These helpful articles are our way of helping you stay informed, and give great tips at keeping your financial information safe and secure.
Information from the BBB on common scams
Click on the link below to receive information from the Better Business Bureau on common scams so you don't fall victim in 2016.
Tips for Online Shopping this Holiday Season!
Click the link below for online shopping tips.
FTC Scam regarding a consumer complaint notification
May Tip of the Month - Cyber Crimes
Click on the link below for information on cyber crimes in Northern Indiana.
March Tip of the Month
Click on the link below for some buying and borrowing tips from the FDIC.
Click on the link below for some good information on consumer awareness for common scams.
February Tip of the Month
ICBA Cyber Crimes Consumer Tips
Click on the link below to view Consumer Tips from the ICBA.
Click on the link below for information on a recent NIPSCO scam in the area.
January Tip of the Month
Farmers State Bank will not email you and ask you to click on a link to verify information regarding your accounts with us. If you receive such an email, do not click on the link and immediately delete the email. These types of emails are just phishing attempts to try and gain access to confidential information such as account numbers, social security numbers, PIN’s, passwords, etc and sometimes sound very real and urgent. If you are ever in doubt about an email you receive, call the sender directly at a published or known number and not a phone number provided in the email.
Fighting Against Fraud
Click on the link to view what Farmers State Bank has in place to protect customers against fraud. It also provides helpful tips for customers on what they can do to try to prevent fraud from happening to them.
ID thieves could be looking forward to receiving your tax refund
Indiana consumers filing their taxes this year should take precautions to protect themselves from identity thieves who can steal their information and file a tax return in their name.
Last year, the Indiana Attorney General’s Office received nearly 70 complaints regarding tax-refund fraud. In most cases, thieves used a legitimate taxpayer’s personal information to file a tax return and the victim was unaware until they were notified by the IRS.
If you receive an unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS that contains a request for personal information, do not respond. Instead, forward the message to the IRS at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information.
To report tax-refund fraud call the Internal Revenue Service’s Identity Protection Specialized Unit toll-free at 1.800.908.4490 or click here for more information. For assistance in filling out forms or for more information about the process consumers can also contact the Attorney General’s office at 1.800.382.5516.
E-mail Claiming to Be From the FDIC – January 30, 2013
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has received numerous reports of fraudulent e-mails that have the appearance of being sent from the FDIC.
While the e-mails exhibit variations in the "From" and "Subject" lines, the messages are similar.
The fraudulent e-mails are addressed to the attention of the “Accounting Department” and meant to notify recipients that that “ACH and WIRE transactions” are being blocked until “a special security software” is installed.
They then instruct recipients to go to a Web site for instructions on how to download the necessary files by clicking on a hyper-link provided (Note: the Web site addresses (URL) vary widely).
This e-mail and link are fraudulent. Recipients should consider the intent of this e-mail as an attempt to collect personal or confidential information, or to load malicious software onto end users' computers. Recipients should not click on the link provided.
The FDIC does not issue unsolicited e-mails to consumers or business account holders. The FDIC does not contact financial institutions except through the authorized FDIC site.
For other FDIC alerts, please visit http://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/alerts.
Phishing scheme imitates Better Business Bureau
A phishing scheme is targeting business owners across the area, impersonating the Better Business Bureau.
It's an email, claiming to be from the BBB, informing businesses about an alleged complaint filed against them by customers.
The BBB says not to open the email or click any attachments.
They say they rarely send emails, preferring standard mail instead. The only reason businesses would receive an email from them is if they expressly requested online communications.
Expiration of the Temporary Full Insurance Coverage for Noninterest-Bearing Transaction Accounts
By operation of federal law, beginning January 1, 2013, funds deposited in a noninterest-bearing transaction account (including an Interest on Lawyer Trust Account) no longer will receive unlimited deposit insurance coverage by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Beginning January 1, 2013, all of a depositor’s accounts at an insured depository institution, including all noninterest-bearing transaction accounts, will be insured by the FDIC up to the standard maximum deposit insurance amount ($250,000), for each deposit insurance ownership category.
For more information about FDIC insurance coverage of noninterest bearing transaction accounts, visit http://www.fdic.gov/deposit/deposits/unlimited/expiration.html.
ICBA Offers Consumers Mobile Banking Safety Tips
ICBA Offers Consumers Mobile Banking Safety Tips
Washington, D.C. (Oct. 16, 2012)—As mobile banking grows in popularity as a consumer banking service, the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) is offering consumers advice on how to safely use mobile banking so they can be protected while managing their finances.
“Mobile banking, one of the industry’s fastest growing trends, gives our customers flexibility and the chance to manage their finances anytime, anywhere,” said Jeff Gerhart, chairman of ICBA and of Bank of Newman Grove, Neb. “To stay ahead of the demand, community banks are investing millions to secure their banking channels, but consumers need to make informed decisions, while avoiding the scams and schemes that are growing up around this new technology.”
ICBA offers these tips for consumers on the safe use of mobile banking:
- Invest in an antivirus application for your mobile device to help protect you when downloading apps or mobile content.
