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Fraud Prevention

At Security State Bank, the security of your accounts and personal information is our top priority. Recently, the Federal Trade Commission has warned consumers about fraudulent emails, pop-up advertisements, and phony web sites that attempt to trick people into providing confidential personal information.

Protecting Your Password

For your protection, we recommend that you do not share your online banking password, or give out your password by email or phone. "Phishing" is a term for hoax emails that look like they are coming from a trusted institution, like your bank, to try to get you to send sensitive information such as a password. Security State Bank will NEVER ask for your online banking password via email, phone, or pop-up window even if there is a need to re-set your account.

Tips for keeping your password unique and safe:

  • Length- Ideally your password should range from 8 to 14 characters; the longer the better. The maximum length for Personal Online Banking passwords is 17 characters. You can create a phrase for a password by using the space bar and combining words; it is often easier to remember.
  • Combine letters and numbers- Increasing the variety of characters in your password or password phrase makes it harder to guess. If you choose to only have 1 letter or number in your alpha numeric combination, as explained above, a longer password is recommended.
  • Avoid using look-alike substitutions of numbers or symbols- For example, don't use a zero to replace an "o" or a 1 to replace an "I". This is a common password design that malicious users are aware of.
  • Avoid using sequences- Don't use a well known sequence such as "1234", "abcd", or letters next to each other on the keyboard like "asdf". Also, don't repeat parts of your password like "cat12cat".
  • Writing down your password- if you choose to write your password down, make sure it is adequately protected in order to remain secure and effective. The best practice is not to write it down.
  • Do not allow your browser to automatically save your password.
  • Do not leave your computer unattended while you are logged into online banking.
  • Change your password regularly.

Check the strength of your password by using Microsoft's Password Checker. It is a non recording feature that determines the strength of your password as you type.

Online Banking Security Tips:

The login area for Security State Bank's personal and business online banking customers are on our home page. You will see a "lock" key on your browser frame and an "https" address as you would on other secure websites. Once your Username and Password is entered and the "Login" button clicked, your login information is transmitted via a secure connection into our online banking server.

To help safeguard your personal financial data, when you are finished with your online banking session either Log out or close your browser window to end your online session.

Online Shopping Tips:

The threat of identity theft and account fraud increases when shopping online. It is important to make sure your computer and personal information is protected against harmful computer viruses and people trying to steal your identity.

Below are some security tips to help protect your identity and account information:

  • When shopping online only use Internet merchants you know and trust. If in doubt, check with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Use secure websites for transactions and make sure internet purchases are secured to protect your account
  • information.
  • Never share any personal information through email or over the phone unless you have initiated the contact.
  • Avoid passwords that are easy to guess. Learn more about creating unique and secure passwords below.
  • Keep your debit card in a safe place and guard your Personal Identification Numbers (PIN)s.
  • If your debit card is lost or stolen, or if you suspect unauthorized transactions, contact Security State Bank immediately or call Fiserv Card Processing Center at 800-472-3272.
  • Review account statements carefully. Regular account review helps to quickly detect and stop fraudulent activity.
  • Keep your anti-virus protection software up to date with the most current versions and scan your computer frequently.
  • Avoid downloading programs from unknown sources.
  • Protect your online passwords and security questions.

It is also very important to make sure your computer has software in place to safeguard against the increased threat of viruses.

  • Visit Symantec's site to learn more information about defending you computer from computer viruses.
  • Visit Adobe's site for all the latest Adobe patches. This is especially important if you use Adobe Reader products to view PDF files as it helps protect against vulnerabilities associated with the tool.

Email Fraud

Fraudulent email activity is increasing. These emails may appear to be from legitimate companies that you do business with, such as your bank, an online auction site, or your Internet service provider.

These deceptive emails are called "Spoof Emails" because they fake the appearance of a popular Web site or company in an attempt to commit identity theft. Also known as "hoax" or "phishing", this practice is occurring more and more frequently throughout the online world.

You are often asked to validate or confirm your personal information by sending a reply, clicking on a link, or opening an attachment. These messages can contain viruses, known as "Trojan horse" programs, designed to record your keystrokes. These emails can also direct you to a counterfeit Web site that appears to be genuine.

Reporting Suspicious Emails:

If you do receive a suspicious email claiming to be affiliated with Security State Bank, please report it immediately by forwarding the email to or calling us at 218-927-3765. If you have entered personal information in response to a suspicious email, pop-up window, or direction to phony web site claiming to be Security State Bank, please visit the Federal Trade Commission's informative web site for advice on how to deter, detect and defend yourself from identity theft at www.ftc.gov/idtheft or call 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338).

How To Avoid Email Fraud:

With a few simple steps, you can help protect your Security State Bank accounts and personal information from fraudulent activity:

  • Delete any email without opening it, if you don't recognize the sender.
  • Be suspicious of any email that asks for personal information, requests your authentication, or indicates a problem with your Security State Bank accounts. If you receive an email like this, do not reply by email. Security State Bank does not request personal information from customers via email or pop-up windows.
  • Do not open attachments. Security State Bank does not send email attachments.
  • Only provide your personal information if you initiated the sign on process to your account at Security State Bank.
  • Use virus protection software and keep the virus lists current.
  • Keep your computer operating system and Web browser up-to-date.

