EDUCATION


Education is the first step in protecting your business against most types of fraud, scams, and identity theft. Having the knowledge to identify today’s common fraudulent acts will minimize the possibility of falling victim to one.
 
Fraud
Fraud is a criminal deception resulting in financial gain. Whenever a victim’s personal or financial information is being used without their knowledge, it is considered fraud. Methods used to attempt fraud include:
 
  • Theft, forgery, alteration, or misuse of checks
  • Debit card fraud
  • Embezzlement
  • A successful, executed scam
  • Use of personal identification to commit identity theft
 
Embezzlement
Business fraud is not only committed externally, it can also be an issue with current employees. Some key factors to help detect internal company fraud and embezzlement include:
 
  • Unusual behavior. An employee starting to keep to themselves when they typically are open and friendly can raise a red flag. Or if they never take vacation or sick time in fear of being caught.
  • Reconciliation issues. Missing deposits or checks can indicate issues with an employee. Be on the lookout for changes to a deposit, especially ones with cash.
  • Voided transactions. Voided sales receipts indicate that the initial sale was rung up and the business received payment, however, the payment is now in the pocket of the employee rather than reimbursed to the customer. A voided receipt can be used to cover up theft.
  • Excessive refunds. Sales employees can create phony refunds to receive the money for themselves, rather than the customer. If the refund is in the form of a check, be on the look out for similar names or addresses to find a commonality for possible fraud.
  • Out of Balance. Whether it is your general ledger, daily sales reports, or inventory lists, if the books are not reconciling, there could be a possible issue of theft.
  • Employee expenses. If your business reimburses employees for out-of-pocket expenses pertaining to the business, be sure to scrutinize every receipt and expense report. If a reimbursement receipt does not seem right, be sure to look into it to be sure an employee isn’t covering something up.
  • Overtime. Altering time sheets to indicate the employee worked a longer shift than they really did to benefit from overtime payment.
 
Scams
In the financial industry a scam is a scheme perpetrated by criminals to deceive an individual or business owner and defraud them of their money. The individual or business owner is tricked into believing in a situation, and the scammer then walks away with the money, leaving the victim with not only a loss of their money but also their dignity. Scammers use all forms of contact and are constantly reinventing new ways to commit old schemes.
Some common scammer tactics include:
 
  • Scammers pretend to be someone you trust. They make themselves seem believable by pretending to be a friend, family member, or even connected with a company you know or a government agency.
  • Scammers create a sense of urgency. They rush you into making a quick decision before you look into it.
  • Scammers use intimidation and fear. They tell you that something terrible is about to happen to get you to send a payment before you have a chance to check out their claims.
  • Scammers use untraceable payment methods. They often want payment through money transfer services, cash, reloadable cards, or gift cards that are nearly impossible to reverse or track.
 
Identity Theft
Identity theft is a federal crime when a person’s identification is compromised and used by another individual for unlawful activities. They may open credit cards, loans, or bank accounts in your name using your information. With success, they may be able to deplete the funds of your bank and retirement accounts. Unfortunately, you may not know that identity theft has happened until it is too late.
 
If you believe your identity has been stolen, visit our Identity Theft Resolution section for instructions on how to report your stolen identity.
 
More Resources
Knowing how to protect your information from fraud, scams, and identity theft as well as recognize the warning signs that your identity has been stolen is essential. For more information, visit the following websites:
 
 
 

PREVENTION

 
Prevention is identifying how you can protect your business information from getting into a fraudulent financial situation. There are many things a business owner can do to reduce the risk of becoming a victim.
 
Internal Controls
When it comes to banking, utilize the following preventative measures for internal control:
 
  • Initiate a dual control practice for handling account reconciliation, outgoing payments, as well as deposits.
  • Reconcile accounts daily and monthly
  • Never sign checks in advance for convenience.
  • Review and update signature cards for check signing ability annually with your financial institution.
  • Review system access privileges for all employees and limit authorizations to appropriate ones.
  • Disable user IDs and passwords during extended leaves of absence and for temporary help when they no longer are with your company.
 
Protect Sensitive Information
Be sure that all sensitive information regarding employees, vendors, and/or customers is stored in a highly secured place. Not only is information at risk if not protected, your reputation is also on the line if your business doesn’t take care of its due diligence. If data is stored electronically, be sure to use strong cryptography and that proper configuration is in place. Scale down to the information that you must keep and properly dispose of information that is no longer needed.
 