- Never provide personal identification or banking information over your mobile device unless you initiate the contact and you know that you’re dealing directly with your bank.
- Never share your password, account number, PIN and answers to secret questions. Don't save this information anywhere on your phone.
- Never set the app, web or client-text service to automatically log you in to your bank account. If your phone is lost or stolen, someone will have free access to your money.
- Set the phone to require a password to power on the handset or awake it from sleep mode.
- Remember, your bank would never contact or text message you asking for personal or banking information. Assume any unsolicited text request is fraudulent. Giving this information places your finances and privacy at risk.
- Immediately tell your mobile operator and your bank if you lose your phone.
“Whether they choose mobile, online or in-person banking, our members want to help their customers manage their money safely and wisely,” Gerhart said. “If community bank customers have any questions, they should contact their community banker who can guide them through the mobile banking process for added insight and confidence.”
Planning Ahead Can Help You Keep Your Money Safe
LaGrange, IN (June 5, 2012)-With the kickoff of summer just around the corner and many Americans planning to hit the road or the skies for their much-anticipated summer vacation, Farmers State Bank and the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) want consumers to have the information they need before they leave home to keep their money safe.
“Whether your summer vacation takes you to the other side of the globe or just to the nearest beach, it’s always important to protect your money while you travel,” said Jeff Gerhart, ICBA chairman and chairman of Bank of Newman Grove, Neb. “Relationship-focused community bankers can work one-on-one with their customers to prepare them for all kinds of emergencies, from a lost wallet to identity theft.”
Financial professionals agree that the safest and most convenient way to travel with your money is to take a small amount of cash with you. It’s also a good idea to carry a debit, credit or ATM card. These cards are convenient while traveling because they are easy to carry, easy to use and often offer the lowest fees and the best exchange rates.
However, travelers still need to plan ahead to be prepared. To help, Farmers State Bank offers these tips to consumers about what they need to take care of before they take off:
- Let your community bank know when and where you will be traveling to avoid account holds or transaction rejections when out-of-the-ordinary transactions are presented for processing or posted.
- If you're traveling overseas, keep in mind that ATMs in many countries only accept four-digit personal identification numbers (PINs) and some countries have keyboards with numbers only, while others do not acknowledge zeros. Ask your community bank if you should create a new PIN for your account before you take your trip.
- Carry a back-up card that you keep in a separate place. Families or couples may get even greater back-up coverage if each person takes a different card.
- Make copies of all the cards you’ll be carrying. Be sure to copy the front and back of the card. Take a copy with you and give a copy to someone you trust back home. Be sure to also include the security code for the card and the customer service phone number.
- Set up transaction alerts for credit and debit cards. This will allow you to be informed much faster of any transactions that occur on your cards and shut down fraudulent activity.
- Bring a list of emergency phone numbers, but remember, 800 numbers can only be used in the United States and Canada. Be sure to get a number for your bank that you can call if you’re out of the country.
- Many credit cards provide travel accident insurance and traveler’s assistance. Ask your community bank what special services are available through your card.
- Check your balance before you leave. Know the limits on how much you can withdraw. Save all your receipts.
- Thoroughly check any ATMs that you use; fraudsters are increasingly altering the facades of ATMs in an effort to capture card data. Ensure the card reader does not look tampered with and pull on it to ensure it’s not a layover.
“Remember, in the event that something unfortunate does happen, community bankers are always just a phone call away, ready and able to help their customers,” said Gerhart.
For more information about what to do if you your card is lost or stolen or if you need additional help, visit http://usa.visa.com/personal/using_visa/travel_with_visa.html or http://www.mastercard.us/support/lost-card.html.
To learn more about ICBA, visit www.icba.org. To find a community bank or download our free community bank locator mobile apps for your iPhone, Android or BlackBerry, visit www.banklocally.org.
The Independent Community Bankers of America®, the nation’s voice for more than 7,000 community banks of all sizes and charter types, is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education and high-quality products and services. For more information, visit www.icba.org.
ICBA Offers Financial Tips for 2012 Graduates
Washington, D.C. (May 23, 2012)—As students graduate from colleges and universities across the country and begin to plant the seeds for their financial future, the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) offers tips to help graduates manage finances in the “real world.”
“Graduation is an exciting time for students who are often anxious to gain financial independence,” said Terry Jorde, ICBA senior executive vice president and chief of staff. “It’s important to remember that the financial decisions you make now will affect your future for years to come, so take a moment to outline your short- and long-term financial goals and come up with a monthly budget that will work for you. Believe me, this is one simple exercise that will be well worth any recent grad’s time. You’ll thank yourself a few months and a few years down the line.”
Jorde suggested that students who don’t already have their own individual bank accounts (not cosigned by mom and dad) open one immediately. “Look to a community banker who can work with you one-on-one to make a financial plan that suits your individual needs,” said Jorde. You can find a community bank near you by visiting www.banklocally.org or downloading the free ICBA locator app for your iPhone, Android or BlackBerry.
