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Prevention Tips

  • Do not give personal information, such as account numbers or Social Security numbers over the telephone, through the mail, or over the Internet -- unless you initiated the contact or know with whom you are dealing.
  • Take Social Security numbers off your driver’s license and checks.
  • Check all account statements carefully to ensure all charges, checks, or withdrawals were authorized.
  • Watch your phone bills, cable bills, Internet bills, etc., carefully for any increase in charges. Pick up check orders at the Bank.
  • Pay attention to billing cycles and statements.
  • Cancel and cut up unused or “extra” credit cards.
  • Deposit outgoing mail in post office collection boxes or at the local post office instead of at home.
  • Promptly remove mail from your mailbox.
  • Keep important documents (passport, birth certificate, stocks, and savings accounts) locked in a safe or file drawer, especially if you have roommates or are employing outside help.
  • Shred old bank and credit card statements, receipts, copies of credit card applications, insurance forms, physician statements, checks and bank statements, expired charge cards that you are discarding, and credit offers received in the mail. Make sure account numbers, passwords, and addresses are unreadable before discarding.
  • Create passwords that make sense to you but are not the usual birth date, anniversary, or pet or maiden name.
  • Keep a written record or photo copy of the contents of your wallet or purse. Keep this record locked away. Don't carry your wallet with you when it is not necessary.
  • Before you type in your credit card number or any other account information, make sure that the web sites are encrypted, secure, and have a privacy policy.
  • Keep your purse or wallet in a safe place at work.
  • Never leave transaction receipts at ATM machines, on counters at financial institutions, or at gasoline pumps.
  • Order copies of your credit report.

  • What to Do if You Become a Victim

    Contact the Police

    Provide documentation (i.e., debt collection letters, credit reports, ID Theft Affidavit) to prove you are a victim of identity theft. Require that a report be filed.

    Contact Credit Bureaus

    Request that “Fraud Alert” be placed in your file as well as a victim's statement that asks creditors to call you before opening any new accounts or changing your existing accounts.

    Order a copy of your credit report from each credit bureau. Reports must be given free of charge to victims of identity theft. Review the reports to verify no fraudulent accounts have been opened in your name and that your existing account was not charged. Contact companies of unauthorized new accounts or pending inquiries immediately. Have them remove the accounts from their system. It is only necessary to contact one credit bureau to report identity theft because they all share a common database.

    Contact the Federal Trade Commission The FTC will file a report and assist you in referring complaints to appropriate entities, including major credit-reporting agencies and law enforcement agencies. Call 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338).

    Contact Creditors, Financial Institutions, or Utilities

    Ask if they have their own fraud dispute forms. If not, ask if your ID Theft Affidavit is sufficient. Close old accounts and open new accounts using new PINs and passwords.

    If your checks have been stolen or misused, contact the major check verification companies directly to request retailers who use their databases to not accept your checks.

    If your checks have been stolen or misused, you can find out if the identity thief has been passing bad checks in your name by calling SCAN at (800) 262-7771.

    Contact the U.S. Postal Service if your mail has been stolen.

    Contact the Social Security Administration if your Social Security number has been stolen.

    Internet Banking Safety

    Benton County State Bank Online Banking offers you an alternative electronic channel where you can manage your bank accounts and perform banking transactions over the Internet. Online Banking is available to all Benton County State Bank customers.

    With Benton County State Bank Online Banking you will be able to inquire about your account balances, transfer funds, view your transaction history, and even apply online for a loan and deposit account. You can view our full range of online banking services at ONLINE BANKING

    Online Banking offers you 24-hour access to your accounts every day. It is quick and convenient, allowing you to perform your transactions anywhere, anytime, and from any computer with access to the Internet.

    The Internet is a wide area network of computers connected around the world to facilitate data transmission and exchange. Due to the open nature of the Internet, all web-based services such as BCSB’s Online Banking are inherently subject to risks such as online theft of your Access Code/User ID/Username, PIN/password, virus attacks, hacking, unauthorized access, and fraudulent transactions.

    On Benton County State Bank's Internet banking you must enter your own Access number and confidential Online Banking Password every time you access the system. You must ensure that your password is known ONLY to you. You should change your password regularly and ensure that it is a combination of letters and numbers, and difficult for people to guess.

    While the Bank has put in place the necessary security practices and measures to safeguard against these risks, the Bank still is unable to guarantee the complete security of your transactions against any attacks.

    As an Internet banking customer, you play an important role in protecting your account information.

