at the ATM.

    Be wary of an ATM scam called "Skimming." This is when thieves attach realistic-looking electronic devices to the ATM designed to capture your card information and PIN. Skimmers applied to card readers (think fake card readers on top of the real ones) are designed to capture debit card magnetic stripe data, while tiny wireless cameras or overlays to existing personal identification number pads are designed to capture PIN information. Once thieves capture such data, they can use it to make fake cards or sell the information online If an ATM card reader appears unusual or bulky compared to other ATMs, check with the bank (or ATM owner) or use another ATM.


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