Other tips from ICBA include:
- If you don’t have strong financial literacy skills, take some time to educate yourself on money matters, such as credit and ways to save for retirement. There is an abundance of resources available from programs such as FDIC Money Smart. For more information visit www.fdic.gov/moneysmart/
- Understand credit, how to build it and what hurts it.
- Set up online banking to help you manage your finances from anywhere.
- Start saving for retirement now even if it does seem like a long way away. Many employers offer investment matching plans to help you get started.
- Set up an automatic savings account that pulls from your account every month as soon as you get your paycheck. Some employers also allow you to defer savings to another account. If you don’t see it, chances are you won’t miss it so much. Having a safety net in your savings account will help you stress less.
- Stay on top of any student loans, don’t miss deadlines and consolidate if appropriate. Some companies will help you pay off your student debt; make sure to ask about this when negotiating your new job.
- Review your banking, credit card and loan statements regularly so you can be aware of any errors.
- If you move, notify your bank, card and loan issuers immediately.
- If closing a bank account, confirm that the account and appropriate lines of credit have been closed by verifying with the bank.
- Take advantage of working with financial planners at your bank who can help you create your financial roadmap and a smart monthly budget for this stage in your life.
“This stage of a grad’s life is all about empowerment—and financial matters are no different,” said Jorde. “We congratulate this year’s college grads and wish them a prosperous financial future.”
To learn more about ICBA, visit www.icba.org.
FDIC Consumer News & Information
E-mails Claiming to Be from the FDIC
(1)The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has received numerous reports from consumers who received an e-mail that has the appearance of being sent from the FDIC. The e-mail informs the recipient that "in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security, federal, state and local governments…" the FDIC has withdrawn deposit insurance from the recipient's account "due to account activity that violates the Patriot Act." It further states deposit insurance will remain suspended until identity and account information can be verified using a system called "IDVerify." If consumers go to the link provided in the e-mail, it is suspected they will be asked for personal or confidential information, or malicious software may be loaded onto the recipient's computer.
This e-mail is fraudulent. It was not sent by the FDIC. It is an attempt to obtain personal information from consumers. Financial institutions and consumers should NOT access the link provided within the body of the e-mail and should NOT under any circumstances provide any personal information through this media.
The FDIC is attempting to identify the source of the e-mails and disrupt the transmission. Until this is achieved, consumers are asked to report any similar attempts to obtain this information to the FDIC by sending information to email@example.com.
(2)The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has received numerous reports of a fraudulent e-mail that has the appearance of being sent from the FDIC.
The subject line of the e-mails state: "Just for your time." The e-mail tells recipients that, "The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Online department kindly asks you to take part in our quick and easy 5 questions survey." It attempts to entice recipients to take the "survey" by telling them "In return we will credit $50.00 to your account Just for your time" The e-mail then directs recipients to click on a link to take the survey (a fraudulent link is provided).
This e-mail and associated Web site are fraudulent. Recipients should consider the intent of this e-mail as an attempt to collect personal or confidential information, or to load malicious software onto end users' computers.
The FDIC does not issue unsolicited e-mails to consumers. Financial institutions and consumers should NOT follow the link in the fraudulent e-mail.
For your reference, FDIC Special Alerts may be accessed from the FDIC's Web site at www.fdic.gov/news/news/SpecialAlert/2011/index.html. To learn how to automatically receive FDIC Special Alerts through e-mail, please visit www.fdic.gov/about/subscriptions/index.html.
Sandra L. Thompson
Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection
Shopping Safely Online
Online shopping has become a popular way to purchase items without the hassles of traffic and crowds. However, the Internet has unique risks, so it is important to take steps to protect yourself when shopping online.
Why do online shoppers have to take special precautions? The Internet offers a convenience that is not available from any other shopping outlet. From the comfort of your home, you can search for items from countless vendors, compare prices with a few simple mouse clicks, and make purchases without waiting in line. However, the Internet is also convenient for attackers, giving them multiple ways to access the personal and financial information of unsuspecting shoppers. Attackers who are able to obtain this information may use it for their own financial gain, either by making purchases themselves or by selling the information to someone else.
How do attackers target online shoppers?
There are three common ways that attackers can take advantage of online shoppers:
Targeting vulnerable computers – If you do not take steps to protect your computer from viruses or other malicious code, an attacker may be able to gain access to your computer and all of the information on it. It is also important for vendors to protect their computers to prevent attackers from accessing customer databases.
Creating fraudulent sites and email messages – Unlike traditional shopping, where you know that a store is actually the store it claims to be, attackers can create malicious web sites that mimic legitimate ones or create email messages that appear to have been sent from a legitimate source. Charities may also be misrepresented in this way, especially after natural disasters or during holiday seasons. Attackers create these malicious sites and email messages to try to convince you to supply personal and financial information.
Intercepting insecure transactions – If a vendor does not use encryption, an attacker may be able to intercept your information as it is being transmitted.
How can you protect yourself?
- Use and maintain anti-virus software, a firewall, and anti-spyware software – Protect yourself against viruses and Trojan horses that may steal or modify the data on your own computer and leave you vulnerable by using anti-virus software and a firewall. Make sure to keep your virus definitions up to date. Spyware or adware hidden in software programs may also give attackers access to your data, so use a legitimate anti-spyware program to scan your computer and remove any of these files.
