Security Tips

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As mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets become more popular, hackers are finding savvy ways to steal information. American Bank & Trust WI urges consumers to be cautious when using mobile devices to do their banking.

It is important to take a common sense approach to mobile banking. Use caution on your phone just like you would a computer. If you are careful, you can really enjoy mobile banking’s benefits safely and securely.

Following a few simple steps can help prevent a big headache later. American Bank & Trust offers the following tips to help protect your information.

  • Avoid storing sensitive information like passwords and social security numbers on your mobile device.
  • Password protect your mobile device and lock it when you are not using it.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Do not type any sensitive information if others around you can see.
  • Log out completely when you complete a mobile banking session.
  • Protect your phone from viruses and malware just as you do for you computer by installing mobile security software.
  • Download the updates for your phone and mobile apps.
  • Use discretion when downloading apps.
  • If you change your phone number or lose your mobile device, let your financial institution know right away.
  • Monitor your account regularly and report suspicious activity to your financial institution immediately.

Tips to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Identity Theft
American Bank & Trust will not ask for your personal information through an unsolicited e-mail or telephone call.  If you receive an e-mail or telephone request to verify personal information from an employee of American Bank & Trust and are not certain of the validity of the request, inform the caller you will call them back using a number you have on record for the Bank.

Doing Business Online

  • When conducting business online, use a secure browser that encrypts or scrambles purchase information and make sure your browser’s padlock or key icon is active.  When submitting confidential information online, make sure the Internet address begins with "https."   This signals that your information is secure during transmission.
  • Use virus and spy-ware detection software and keep it up-to-date.  Use a firewall.
  • Protect your pin numbers and passwords.
  • After completing a banking transaction or purchase, close your browser as this will break the connection with the bank or retailer's computer.  Do not conduct purchases or banking transactions while multiple browsers are open on your computer.
  • Do not respond to emails warning of dire consequences unless you reply immediately; these are usually Phishing scams which are attempts to gain your confidential information.  Contact the company to confirm the e-mail's validity using a telephone number or Web address you know to be genuine.  Businesses with which you have conducted financial transactions will already have your information and will not ask you to verify via an e-mail. Do not open e-mail, attachments or links from unknown sources. 
  • Be alert for copycat Web sites that use a name or Web address very similar to, but not the same as, that of a real financial institution or business. The intent is to mislead you into clicking onto their Web site and giving your personal information, such as your account number and password. Check to see that you have entered the correct Web site address before conducting a transaction.

Reporting

  • If you receive a suspicious e-mail, report it or click the "report as junk" button on your e-mail program.
  • If you released or suspect misuse of your personal information to commit fraud, contact your bank and credit card issuers immediately.
  • If you suspect you have been the victim of identity theft, contact the three major credit bureaus and have a fraud alert placed on your file.  File a police report and ask for a copy of it.  You may need it to prove you are a victim of identity theft when dealing with companies later.  You may also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission's ID Theft Consumer Response Center toll-free at (877) IDTHEFT or www.ftc.gov
  • If any of your accounts have been fraudulently accessed or new accounts opened without your knowledge, contact your financial institution or creditor. 
  • Contact your bank whenever you have a concern or question about the privacy of your personal financial information. 

Keep Your Personal Numbers Safe and Secure

  • When creating passwords and PINs (personal identification numbers) do not use any part of your Social Security number, birth date, middle name, spouse's name, child’s name, pet’s name, mother’s maiden name, address, consecutive numbers, or anything that a thief could easily deduce or discover.
  • Shield the keypad when using ATMs or when placing calling card calls.
  • Memorize your passwords and PINs; never keep them in your wallet, purse, Rolodex or electronic organizer.
  • Get your Social Security number out of circulation and release it only when necessary —for example, on tax forms and employment records, or for banking, stock and property transactions.
  • Do not have your Social Security number printed on your checks, and do not allow merchants to write your Social Security number on your checks. If a business requests your Social Security number, ask to use an alternate number.
  • Never give your Social Security number, account numbers or personal credit information in response to an unsolicited phone call, email, or fax, no matter how official it may appear.

Review Your Information

  • Order a copy of your credit report from the three credit reporting agencies every year and make sure all the information is correct, especially your name, address, and Social Security number. Look for indications of fraud, such as unauthorized applications, unfamiliar credit accounts, credit inquiries, defaults, and delinquencies that you did not cause.

    Trans Union (800) 888-4213, Equifax (800) 685-1111 and Experian (888) 397-3742

  • Check your Social Security Earnings and Benefits statement once each year to make sure that no one else is using your Social Security number for employment.

Manage Your Mailbox

  • Do not leave bill payment envelopes clipped to your mailbox or inside with the flag up; criminals may steal your mail and change your address.
  • Know your billing cycles, and watch for any missing mail. Follow up with creditors if bills or new cards do not arrive on time. An identity thief may have filed a change of address request in your name with the creditor or the post office.
  • Carefully review your monthly accounts, credit card statements and utility bills (including cellular telephone bills) for unauthorized charges as soon as you receive them. If you suspect unauthorized use, contact the provider’s customer service and fraud departments immediately.
  • When you order new checks, ask when you can expect delivery. If your mailbox is not secure, then ask to pick up the checks instead of having them delivered to your home.
  • Although many consumers appreciate the convenience and customer service of general direct mail, some prefer not to receive offers of pre-approved financing or credit. To “opt out” of receiving such offers, call (888) 5 OPT OUT sponsored by the three credit bureaus.
  • The Direct Marketing Association offers services to help reduce the number of mail and telephone solicitations. To join their mail preference service, mail your name, home address and signature to: Mail Preference Service, Direct Marketing Association, P. O. Box 9008, Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008.

Check Your Purse or Wallet

  • Never leave your purse or wallet unattended – even for a minute.
  • Protect your PINs (Do not carry them in your wallet!) and passwords; use a combination of letters and numbers for your passwords, and change them periodically.
  • Carry only personal identification and credit cards you actually need in your purse or wallet.  If your I.D. or credit cards are lost or stolen, notify the creditors immediately, and ask the credit bureaus to place a “fraud alert” in your file.
  • Keep a list of all your credit cards and bank accounts along with their account numbers, expiration dates and credit limits, as well as the telephone numbers of customer service and fraud departments. Store this list in a safe place.
  • If your state uses your Social Security number as your driver’s license number, ask to substitute another number. 

Bank, Shop, and Spend Wisely

  • Store personal information in a safe place and shred or tear up documents you do not need.  Destroy charge receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, bank checks and statements, expired charge cards and credit offers you get in the mail before you put them out in the trash.
  • Cancel your unused credit cards so that their account numbers will not appear on your credit report.
  • When you fill out a loan or credit application, be sure that the business either shreds these applications or stores them in locked files.
  • Tear up receipts, bank statements and unused pre-approved credit card offers and convenience checks before throwing them away.
  • When possible, watch your credit card as the merchant completes the transaction.
  • Use credit cards that have your photo and signature on the front.  Sign your credit cards upon receipt.
  • Carefully consider what information you want placed in the residence telephone book and ask yourself what it reveals about you.
  • Keep track of credit card, debit card and ATM receipts. Never throw them in a public trash container. Tear them up or shred them at home when you no longer need them.
  • Ask businesses what their privacy policies are and how they will use your information:  Can you choose to keep it confidential? Do they restrict access to data?
  • Choose to do business with companies you know are reputable, particularly online.