Information Security Tips and Tools

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For tips and information, check out the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team information page! 

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Own a small business? Check out these tips from the Federal Trade Commission on Cybersecurity for Small Business.

In this day and age, you can never be too careful with your personal information. Within the bank, we have strict policies and procedures that were designed specifically to protect your personal information, but what happens when you are outside the bank? Here at Farmers State Bank, we are making it a top priority to educate our customers with helpful tools and tips designed to safeguard personal information when surfing the web.

We will never request your Internet Banking Password! Please be cautious of emails that request this. We highly suggest you never give out your User ID or Password to anyone. Scammers have been known to send emails asking for this information. These emails have been known to look very legitimate. If you have replied to such an email and given out your credentials, please call Farmers State Bank at 406-642-2022 immediately! 

What is Identity Theft? 

Identity theft is when an individual acquires the identity information of another person with the intent on profiting using those details. These details include name, date of birth, social security number, mother's maiden name, etc. They look for anything that they can use to assume your identity, to commit fraud and profit monetarily. Once they have obtained the information, they are able to do a number of different things, they can obtain a loan in your name, make purchases with your credit cards, access your bank accounts, etc. The damage they can do is extensive.  

How does it happen?

Information can be stolen in a lot of different ways. It doesn't necessarily happen over the internet in all cases either! Your mailbox and garbage could be targets. Purchasing an at home paper shred machine could help with disposing of critical information. A locking mailbox can also discourage theft. 

What can I do to protect myself? 

So what can you do to protect yourself? The answer is: Many different things. Keeping an eye on your accounts is a great way to start. We offer Internet Banking and even have a Mobile App so you can monitor what goes in and comes out of your account no matter where you are. For further protection, it's also a good idea to start with a credit monitoring service if you don't already have one. If you are an account holder on one of our FSB Secure accounts, you already have access to IDProtect, one of the leaders in credit monitoring. These are ways that we can help you directly, but a lot of the fight depends on you! Stay vigilant.  

Helpful tips to protect yourself: 

  • Change all your passwords regularly. Use a mix of letters, numbers and special characters. Keep passwords memorized, or stored in a safe location.  
  • Never share your passwords with anyone! FSB will never ask for your password via email or by telephone! Sharing your password will provide the recipient full access to your internet banking. Please be cautious of giving out this information. 
  • Guard your PIN # at ATMS, POS systems or Gas Satation Pumps. 
  • Gas Stations have been hit hard with 'skimming'. Skimming is when a device is attached to the pump's card reader, or even the entire face of the gas pump is replaced to acquire your card information. Next time you fill up, make sure to check out the card reader to ensure it is safe. If you aren't sure, go inside and pre-pay. 
  • Never write your PIN # down anywhere in your purse or wallet. 
  • Never provide personal information over the phone, unless you initiated contact. If a caller asks you for personal information that was not initiated by you to begin with, tell them you will call back. Look up the number online for the company.  Do not call a number provided by an email, always look up phone numbers independently, to ensure you are calling the legitimate organization. 
  • Do not use your credit/debit cards on the internet unless the site has a secured, encrypted system. The URL at the top of the site will say 'https' or have a lock incon before the web address. This tells you that the site is secured. 
  • Have checks delivered to your bank, or post office box instead of a home address. Mailboxes have been a target for theft. 
  • Monitor your credit report with all three agencies and review them carefully. Report any discrepancies in writing to each agency and explain. 
  • Shred all personal documents and any unwanted mail with sensitive information. Criminals often look through garbage for mail. 
  • Do not carry extra credit cards or your social security card in your wallet! Our branches have safe deposit boxes that can store these items safely!  
  • Should your information be stolen and you are offered a year of free credit monitoring, please keep in mind that criminals know companies offer this promotion. Often times they will hold on to your information for longer than a year to utilize once that service has ended. Our Secure Checking Accounts come with credit monitoring to keep you secure long after a year is done! 

I suspect my information has been compromised. What should I do?

  • Immediately call us at 406-642-2022. 
  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission's Identity Theft Hotline: 1-877-ID-THEFT ( 877-438-4338)
  • Call the three main credit bureaus to get copies of your credit report. Ask them to add fraud flags and statements to your report letting all potential creditors know they should contact you to verify credit appliocations. 
  • Notify local law enforecement to file a report. 
  • Report the theft of mail to your local postal inspector. Please call us at 642-3431 to stop mail during vacation. 

Credit Agencies

You are entitled to a free credit report if you are the victim of identity theft, have been denied credit, receive welfare or are unemployed. Contact one of the following credit reporting agencies to report the fraud and ask about putting a fraud alert on your record. 

Equifax: To order a report, call 1-800-685-1111 or write P.O.Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241. To report fraud, call 1-800-525-6285 or write P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

Experian: To order a report or to report fraud, call 1-888-397-3742 or write P.O. Box 949, Allen, TX 75013-0949

Trans Union: To order a report, call 1-800-916-8800 or write P.O. Box 1000, Chester, PA 19022. To report fraud, call 1-800-680-7289 or write Fraud Victim Assistance Division, PO Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92384. 

Farmers State Bank Can Help!

Call us today for information on our Secure Checking Accounts, ID Protect, Internet Banking and our Mobile App! We want to help you stay safe online! We have included links to helpful tips to stay protected on this page. These are meant to be educational tools, but are not necessarily the views of Farmers State Bank.