Identity Theft

Identity theft is a crime in which the imposter obtains key pieces of information such as Social Security and driver's license numbers and uses them for his or her own gain. Victims are left with a tainted reputation and the complicated task of restoring their good names. There are four types of identity theft crime:

Financial ID Theft

This type of case typically focuses on your name and Social Security number (SSN). This person may apply for telephone service, credit cards or loans, buy merchandise, lease cars or apartments.

Criminal ID Theft

The imposter in this crime provides the victim's information instead of his or her own when stopped by law enforcement. Eventually when the warrant for arrest is issued it is in the name of the person issued the citation - yours.

Identity Cloning

In this crime the imposter uses the victim's information to establish a new life. They work and live as you. Examples: Illegal aliens, criminals avoiding warrants, people hiding from abusive situations or becoming a "new person" to leave behind a poor work and financial history.

Business or Commercial Identity Theft

Businesses are also victims of identity theft. Typically the perpetrator gets credit cards or checking accounts in the name of the business. The business finds out when unhappy suppliers send collection notices or their business rating score is affected.

No matter what type of identity theft is involved, the result is a long and sometimes arduous road to recovery. As in all crimes, preventing the crime from occurring in the first place is key. Security State Bank strongly believes that while it is important for consumers to take steps to decrease their risk factors, the business community must do their part as well.

Protecting Your Identity

How can you prevent becoming an identity theft victim? While no one can totally prevent this crime from occurring, here are some positive steps to take which will decrease your risk.

  • Check your credit reports once a year from all three of the credit reporting agencies listed below.
  • Guard your Social Security number. When possible, don't carry your Social Security card with you.
  • Don't put your SSN or drivers license number on your checks.
  • Guard your personal information. You should never give your Social Security number to anyone unless they have a good reason for needing it.
  • Watch for people who may try to eavesdrop and overhear the information you give out orally.
  • Carefully destroy papers you throw out, especially those with sensitive or identifying information. A crosscut paper shredder works best.
  • Be suspicious of telephone solicitors. Never provide information unless you have initiated the call.
  • Delete without replying to any suspicious email requests.
  • Use a locked mailbox to send and receive all mail.
  • Reduce the number of pre-approved credit card offers you receive by calling: 888-5OPT OUT (they will ask for your SSN)
  • If you live in a state that allows credit freezes you may choose this option.

If you believe that you are a victim of identity fraud, please follow the steps below:

Security State Bank

If you provided bank account information, you should contact Security State Bank and ask for instructions about protecting your account.

Contact your credit card company

If you entered a credit card number into a fraudulent email, or believe that your credit card has been compromised, you should contact your credit card company to cancel your account and alert them to the situation. Follow your credit card issuer's instructions for formally documenting the problem.

File a Police Report

File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place. Make a copy of the report and note the date it was filed in case your credit card company or bank needs proof of the crime.

File an identity theft complaint with the Federal Trade Commission

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) maintains a database of identity theft cases. Information submitted to the FTC is used by law enforcement agencies to assist with investigations. To file a complaint with the FTC, use one of the following options:

Web site: www.consumer.gov/idtheft Fraud Hotline: (202) 326-2502.

Contact Credit Bureaus

Report the fraud to all three credit bureaus listed below. Ask them to place a "fraud alert" on your file so that no new credit can be granted without your approval. Make certain to follow up with a written report after a phone call.


P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
Credit Report: (800) 685-1111
Report Fraud: (800) 525-6285


P.O. Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013
Credit Report: (888) EXPERIAN (397-3742)
Report Fraud: (888) EXPERIAN

Trans Union

760 Sproul Road
P.O. Box 390 Springfield, PA 19064-0390
Credit Report: (800) 916-8800
Report Fraud: (800) 680-7289

Annual Free Credit Report

AnnualCreditReport.com is a centralized service for consumers to request free annual credit reports. It was created by the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

AnnualCreditReport.com provides consumers with the secure means to request and obtain a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies in accordance with the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act).


Fake Check Scams

Don't be the victim of a check scam. The scenario seems harmless, but you could be scammed out of thousands of dollars. Someone sends you a check or money order. They ask you to deposit it to your account and then wire-transfer them the money minus a nice bonus for you, a "thank you" for helping out.

How Does the Check Scam Work?

The "pitch" stays pretty much the same, but it may appear in various disguises:

  • You're overpaid for an item you sold on the Internet and asked to wire-transfer back the extra dollars.
  • You receive a check and notification that you've won a foreign lottery or sweepstakes. You're told to deposit the check, representing a portion of your winnings, and wire-transfer $2,000 to $5,000 back to cover the taxes so you can collect the rest of your winnings.
  • A work-at-home offer promises that, in return for depositing a money order or check to your bank account, you can keep a percentage of the money after wire-transferring the rest.
  • Someone in a chatroom asks you for a favor: Just cash their check and wire-transfer them the money.

Regardless of the pitch, the result is the same , the check or money order you receive for deposit will be counterfeit. It will be returned to your bank unpaid, and the full amount will be deducted from your account.

Who is Responsible for Losses to Your Account?

You are responsible for any check or money order you deposit to your account. If it turns out to be counterfeit, or is returned unpaid for any reason, you are fully responsible for the loss.

Why Did the Bank Allow You to Withdraw the Money?

Federal law requires banks to make deposited funds available within 1 to 5 business days. Just because you can withdraw cash from your account shortly after depositing a check or money order doesn't mean the item you deposited is valid. It can be weeks before a check or money order is discovered to be counterfeit and returned to your bank unpaid. To learn more about common fake check scams or if you feel you have been a victim of a check scam, visit www.fakechecks.org.