- Keep software, particularly your web browser, up to date – Install software patches so that attackers cannot take advantage of known problems or vulnerabilities. Many operating systems offer automatic updates. If this option is available, you should enable it.
- Evaluate your software's settings – The default settings of most software enable all available functionality. However, attackers may be able to take advantage of this functionality to access your computer. It is especially important to check the settings for software that connects to the Internet. Apply the highest level of security available that still gives you the functionality you need.
- Do business with reputable vendors – Before providing any personal or financial information, make sure that you are interacting with a reputable, established vendor. Some attackers may try to trick you by creating malicious web sites that appear to be legitimate, so you should verify the legitimacy before supplying any information. Locate and note phone numbers and physical addresses of vendors in case there is a problem with your transaction or your bill.
- Take advantage of security features – Passwords and other security features add layers of protection if used appropriately.
- Be wary of emails requesting information – Attackers may attempt to gather information by sending emails requesting that you confirm purchase or account information. Legitimate businesses will not solicit this type of information through email.
- Make sure your information is being encrypted – Many sites use SSL, or secure sockets layer, to encrypt information. Indications that your information will be encrypted include a URL that begins with "https:" instead of "http:" and a padlock icon. If the padlock is closed, the information is encrypted. The location of the icon varies by browser; for example, it may be to the right of the address bar or at the bottom of the window. Some attackers try to trick users by adding a fake padlock icon, so make sure that the icon is in the appropriate location for your browser.
- Use a credit card – There are laws to limit your liability for fraudulent credit card charges, and you may not have the same level of protection for your debit card. Additionally, because a debit card draws money directly from your bank account, unauthorized charges could leave you with insufficient funds to pay other bills. You can further minimize damage by using a single credit card with a low credit line for all of your online purchases.
- Check your statements – Keep a record of your purchases and copies of confirmation pages, and compare them to your bank statements. If there is a discrepancy, report it immediately.
Work at Home Scam
Fraud Advisory for Consumers
Involvement in Criminal Activity through Work from Home Scams
This product was created as part of a joint effort between the United States Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC).
Consumers continue to lose money from work-from-home scams that assist cyber criminals move stolen funds. Worse yet, due to their deliberate or unknowing participation in the scams, these individuals may face criminal charges. Work-from-home scam victims are often recruited by organized cyber criminals through newspaper ads, online employment services, unsolicited emails or “spam”,1 and social networking sites advertising work-from-home opportunities. Once recruited, however, rather than becoming an employee of a legitimate business, the consumer is actually a “mule” for cyber criminals who use the consumer’s or other victim's accounts to steal and launder money. In addition, the consumer’s own identity or account may be compromised by the cyber criminals.
Example of a Work-From-Home Scheme:
• An individual applies for a position as a rebate or payments processor2 through an online job site or through an unsolicited email.
• As a new employee, the individual is asked to provide his/her bank account information to his/her employer or to establish a new account using information provided by the employer.
• Funds are deposited into the account that the employee is instructed to wire to a third (often international) account. The employee is instructed to deduct a percentage of the wired amount as their commission.
• However, rather than processing rebates or processing payments, the individual is actually participating in a criminal activity by laundering stolen funds through his/her own account or a newly established account.
In February 2010, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) coordinated with state law enforcement officials and other federal agencies to announce a sweeping crack down on job and work-from-home fraud schemes fueled by the economic downturn. Individuals who are knowing or unknowing participants in this type of scheme could be prosecuted.
1 Cyber criminals may also spoof a legitimate business to entice you into opening the email, which may contain a fraudulent application for information or malware.
2 Other common job titles for these schemes include trading partner or currency trader.
• Be wary of work-from-home opportunities. Research the legitimacy of the company through the Better Business Bureau3 (for US-based companies) or WHOIS/Domain Tools4 (for international companies) before providing personal or account information and/or agreeing to work for them. In addition, TrustedSource.org can help you identify companies that may be maliciously sending spam based on the volume of email sent from their Internet Protocol (IP)5 addresses. See also the FTC’s recommendations6.
• Be cautious about any opportunities offering the chance to work from home with very little work or prior experience. Remember: if it looks too good to be true, it usually is.
• Never pay for the privilege of working for an employer. Be suspicious of opportunities that require you to pay for things up front, such as supplies and other materials.
• Never give your bank account details to anyone unless you know and trust them.
• If you think you may be a victim of one of these scams, contact your financial institution immediately. Report any suspicious work-from-home offers or activities to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)7 at http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx.
For more information, visit:
• PhishBucket.org, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting job seekers from fraudulent job offers.
• OnGuardOnline.org. Sponsored by the FTC, this site provides practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help you be on guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal information.
• Better Business Bureau, http://www.bbb.org/us/article/work-at-home-schemes-408.
