Prevention is the best protection
Online scams and identity theft are rampant as people spend more time on their devices. But if you know what to look for, you can learn how to protect your accounts and avoid the damage that comes from online criminal activity.
FB&T is committed to helping our customers, friends, and families keep their identities and financial information safe. Be assured that we are always staying aware and educating our employees of such emerging threats. While we are doing our part here at the Bank, we want to offer you tools, tips, and information on ways you can protect your information at home and on the internet. Please know that we are just a phone call, email, or in-person visit away and are always here to help.
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal identifying information, like your name, Social Security number, or credit card number, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.
The Federal Trade Commission estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. In fact, you or someone you know may have experienced some form of identity theft.
The crime takes many forms. Identity thieves may rent an apartment, obtain a credit card, or establish a telephone account in your name. You may not find out about the theft until you review your credit report or a credit card statement and notice charges you didn’t make—or until you’re contacted by a debt collector.
Identity theft is serious. While some identity theft victims can resolve their problems quickly, others spend hundreds of dollars and many days repairing damage to their good name and credit record. Some consumers victimized by identity theft may lose out on job opportunities, or be denied loans for education, housing or cars because of negative information on their credit reports. In rare cases, they may even be arrested for crimes they did not commit.
Go to www.ftc.gov/idtheft for additional information, step-by-step instructions, and links to credit bureaus. You may also call the FTC’s Identity Theft Hotline, toll-free at 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338); TTY 1-866-653-4261; or write to Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau gives consumers four steps they can take to determine if fraudulent charges or debits have been made on their accounts:
CFPB Issues Consumer Advisory on Industry’s Data Breach – January 27, 2014
Other Cybersecurity Links and Resources:
Let us know when you will be traveling. Our debit card monitoring system analyzes transaction activity in order to prevent and protect you from fraudulent charges. One factor they use in their analysis is location. Debit card usage outside of a usual location could cause your card to be flagged or blocked. Just give us a call and we can make sure you don't experience any card interruptions.
Other tips to remember when traveling:
Your mobile device provides convenient access to your email, bank and social media accounts. Unfortunately, it can potentially provide the same convenient access for criminals. We recommend following these tips to keep your information – and your money – safe.
Don't become a victim of card cracking. Card cracking is a scam in where young adults are recruited to facilitate fraud. Click here to learn more from the American Bankers Association.
Elder financial abuse affects millions of senior citizens each year and accounts for billions of dollars worth of fraud. It is a type of elder abuse in which misappropriation of financial resources or abusive use of financial control, in the context of a relationship where there is an expectation of trust, causes harm to an older person. Seniors are more vulnerable to this type of abuse because they usually have funds from retirement and their life savings, and they usually have a more trusting nature than other age groups.
Some common perpetrators can include family members, caretakers, neighbors, friends/acquaintances, etc. The abuse can be through the malicious use of a power-of-attorney designation, inappropriate use of bank cards or checks, threats of violence, and withholding care for the senior.
The abuse can also be from impersonators; fraudsters contacting the senior for lottery/sweepstakes winnings, unneeded home repairs, law enforcement, charities, utility companies, and even people pretending to be their grandchildren.
If you suspect that you or a loved one have been the victim of elder financial abuse, call the police and your financial institution.
Recently, Equifax, one of the three national consumer credit reporting agencies, announced a major data breach. This breach affects approximately 143 million Americans. This is what we know according to Equifax: the data breach occurred May – July 2017, and the information stolen includes consumers’ personally identifiable information, including names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, addresses and, in some cases, driver’s license numbers. Approximately 209,000 credit card numbers and dispute documents with personally identifiable information for approximately 182,000 consumers were also stolen. There is no evidence of unauthorized access to consumers’ credit reporting databases.
To be clear, First Bank & Trust Company was not compromised and your information was not stolen from our bank. However, First Bank & Trust Company takes the security of our customer information very seriously, and we are providing you with the information we know about this massive breach and the steps you can take to protect your personally identifiable information if you so desire. Following this unprecedented breach, we are also asking our customers to be extra vigilant and report any suspicious activity in your First Bank & Trust Company accounts to First Bank & Trust Company by calling 580-572-2000 or visiting fbt.bank.
Equifax has established a website that informs consumers if they may be affected by the breach, provides additional information on the breach, and offers complimentary identity theft protection and credit file monitoring. This information is available at www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. To protect your identity and personal information, First Bank & Trust Company strongly encourages our customers to take the actions noted below.
P.O. Box 9554
P.O. Box 2000
P.O. Box 740241
You should also contact the credit reporting agencies to notify them of any suspected fraud or identity theft.
If you believe you are the victim of identity theft, contact your local law enforcement office and/or your state attorney general. Finally, you may also want to consider reviewing information about recovering from identity theft, which is available from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at https://www.identitytheft.gov/ or by calling 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338). The FTC also offers general information to protect your online presence at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/privacy-identity-online-security.
Equifax has established a dedicated toll-free number to answer questions you may have about the Equifax data breach and its effect on your personally identifiable information. You may call them at 866-447-7559.