Internet Banking
Monitor your bank accounts frequently and conveniently with internet banking via your personal computer or mobile device. With 24/7 access, consumers can uncover unusual activity quickly without having to wait for their paper statement. Internet Banking also allows for eStatements and BillPay enrollment, which reduces your environmental impact as well as your likeliness of your personal information to be stolen from your mailbox.
 
 
Alerts
Utilize alert services to inform yourself if your business accounts or private business information was used. Through First State Bank and Trust’s Internet Banking, alerts can be customized in many ways to keep our clients informed about their account such as a specific transactional event, balance alerts, and many more.
 
Fraud alerts can be placed on your personal credit report to notify lenders and creditors that you must be contacted and verify your identity before extending any new credit. The fraud alert protects you so that an imposter cannot use your information to open a credit card, an auto loan, or any line of credit in your name. The great thing about a fraud alert is that once you contact one bureau they will notify the other two. The best part? Fraud alerts are completely free.
 
To sign up for fraud alerts, visit any one of the three credit bureaus:
 
Equifax Experian TransUnion
Online: www.equifax.com Online: www.experian.com Online: www.transunion.com
Phone: 800.685.1111 Phone: 888.397.3742 Phone: 888.909.8872
To stay on top of today’s most recent scams, sign up to receive scam alerts at www.ftc.gov.
 
Credit Freezes
Not only can you place free fraud alerts from the three credit bureaus, you can also place free credit freezes. Also known as security freezes, credit freezes restrict access to your personal credit file, making it harder for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. Credit freezes can be lifted for free for when you do need to use your credit for legitimate purposes.

To sign up for free credit freezes, you must contact each individual credit bureau to have a freeze placed on your account. See above contact information.
 
Passwords
Update passwords on a regular basis and be sure to use unique passwords for all accounts. For First State Bank and Trust’s Internet Banking our minimum requirements for passwords are:
 
  • Must be between 6 and 25 characters in length
  • Must contain at least 1 letter
  • Must contain at least 1 number
  • May contain the following characters +_%@!$*~"+_%@!$*~
  • Cannot match or contain your NetTeller ID
  • Cannot match one of the previous 4 passwords
 
For a stronger password, we recommend the following criteria:
  • Length: a password with 12 or more characters is ideal
  • Randomness: a password with random characters is more difficult than using simple words and numbers
    • ex: 7uWqMJbuvZuC
  • Passphrases: a string of words, rather than a single word used as a password
    • ex: AllSquaresAreRectanglesButTrianglesAre3Sided
  • Utilize a password management tool to create, safely store, and easily use your passwords on your computer
 
Weak passwords often contain:
  • The word “password”, “qwerty”, or very simple repetition such as “121212”
  • Obvious information about you such as names, addresses, dates, and phone numbers
  • Single words with a simple number at the end, such as a single digit or year
 
Cash Management
Need more control of your business’ transactions? Consider contracting with First State Bank and Trust’s Cash Management. Through Cash Management, businesses are able to utilize extensive eBanking tools to not only make account management easier, but to also help notice if a problem, such as fraud, is prevalent. The following are security measures offered by Cash Management:
 
  • Multi-factor Authentication. Login requires not only user name and password, but you must also receive a PIN from a registered device to be order to access accounts online.
  • Positive Pay. Any check that has been presented for payment on the business account is compared to a pre-approved electronic list that is submitted through Positive Pay. Any checks presented for payment that do not match will result in an email notification to review by the Cash Management user. An image of the check is available to view online and a decision to pay or reject the item will need to be made.
  • ACH transactions. With the ability to generate your businesses own ACH transactions, this reduces the number of checks to be written as well as easily collect on funds receivable from authorized accounts.
 
Cybersecurity Insurance
Cybersecurity is ever more important in today’s world with the reliance of technology for not only individuals but for business consumers alike. Data breaches, business interruption, network damage, and other cyber incidents will always be an undesirable situation, however with Cybersecurity Insurance, the financial liability is mitigated from these occurrences.
For more information regarding Cybersecurity Insurance visit Valley Agencies Insurance or call 651.439.2930
 
Business Check Supply
Although electronic forms of payment are more and more common by today’s standards, there will still always be the need to have a physical check supply. Be sure to always used an established check printing company, and do not hold back on security features incorporated within the checks. Your business check supply should also be in a secured, locked up location with access by only authorized employees.