This advisory was created through a collaborative cross-industry effort to protect consumers and businesses against account takeovers. Led by the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC), contributors include more than 30 of the largest financial institutions in the U.S., industry associations including the American Bankers Association (ABA), NACHA - The Electronic Payments Association, BITS/The Financial Services Roundtable; and federal regulatory and law enforcement agencies.
5 An IP address identifies the company's website host or network interface and location.
7 The IC3 is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).
Identity Theft Protection
ICBA: How to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft
Washington, D.C. (October 1, 2010)-Close to 10 million people each year have their personal information such as Social Security numbers, credit card and bank account numbers and home addresses stolen, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Victims of identity theft spend approximately $5 million a year repairing their credit, and businesses deal with nearly $50 million in fraudulent charges annually[kt1] . While the Internet has given rise to a variety of financial crimes that include phishing, spoofing, pharming and vishing, most cases of identity theft still occur offline.
With these statistics in mind, the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) offers the following tips to help consumers guard against identity theft.
"Community banks are careful guardians of our customers' personal data and information, but our customers must also play a role and practice caution in stores, online and as they go about their business every day," said Jim MacPhee, ICBA chairman and CEO of Kalamazoo County State Bank in Kalamazoo, Mich.
The following tips can help lower your risk of becoming a victim of identity theft:
- Protect your Social Security number. Don't carry your Social Security card or other cards that show your SSN. Read, "Identity Theft and Your Social Security Number."
- Don't give out personal information over the phone, through the mail or on the Internet unless you know who you're dealing with and preferably only if you've initiated the contact. Make sure you are dealing with a legitimate organization. As a general rule, never give out your Social Security or driver's license numbers.
- Don't put personal information such as your birth year, mother's maiden name or other information on public social media sites. Fraudsters can use that information to decipher your passwords. Also, if you use a smart phone, be careful not to list personal information, account numbers and passwords. If you lose or misplace your phone, a potential fraudster could easily access your information.
- Ask questions whenever you are asked for personal information that seems inappropriate for the transaction. Ask how the information will be used and if it will be shared. Ask how it will be protected. If you're not satisfied with the answers, don't give your personal information.
- Remember: Banks will not ask you to verify your personal account information over the phone or via e-mail if they initiated the call. They already have that on file. If you receive a phone call or e-mail asking you to verify such information, don't respond. Instead, contact the bank directly.
- Don't leave sensitive documents containing personal information where people can see it. Shred or destroy papers containing your personal information, including credit card offers and convenience checks that you don't use.
- Retrieve your postal mail promptly, and discontinue delivery while you're out of town. Whenever possible, mail bills from your post office, not your mail box. Stop or reduce junk mail or unsolicited credit card offers by visiting the National Credit Bureau's opt out website at: www.optoutprescreen.com or call them at (888) 567-8688.
- Open your bills and bank statements right away. Check carefully for any unauthorized charges or withdrawals and report them immediately. Call if bills don't arrive on time-it may mean that someone has changed contact information to hide fraudulent charges.
- Check your credit reports. Review your credit report at least once a year. Check for changed addresses and fraudulent charges. To find out more about credit reports, your rights as a consumer, access the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the FACT Act at www.ftc.gov/credit.
- Protect your computer by following good security practices. Use strong passwords that are hard to guess. Use firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware software that you update regularly. Download software only from sites you know and trust and only after reading all the terms and conditions. Don't click on links in pop-up windows or in spam e-mail.
- Before you get rid of an old computer, make sure you destroy the information on the hard drive. Often that means destroying the drive itself because erasing data doesn't completely eliminate it. Otherwise look for software tools that will completely wipe data from the hard drive.
"No method is foolproof," said MacPhee. "Identity thieves are devising new schemes all the time. But when you see how long it takes for someone to restore their good credit after being victimized, then you know that any steps you can take to prevent identity theft are definitely worth the extra time."
For more information, visit the Identify Theft Web page at www.icba.org.
FDIC Releases Alert on Fraudulent Phone Calls
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has received numerous reports of suspicious telephone calls where the caller claims to represent the FDIC and is calling regarding the collection of an outstanding debt.
To date, the callers have alleged that the call recipient is delinquent in payment of a loan that was applied for over the Internet or made through a payday lender. The loan may or may not actually exist. The caller attempts to authenticate the claim by providing sensitive personal information, such as name, Social Security number, and date of birth, supposedly taken from the loan application. The recipient is then strongly urged to make a payment over the phone to "avoid a lawsuit and possible arrest." In some instances, the caller is said to sound aggressive and threatening.
These suspicious telephone calls are fraudulent. Recipients should consider them as an attempt to steal money or collect personal identifying information. The FDIC generally does not initiate unsolicited telephone calls to consumers and is not involved with the collection of debts on behalf of operating lenders and financial institutions.
If a caller demonstrates that he or she has the recipient's sensitive personal information, such as Social Security number, date of birth, and bank account numbers, the recipient may be the victim of identity theft and should review his or her credit reports for signs of possible fraud. The individual should also consider placing a "fraud alert" on his or her credit reports. This can be done by contacting one of the three consumer reporting companies listed below. Only one of the three companies needs to be contacted. That company is required to contact the other two, which will place an alert on their versions of the report.
TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; www.transunion.com; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, California 92834-6790
Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; www.equifax.com; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, Georgia 30374-0241
Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742); www.experian.com; P.O. Box 9554, Allen, Texas 75013
Information about counterfeit items, cyber-fraud incidents and other fraudulent activity may be forwarded to the FDIC's Cyber-Fraud and Financial Crimes Section, 550 17th Street, N.W., Room F-3054, Washington, D.C. 20429, or transmitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions related to federal deposit insurance or consumer issues should be submitted to the FDIC using an online form that can be accessed at http://www2.fdic.gov/starsmail/index.asp.
Protect Your Privilege - Don't Be Declined
Farmers State Bank’s Standard Overdraft Practice protects you by paying overdrafts on the checking account, whether the overdraft occurs in a paper check transaction, electronic (ACH) withdrawal, ATM withdrawal, or Debit Card transaction.
We also offer Overdraft Protection Plans, such as a link to a savings account, which are separate from Overdraft Protection Privilege. To learn more, ask us about these plans.
DON’T BE DECLINED
New federal regulations for Standard Overdraft Practice become effective on August 15, 2010. This means that Farmers State Bank will no longer be able to pay overdrafts for ATM and Debit Card transactions unless you choose this service.
The regulations will allow you to continue using
our Standard Overdraft Practice protection plan for other checking account transactions, such as paper checks and electronic (ACH) withdrawals.
However, since ATM and Debit Card transactions are not covered, your purchase could be declined by a merchant (grocery store, department store, anywhere you use your Debit Card), or you could be declined for cash withdrawals at an ATM.
PROTECT YOUR PRIVILEGE
Here is how you can tell us that you want Farmers State Bank to pay overdrafts on your ATM withdrawals and Debit Card transactions using Standard Overdraft Practice as of August 15, 2010:
- Complete the Opt-In form at any Farmers State Bank branch;
- Log-in to Farmers State Bank On-Line Banking and email your Opt-in request; or
Call Farmers State Bank Customer Support at 260-463-7111 or 888-492-7111.
Standard Overdraft Practice Fees: You will be charged up to $32 each time Farmers State Bank pays an overdraft for any transaction covered through its Standard Overdraft Practice protection plan. There is no limit to the total fees we can charge you for overdrawing your account.
Viruses & Spyware
Should I be concerned about Viruses & Spyware?
We have said this before, however it is a concept worth mentioning again; the best way to protect your Internet Banking Account is by protecting your PC. Farmers State Bank computers are protected by multiple Anti-Virus & Anti-Spyware/Malware products. You should protect your own home computer by installing reputable Anti-Virus & Anti-Spyware/Malware programs… and by ensuring that these programs are receiving frequent & possibly daily updates. You should also ensure that you install security patch updates on your PC for applications such as Microsoft Office & Internet Explorer, and for operating systems such as Windows & Apple OS.
In addition, you should never share passwords unless you trust the person you are sharing with to access & use everything protected by that password. Plus, you should avoid performing Internet Banking or Shopping transactions on a PC that you are unfamiliar with, that may not be protected as described above (Steer clear of ‘Courtesy’ PC’s found in restaurants, hotels, malls, airports & etc.). These are just a few tips that will go a long way towards protecting your personal accounts and other sensitive information. By following these precautions, you will greatly reduce the chance of thieves stealing personal information from your home computer.
Text Messaging Awareness
As a reminder, currently Farmers State Bank does not send out text messages to your cell phones or any other handheld device. Recently, there have been a few customers who reported receiving a text message about a security notice from FSB that requests them to call an 800 number. The callers are then asked to supply a card number along with a pin number.
Please do not ever give out any personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call and are absolutely positive you know who you are talking to. This includes credit card numbers, pin numbers, social security numbers, address, phone numbers or other information.
If you have any questions or have experience something like this, please give us a call at 800.492.7111.
ATM attacks are among the most prevalent forms of fraud striking bank customers around the world today. Your best defense to this threat is to read and follow the tips below to help reduce ATM skimming incidents.
- Be wary of anything about the ATM machine that looks out of the ordinary, such as odd-looking equipment or wires attached to the device.
- Look for a “no tampering” sign. Crooks often place these to stop anyone curious about a new piece of equipment.
- Avoid a jammed ATM machine that forces customers to use another ATM that has a skimmer attached. Often, the criminal will disable other ATMs in the area to draw users to the one that has the skimming device attached.
- Check your bank account(s) regularly to make sure there are no unusual or unauthorized transactions.
- If you see anything unusual or suspicious around the ATM, or if you find unauthorized ATM transactions on your bank account, immediately notify local law enforcement, as well as Farmers State Bank.
- Always protect your PIN: Do not give the number to anyone, and do not write your PIN on or anywhere near your card. Always cover the keypad while you are entering your PIN.
Farmers State Bank is very vigilant about this particular threat and inspects all ATMs on a periodic basis. Together, our combined efforts offer the best defense to these increasingly sophisticated crimes. Thank you for reading this awareness piece and for helping Farmers State Bank protect you!
