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Computer Security is important to all of us.
Scammers, hackers, and identity thieves are looking to steal your personal information - and your money. But there are steps you can take to protect yourself, like keeping your computer software up-to-date and giving out your personal information only when you have a good reason.
- Use security software that updates automatically
- Treat your personal information like cash
- Check out companies to find out who you’re really dealing with
- Give personal information over encrypted websites only
- Protect your passwords
- Back up your files
Common Online Scams
Scammers use email, online ads, pop ups, and search results to trick you into sending them money and personal information. One way to outsmart them? Use your email’s spam filter to screen the email you get. Then forward any email that seems suspicious to email@example.com. Some common scams are: Work-at-Home Scams; Weight Loss Claims; Lotteries and Sweepstakes Scams, Fake Check Scams; Mystery Shopper Scams and MORE.
Malware is short for “malicious software.” It includes viruses and spyware that get installed on your computer, phone or mobile device without your consent. These programs can cause your device to crash and can be used to monitor and control your online activity. Criminals use malware to steal personal information, send spam, and commit fraud. Malware attacks in recent months have focused on small businesses causing costly losses nationwide. Don’t click on any links or open any attachments in emails unless you know who sent it and what it is.
When internet fraudsters impersonate a business to trick you into giving out your personal information, it’s called phishing. Don’t reply to email, text, or pop up messages that ask for your personal or financial information. Don’t click on links within them either – even if the message seems to be from an organization you trust. It isn’t. Legitimate businesses don’t ask you to send sensitive information through insecure channels. FBT Bank & Mortgage will NEVER ask you to send sensitive information via unencrypted email and we will NEVER ask you for your password. If in doubt about any emails received from FBT Bank & Mortgage call before responding. If you notice any suspicious account activity or experience customer information security-related events, please contact FBT Bank & Mortgage at 870-352-3107.
Common examples of Phishing Messages that should NEVER be responded to are:
- “We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure that your account is not compromised, please click the link below and confirm your identity.”
- “During our regular verification of accounts, we couldn’t verify your information. Please click here to update and verify your information.”
- Our records indicate that your account was overcharged. You must call us within 7 days to receive your refund.”
The senders are phishing for your information so they can use it to commit fraud.
For more information on ways to protect your computer and your financial information go to www.ftc.gov and click on consumer information.
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is a serious crime. It can disrupt your finances, credit history, and reputation, and take time, money, and patience to resolve. Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission.
Red Flags of Identity Theft
- Mistakes on your bank, credit card, or other account statements
- Mistakes on the explanation of medical benefits from your health plan
- Your regular bills and account statements don’t arrive on time
- Bills or collection notices for products or services you never received
- Calls from debt collectors about debts that don’t belong to you
- A notice from the IRS that someone used your Social Security number
- Mail, email or calls about accounts or jobs in your minor child’s name
- Unwarranted collection notices on your credit report
- Businesses turn down your checks
- You are turned down unexpectedly for a loan or job
How to Protect your Information
- Read your credit reports. You have a right to a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies. Order all three reports at once, or order one report every four months. To order, go to annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.
- Read your bank, credit card, and account statements, and the explanation of medical benefits from your health plan. If a statement has mistakes or doesn’t come on time, contact the business.
- Shred all documents that show personal, financial, and medical information before you throw them away.
- Don’t respond to email, text, and phone messages that ask for personal information. Legitimate companies don’t ask for information this way. Delete the messages.
- Create passwords that mix letters, numbers, and special characters. Don’t use the same password for more than one account.
- If you shop or bank online, use websites that protect your financial information with encryption. An encrypted site has “https” at the beginning of the web address; “s” is for secure.
- If you use a public wireless network, don’t send information to any website that isn’t fully encrypted.
- Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a firewall on your computer.
- Set your computer’s operating system, web browser, and security system to update automatically.
If your Identity is Stolen
- Flag your credit reports
- Call one of the nationwide credit reporting companies, and ask for a fraud alert on your credit report. The company you call must contact the other two so they can put fraud alerts on your files. An initial fraud alert is good for 90 days.
- Order your Credit Reports
- Each company’s credit report about you is slightly different, so order a report from each company. When you order, you must answer some questions to prove your identity. Read your reports carefully to see if the information is correct. If you see mistakes or signs of fraud, contact the credit reporting company.
- Create an Identity Theft Report
- An Identity Theft Report can help you get fraudulent information removed from your credit report, stop a company from collecting debts caused by identity theft, and get information about accounts a thief opened in your name. To create an Identity Theft Report:
- File a complaint with the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint or 1-877-438-4338; TTY: 1-866-653-4261. Your completed complaint is called an FTC Affidavit.
- Take your FTC Affidavit to your local police, or to the police where the theft occurred, and file a police report. Get a copy of the police report.
These two documents comprise an Identity Theft Report