October is National Cyber Security Month.When banking online, First Bank & Trust Company recommends that consumers take extra care to protect themselves by doing the following things:
- Monitor your accounts regularly. Make sure that all transactions posted are ones you have authorized. Report any suspected fraudulent or suspicious activity to your bank immediately.
- Look out for strange emails! Don’t respond to emails that claim to be from your bank (or any company) requesting your account details or passwords. Banks will not reach out to you over email to ask for your account details.
- Avoid clicking links in emails. It is usually much safer to log in to your bank website manually to ensure you are entering a secure site.
- Change your bank passwords regularly. Avoid using the same password across multiple sites and make sure you are choosing a strong password that is a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters. Avoid using any words or phrases that contain your name, initials or your birthdate.
- Enable two-factor authentication. Many financial institutions have added a layer of security for account holders. Two-factor authentication requires you to enter an extra verification credential before you can access your account.
- Disable automatic login. Do not allow your web browser to store private username and password information for your online banking websites.
- When available, only use your bank’s official mobile apps. And make sure you download apps from reputable sources such as the Apple Store or Google Play Store.
Additional information for becoming more cybersecure:
- Email fraud. If it seems too good to be true, it is probably fraud. Don’t believe that lottery awards staff or princes from a foreign country will contact you by email!
- Fraudulent payments. Be on guard against fraudulent checks, cashier’s checks, money orders or electronic fund transfers sent with a request for you to wire back part of the money.
- Unsolicited offers. Be wary of unsolicited offers that require you to “ACT FAST”.
- Stay up-to-date. Make sure your device is up-to-date with the latest security updates for your operating system – Windows, Apple IOS, mobile phone IOS (Apple, Android, etc.).
- Warnings and errors. Do not trust websites with certificate warnings or errors.
- Beware of email attachments. It’s never a good idea to click on an email attachment or free software from unknown sources. You could end up exposing your system to online fraud and theft.
- Sharing online. Watch how much you share online. The more you post about yourself on social networking sites, the easier it may be for someone to use that information to access your accounts, steal your identity and more. Protect your personal information by maximizing your privacy settings.
- Financial scams. Be aware of disaster-related financial scams. Con artists take advantage of people after catastrophic events by claiming to be from legitimate charitable organizations when, in fact, they are attempting to steal money or valuable personal information.
Equifax signed a settlement resolve lawsuits brought forward by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), state attorneys, and a class-action case relating to the firm’s 2017 data breach. Under the terms of the deal, Equifax will reportedly pay at least $575 million, and potentially up to $700 million in damages. The settlement will resolve claims made by the FTC, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a number of state attorneys, as well as a consumer-focused class-action lawsuit. The below overview is part of the settlement provisions.
Free Credit Monitoring and Identity Theft Protection Services
• At least four years of free credit monitoring of your credit report at all three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) and $1,000,000 of identity theft insurance.
• Up to six more years of free credit monitoring of your Equifax credit report.
• If you were a minor in May 2017, you are eligible for a total of 18 years of
free credit monitoring
• Losses from unauthorized charges to your accounts
• The cost of freezing or unfreezing your credit report
• The cost of credit monitoring
• Fees you paid to professionals like an accountant or attorney
• Other expenses like notary fees, document shipping fees and
postage, mileage, and phone charges
Free Credit Reports for All US Consumers
Products and Services available to First Bank and Trust customers
Proven, professional advice is just a phone call away. With the commitment of 1.4 million customers, LegalShield representatives are able to negotiate comprehensive legal services with dedicated law firms nationwide at a fraction of what they traditionally cost. LegalShield attorneys aren't waiting to get paid because they're prepaid, so they're motivated to treat all of our members and their needs equally. Visit LegalShield website.
MobiMoney is a mobile app that offers you a convenient way to manage your check card. MobiMoney enables cardholders to easily activate and deactivate your cards, receive instant alerts on your mobile devices, and limit usage based on location, merchant preferences, transaction type, and threshold amounts. These innovative features help reduce fraudulent transactions, keeping your cards safe.
Download MobiMoney(opens in a new window) for your Apple device.
Download MobiMoney(opens in a new window) for your Android device here.
Don't Be A Victim of Identity Theft
Identity theft affects millions of Americans each year. While it can take just minutes to happen to you, recovering from the financial damage and emotional toll it inflicts often takes years. Victims of identity theft can face issues such as lost job opportunities, problems with securing a loan, harassment from debt collectors or even possible arrest for crimes committed by the identity thief. To avoid these issues, First Bank & Trust Company brings you the Legal Shield Identity Theft Plan. Legal Shield equips you with the information and expertise you need to help prevent theft and resolve issues related to identity theft.
With the commitment of 1.4 million customers, LegalShield representatives are able to negotiate comprehensive legal services with dedicated law firms nationwide at a fraction of what they traditionally cost. LegalShield attorneys aren't waiting to get paid because they're prepaid, so they're motivated to treat all of our members and their needs equally.
To keep our customers informed, we are sharing descriptions of some scams we are seeing in this geographic region:
Please be aware that we have had customer reports of fraudulent charges to their checking account from a company called ScoreSense. They receive a pop-up on their computer. It may happen when they are signing into an online account, but that does not always have to be the case. The pop-up will tell them their account is locked and they need to verify all of their credit accounts. They are offered the service of ScoreSense. The customer can pay a $1.00 via their VISA Check Card to be unlocked and will then get reports from the 3 major credit bureaus. They do receive the 3 credit reports, but the fraudsters are also initiating a monthly charge of $29.95 via the VISA Check Card the fraudsters used for the $1.00 transaction.
Customers are being targeted by scammers who are calling customers pretending to be a bank employee, reporting there has been fraudulent activity on their account. The phone call shows a spoofed bank phone number, but is not coming from the bank.
The scammer then explains that the customer needs to enter his/ her pin number in order to set up a new bank account. The scammer will gain access to this account and can steal their money. One woman lost $2,000 in 30 minutes because of this scam.
Our bank will never call customers and ask for your PIN number or password. The best thing to do is hang up and call your bank using the published number to see if there has been an account issue.
Fraudulent Accounts Opened
Also, recently there has been an uptick in persons having credit cards/merchant cards opened in their name and with their Social Security number. Subsequent fraudulent purchases are made. This is an example of ID Theft. Please be sure to monitor your credit reports and your account statements.
You may receive calls claiming to be from Social Security, the IRS, Medicare or any number of other official agencies. As soon as the caller threatens you or demands that you pay them with a gift card or by wiring money, you know it’s a scam. Even if caller ID tells you otherwise – that’s not the government calling. Don’t be afraid to just hang up.
Grand Teton Credit Cleanup Scam
If you’re trying to clean up your credit, you will come across plenty of companies offering an easy fix. But any company promising instant results for a price is likely a scam. The FTC says Grand Teton is one of those companies. In its lawsuit, the FTC says Grand Teton tricked people into paying hundreds – even thousands – of dollars for so-called credit repair services.
A Good Resource
If you want to see what other current scams are impacting consumers, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regularly updates their website at this link: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/scam-alerts