Social Networking Security
Social networking websites such as Facebook and MySpace allow you to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. They allow you to share ideas and the events of your life with the people in your network. However, the ease with which people can obtain the personal information you make available can be cause for security concerns. If you use social networking sites, you can protect yourself by following a few simple guidelines.
Limit your available personal information
Be wary of making too much personal information available online. Online banking and e-commerce sites frequently use “challenge questions” to help you recover a forgotten password, or for other security purposes. Often, your online profile will contain enough information to answer these questions. If a hacker has access to this information, he may be able to break into your online banking account. In fact, some online quizzes are nothing more than veiled attempts to gather answers to challenge questions.
Use privacy settings to restrict who can access your information…
Most social networking websites provide a way to limit what information is available and who can see it. Familiarize yourself with how the privacy settings work, and set them to limit your exposure as much as possible. If your social networking website has no privacy settings, consider taking your online socializing elsewhere.
… But don’t rely on them
E-commerce websites are held to a higher security standard than most other websites. Social networking sites have a spotty track record when it comes to protecting personal information. Even if your favorite website provides privacy settings, it may not enforce them as well as advertized.
Vary your password
Use a password for social networking websites that is different from the ones for your e-mail, e-commerce and financial websites. Ideally, you should use a different password on each website.
Know who you are “friending”
Consider refusing friend requests from people you don’t know. They may be interested in more than your friendship.
Beware of following links
Links sent in messages sometimes lead to websites that distribute malware. Consider the source of the message: is it from someone who never sends you messages? Does the message sound like something your friend would send? If it looks suspicious, ask your friend if they really sent it. If they didn’t, their computer may be infected with malware which actually sent you the message.
Talk to your kids about security
If you have children, talk to them frequently about how to remain safe online:
- Help your kids understand what information should be private.
- Explain that kids should post only information that you – and they – are comfortable with others seeing.
- Use privacy settings to restrict who can access and post on your child's social networking website.
- Remind your kids that once they post information online, they can't take it back.
- Tell your kids to trust their gut if they have suspicions. If they ever feel uncomfortable or threatened by anything online, encourage them to tell you.
- Consider using the social networking website your kids do, and become part of their network.
Top Ten FDIC Consumer News
Top 10 precautions online banking customers should consider according to FDIC Consumer News.
- If you bank online, frequently check your deposit accounts and lines of credit to spot and report errors or frequent transactions, just as you should with traditional banking.
- Never give your Social Security number, credit or debit card numbers, personal identification numbers (PINs) or any other confidential information in response to an unsolicited e-mail, text message or phone call, no matter who the source supposedly is.
- Don’t open attachments or click on links in unsolicited e-mails from anyone you don’t know or you otherwise aren’t sure about.
- Watch out for sudden pop-up windows asking for personal information or warning of a virus.
- Use a mix of security tools and procedures.
- Beware of check scams.
- When shopping online, deal with reputable merchants and be wary of unbelievably low prices.
- Using a credit card generally offers more purchase protection than a debit card or other electronic forms of online payment.
- Be on guard against scams hiding behind online coupon offers.
- Be careful if you download banking software onto a cell phone.
2010 Census Cautions
2010 Census Cautions from the Better Business Bureau
GOOD INFORMATION TO PASS ON TO EVERYBODY THAT YOU KNOW:
2010 Census to Begin
Be Cautious About Giving Info to Census Workers
by Susan Johnson
With the U.S. Census process beginning, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises people to be cooperative, but cautious, so as not to become a victim of fraud or identity theft. The first phase of the 2010 U.S. Census is under way as workers have begun verifying the addresses of households across the country. Eventually, more than 140,000 U.S. Census workers will count every person in the United States and will gather information about every person living at each address including name, age, gender, race, and other relevant data.
The big question is - how do you tell the difference between a U.S. Census worker and a con artist? BBB offers the following advice:
** If a U.S. Census worker knocks on your door, they will have a badge, a handheld device, a Census Bureau canvas bag, and a confidentiality notice. Ask to see their identification and their badge before answering their questions. However, you should never invite anyone you don't know into your home.
** Census workers are currently only knocking on doors to verify address information.
Do not give your Social Security number, credit card or banking information to anyone, even if they claim they need it for the U.S. Census.
REMEMBER, NO MATTER WHAT THEY ASK, YOU REALLY ONLY NEED TO TELL THEM HOW MANY PEOPLE LIVE AT YOUR ADDRESS.
While the Census Bureau might ask for basic financial information, such as a salary range,
YOU DON'T HAVE TO ANSWER ANYTHING AT ALL ABOUT YOUR FINANCIAL SITUATION.
The Census Bureau will not ask for Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers, nor will employees solicit donations. Any one asking for that information is NOT with the Census Bureau.
AND REMEMBER, THE CENSUS BUREAU HAS DECIDED NOT TO WORK WITH ACORN ON GATHERING THIS INFORMATION.
