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(from the FDIC)

PROTECT YOUR COMPUTER.  Install software that protects against malware, or malicious software, which can access a computer system without your consent to steal passwords or account number.  Also, use a firewall program to prevent unauthorized access to your PC.  While protection options vary, make sure the settings allow for automatic updates.

USE THE STRONGEST METHOD AVAIABLE TO LOG INTO FINANCIAL ACCOUNTS. Use the strongest authentication offered, especially for high-risk transactions.  Use passwords that are difficult to guess and keep them secret.  Create “strong” user IDs and password for your computers, mobile devices, and online account by using combinations of upper-and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols that are hard to guess and then change them regularly.  Although using the same password or PIN for several accounts can be tempting, doing so means a criminal who obtains one password or PIN can log in to other accounts.

UNDERSTAND INTERNET SAFETY FEATURES.  You can have greater confidence that a website is authentic and that it encrypts (scrambles) your information during transmission if the web address starts with https://.  Also, ensure that you are logged out of financial accounts when you complete your transactions or walk away from the computer.  To learn about additional safety steps, review your web browser’s user instructions. 

BE SUSPICIOUS OF UNSOLICATED E-MAILS ASKING YOU TO CLICK ON THE LINK.  DOWNLOAD AN ATTACHMENT, OR PROVIDE ACCOUNT INFORMATION.  It’s easy for cyber criminals to copy the logo of the reputable company or organization into a phishing email.  When responding to a simple request, you may be installing malware.  Your safest strategy is to ignore unsolicited requests, no matter how legitimate or enticing they appear.

BE CAREFUL WHERE AND HOW YOU CONNECT TO THE INTERNET.  Only access the internet for banking or for other activities that involve personal information using your own laptop or mobile device through a known, trusted and secure connection.  A public computer, such as at a hotel business center or public library, and free Wi-Fi networks are not necessarily secure.  It can be relatively easy for cyber criminals to intercept the internet traffic in these locations.

BE CAREFUL WHEN USING SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES.  Cyber criminals use social networking sites to gather details about individuals, such as their place or date of birth, a pet’s name, their mother’s maiden name, and other information that can help them figure out passwords – or how to reset them.  Don’t share your “page” or access to your information with anyone you don’t know and trust.  Cyber criminals may pretend to be your “friend” to convince you to send money or divulge personal information.

TAKE PRECAUTIONS WITH YOUR TABLET OR SMARTPHONE.  Consider opting for automatic updates for your device’s operating system and “apps” when they become available to help reduce your vulnerability to software problems. Never leave your mobile device unattended and use a password or other security feature to restrict access in case your device is lost or stolen.  Make sure you enable the “time-out” or “auto-lock” feature that secures your mobile device when it is left unused for a certain period of time.  Research any app before downloading it.


Ways to Protect Your ID

Under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) and Privacy Laws we are required to ensure the confidentiality of a consumer’s information. Here are ways a consumer can protect their ID’s from theft:

  • Monitor credit annually
  • Use a P.O. Box
  • Opt-out of junk mail / internal marketing lists / offers of credit
    • OR
  • Enroll in the “DO NOT CALL” registry with FTC (Federal Trade Commission); it’s FREE!
    • Register online:
    • 888)382-1222 / TTY (866)290-4236

TO DO LIST when your computer is hacked or phished:

  1. Change all passwords
  2. Run anti-spyware/malware and anti-virus programs
  3. Clear out private information in your internet browsers; clear out sensitive data from internet Temp Folder (clearing cache, delete history)
  4. Close online accounts, notify banks/institutions to obtain new accounts (if needed)

ID Theft Victim TO DO LIST

Take back your life in 7 Steps:
Contact the 3 credit bureaus; ask that they issue a fraud alert and attach a statement to your credit report, get copies from the 3 bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion - see below)

Review your credit reports thoroughly; look for accounts you did not apply for or open, inquiries you did not initiate, or defaults and delinquencies you did not cause

File a report with your Local Police or in the community where the ID theft took place; keep a copy of the Police report

Fill out an ID theft victim’s complaint and affidavit form; available from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at or (877)FTC-HELP {382-4357}

Close any accounts that have been accessed fraudulently; contact all creditors – including banks / credit card companies / other service providers where your accounts have been compromised

Stop payment on checks; if a thief stole checks or opened bank accounts in your name, contact a major check verification company to report the fraud activity

Contact the loan Postal Inspector; if you believe someone has changed your address through the post office or has committed mail fraud – ask the Postmaster to forward all mail in your name to your own address

Credit Reporting Agencies

To contact a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA)
Credit Information Services – Consumer Fraud Div. P.O. Box 105496 Atlanta, GA 30348-5496 Ph: (800)997-2493
P.O. Box 2104 Allen, TX 75013-2104 Ph: (888)EXPERIAN {397-3742}
Fraud Victim Assistance Dept. P.O. Box 390 Springfield, PA 19064-0390 Ph: (800)680-7289
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Home State Bank, 202 3rd Ave, PO Box 79, Royal, IA 51357 | 712-933-5511 | 877-474-5511 | FAX: 712-933-2397
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