    Never access your Internet banking accounts through hyperlinks in e-mails, pop-up windows, or search engines.

    Be aware of unexpected hoax and scam e-mails with attachments, and be aware of suspicious web sites.

    Always access your account by typing the web address in the address bar of the browser or by selecting the bookmark for the genuine web site.

    Install personal firewall and anti-virus software and regularly update them.

    Never leave your computer unattended while logged on to Internet banking.

    Always log out of your accounts after you have finished your banking session.

    Never give out your password.

    Do not use your date of birth, phone number, address, or your name or name of a friend/pet/relative in your password.

    Change your password regularly--every two months is preferable.

    Do not use your Internet banking password for anything else (for example, e-mail)

    Always be cautious when using computers in public place. Do not leave the screen idle for long periods or leave the computer unattended.

    E-mail Safety Tips

    When you are making transactions on the Internet a common way that account information is stolen is through e-mail. Benton County State Bank will never ask you to e-mail information such as: personal ID, account numbers, or passwords. These tips will help you recognize a fake e-mail and protect yourself against them.

    Fake e-mails will often:
  • Ask for your personal information. Fake e-mails often contain a generic greeting, may claim that your information has been compromised, and request that you verify your account by sending information through an e-mail.
  • Appear to be from a legitimate source. Many e-mails appear to be from a legitimate address, but you should not rely on the name or address in the “from” field because this can be easily duplicated or altered.
  • Contain fake job offers. Some fake e-mails are from fake companies offering jobs. Often these jobs are work-at-home positions and are schemes to victimize both the applicant and the customers. Make sure that the company is legitimate.
  • Contain prize or gift certificate offers. Some fake e-mails promise a prize in exchange for completing a survey. In order to collect the prize you must provide personal information.
  • Link to counterfeit web sites. Many fake e-mails direct you to fake web sites designed to look real but which actually collect personal information for illegal uses.
  • Link to real web sites. As well as linking to counterfeit web sites, some fake e-mails will link you to real web sites. These web sites still collect personal information for illegal uses, but by using a real web site makes the e-mail appear legitimate.
  • Contain fake phone numbers. Fake e-mails often contain a fake phone number for you to call. Verify that the numbers are real before calling.
  • Contain real phone numbers. Some telephone numbers that are listed are actual phone numbers where the company has no knowledge of the fraudulent e-mail. Many fraudsters use real phone numbers to make the e-mail appear legitimate.

  • Online and Computer Security Tips

    To provide our customers with secure online access, Benton County State Bank continually works to maintain and improve our online security. To help you protect your own security, Benton County State Bank has comprised a list of tips to help you protect your computer and your account information.

    Keep your computer operating systems up-to-date.If your computer is more than five years old, its operating system (e.g., Windows 98) may not offer the same level of protection as newer systems. Manufacturers provide updates that help make your system more secure. Some updates are supplied automatically through e-mail or your Internet connection. You may also check your operating system's web site.

    Always use a current web browser. When you are working online, make sure that you are always using a current web browser. If you are using an older browser it may not be able to protect the transactions on Internet banking. You may need to upgrade your browser.

    Install a personal firewall. Though many office networks include firewall protection, many home computers do not have the necessary security to protect you. Check with your operating system to see if a firewall is already included before purchasing a separate one.

    Install and update anti-virus software. Anti-virus software helps protect your computer by reducing the risk of your computer contracting computer viruses. These viruses can compromise your security, and the anti-virus software program offers upgrades to protect against the latest computer viruses.

    Activate a pop-up blocker. Many companies offer free pop-up-blockers online. You should make sure these programs are from legitimate companies before downloading. This can protect you against fake e-mail sites. When you have the pop-up blocker activated, you may need to turn off the blocker to view some information that only appears on pop-up windows.

    Scan your computer for spyware. Spyware and adware are programs that look in on your Web activity and potentially could relay information to disreputable sources. Search the Internet for free spyware or adware removal programs. Make sure that the removal program is from a legitimate company.

    Use secure web sites for transactions and shopping. Be sure the web page you are browsing offers encryption of your data. Often you will see a lock symbol in the lower right-hand corner of your Internet window. Also, the web address you are viewing may begin with “ https://... ”. The “s” means that the web address is a secure address and uses encryption.

    Avoid downloading from unknown sources. Downloads from unfamiliar sources may have hidden programs or viruses that can affect your computer’s security.

    Disconnect from the Internet when not in use. DSL and high-speed cable provide a constant connection between your computer and the Internet. Disconnect the Internet to avoid unwanted access to the information on your computer.