No Acorn worker should approach you saying he/she is with the Census Bureau. Eventually, Census workers may contact you by telephone, mail, or in person at home. However, the Census Bureau will not contact you by Email, so be on the lookout for Email scams impersonating the Census. Never click on a link or open any attachments in an Email that are supposedly from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Frequently Asked Questions on Computer Security
Q: Do I have to buy expensive software to clean viruses from my computer?
A: There are reputable programs available for free on the internet that may meet your needs. Be sure to do your homework prior to installing any software. Verify the software’s reputation using software review websites such as Cnet.com, prior to installing the software. Some examples of free anti-virus protection and malware removal are:
Avast! Home Edition/ www.avast.com
Microsoft Security Essentials/ www.microssoft.com/Security_Essentials
Note: We cannot endorse or recommend any of the above programs. They are listed here only to show examples of what is available.
Q: Is one anti-virus software program better than another?
A: Marketing hype aside, all reputable antivirus software does pretty much the same job. Some may be better than others in regards to a particular feature, but any one of them is better than no antivirus software at all. However, there are a number of disreputable antivirus programs that actually do more harm than good. Be wary of any antivirus software that advertizes itself via unsolicited e-mail (spam) or pop-up windows.
Q: How do I know if my PC is infected?
A: Infected PCs may exhibit suspicious behavior, such as running more slowly than normal, locking up often, crashing and restarting frequently, or displaying unusual error messages. Or they may exhibit no symptoms at all. Also, the suspicious behavior often shown by infected PCs may be caused by a number of other factors. So while a poorly performing computer should make you suspect that it may be infected, you won’t know for sure unless you frequently scan your PC with an antivirus tool.
Q: Aren’t you safe from these threats if you stay away from those shady and unsavory websites?
A: Your PC could be infected from a number of sources. Viruses can be transferred from PC to PC through the use of a shared USB Flash Drive. There are many instances where a nationally recognized company’s website has been compromised and visitors to their site have been infected with malware. The best way to protect yourself is to protect your PC.
Q: What do I need to do to protect my PC?
A: While there is no silver bullet that will protect you from every risk, if you take the following precautions, you can significantly reduce your exposure:
- Install an antivirus program and configure it to update its virus definitions daily.
- Configure your computer and connection to the internet properly. Some computer systems come with a lot of security enabled by default, but have someone who knows what they're doing check the configuration of your computer and other communications equipment —wireless routers, DSL or cable modems, etc.
- Turn on automatic software updates. This is a feature of some software which allows it to patch itself with very little effort from you. Make sure it's turned on for your operating system, security software, and any applications that have the option.
- Be aware of your Internet surroundings. Learn to tell scams from real email, and when not to follow links or open a document. It takes time and practice to develop Internet “street smarts.”
- Perform regular backups. If your system becomes infected with a virus, you may have to reinstall your complete system. Backups ensure you don't lose your data if that becomes necessary.
Attorney General Greg Zoeller announces new
tool to help protect Hoosiers from fraud
Hoosiers can receive email and text alerts onto
fraud trends and tips to avoid falling victim
INDIANAPOLIS – Attorney General Greg Zoeller and Director of the Consumer Protection Division, Abby Kuzma, today announced the launch of the Consumer Alert Program, a consumer fraud early warning system. The program will notify consumers by email or text message of frauds or scams believed to pose a threat to Hoosiers. Tips on how to avoid the scams and what to if victimized will also be included in the alerts.
“It is a full-time job tracking fraud trends and we appreciate how hard it is for everyone to keep up with all the scams cropping up all over the country,” Zoeller said. “Very few scams actually originate in Indiana and it is our job to monitor and identify which pose the greatest threat to Hoosiers. This alert program is an education and prevention tool consumers can use to protect themselves.”
The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division coordinates with the Federal Trade Commission, National Association of Attorneys General, Better Business Bureau and other consumer protection agencies to gain knowledge of scams occurring in other states in order to provide quick notice of the potential threat to Hoosiers. Consumers who are signed up to receive the alerts will receive information by email or text message about which scams to avoid.
“We are seeing an increased sophistication in the scams being run today causing millions of Americans and thousands of Hoosiers to fall victim to fraud every year,” Kuzma said. “The goal of the Consumer Alert Program is to arm consumers with the information they need to avoid these situations.”
Anyone can sign up to receive the alerts. Visit www.IndianaConsumer.com and click on the red “Consumer Alert” button to complete the sign-up process. The alerts will be delivered via email or text message depending on individual preferences.
All contact and personal information is strictly confidential.
The topics of the alerts will vary depending on the types of scams occurring, the time of year and trends in the economy. Examples of alert topics include:
- Telemarketing robo call scams
- Foreclosure consultant companies operating illegally in Indiana
Door-to-Door solicitors selling unsafe products
It is the mission of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division to educate and protect Hoosiers from unscrupulous businesses and individuals as well as professional license holders who may pose a threat to citizens of Indiana. The Consumer Protection Division is also responsible for investigating and responding to consumer complaints to ensure safe and fair commerce in Indiana.
To sign up to receive consumer alerts, file a complaint or learn more about how to prevent becoming a victim of fraud, visit www.IndianaConsumer.com.