To order checks and other business banking products offered through Deluxe visit Deluxe or call to speak with a Universal Banker at 651.439.5195.
 
Shredding
Shred all financial documents and any paperwork containing personal information for proper disposal. To be more secure and environmentally friendly sign up for eStatements for all of your bank accounts.
 
 
Turn off your Computer
When a computer is fully turned off, there is no way for a cyber-criminal to be able to hack your business information. When not in use, conserve energy and your put your mind at ease by simply turning off your computer.
 
 

RESOLUTION


Protecting your business information from fraud, scams, and identity theft is critical, however, the smartest criminals may still be able to gather your information no matter how hard you try to defend it. If you suspect you or your business are a victim of a fraudulent crime or identity theft, below are some guidelines that should be acted upon immediately to best insure your protection:
 
Debit Card Fraud
Our Fraud Center proactively monitors our client’s debit card activity to protect against fraudulent transactions. When potential debit card fraud is detected, an email and text alert will be sent to the client with the option to confirm or deny fraud. If no response is received, the Fraud Center then tries to call the phone number on file for the client. If fraud is confirmed, they are able to block the card from any further transactions and are in touch with our Operations Department to order a new debit card.
 
Because of the Fraud Center’s procedures to help protect you, it is imperative that we always have your current contact information, especially your cell phone number and email address. If either of these change, please notify First State Bank and Trust and we will be sure to update your records.
 
It is also encouraged that all of our client’s add the Fraud Center to their phone contacts: 1.800.417.4592.
 
To report a lost or stolen Debit MasterCard® or ATM card, please call the bank at 651.439.5195 or 800.848.4897 during business hours. During non-business hours, please call 866.546.8273.
 
Suspicious Account Activity
If you suspect your business’ bank account information has been compromised due to unfamiliar transactions, contact First State Bank and Trust immediately at 651.439.5195. Our staff will help assist you in the process of closing your compromised account and reopening a new to protect your account information and funds.
 
Identity Theft
If your suspect someone has stolen your personal or business identity, act fast. Acting fast can help reduce the damage identity theft can cause. You will also need to stay organized with keeping all records and documentation for proof of your identity theft resolution. Here is what you should do if your identity has been stolen:
 
  • Contact the fraud units of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert and/or a credit freeze on your file. The alert tells creditors to follow certain procedures before they open new accounts in your name or make changes to your existing accounts.
 
Equifax Experian TransUnion
Online: www.equifax.com Online: www.experian.com Online: www.transunion.com
Phone: 800.685.1111 Phone: 888.397.3742 Phone: 888.909.8872
  • Report the crime to the Federal Trade Commision (FTC). Your information is collected and safely stored for worldwide use with law enforcement agencies. The FTC will also assist you with a recovery plan that is just for you and your situation.
Federal Trade Commission
Online: www.identitytheft.gov
Phone: 877.438.4338
  • Order a free credit report. Federal law allows consumers to pull their credit report from each credit-reporting agency once per year. Review your report for companies you have not contacted, accounts you did not open, and debts on your account that you cannot explain. For a free copy of your credit report visit www.annualcreditreport.com.
  • Close any existing accounts that have been tampered with or new ones that were established fraudulently. Be sure to have verification that all accounts have been closed and the fraudulent charges have been discharged.
  • File a police report with your local law officials. Keep a copy of the report for your files.
For more information regarding Identity Theft visit the following websites:
 
 
 

FIRST STATE BANK AND TRUST’S SECURITY MEASURES AND SAFEGUARDS

 
First State Bank and Trust holds security in the highest regard.
 
Privacy
 
Account Information
First State Bank and Trust will not ask for your banking passwords, and account information will not be released without positive identification from the client. Personal information will also never be shared within emails, text messages, or social media. We will never send unsolicited email containing attachments.
 
Internet Banking
First State Bank and Trust Internet Banking adheres to industry standards to keep your information safe, secure and available. All sensitive information is encrypted and run over secure connections that are monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For added security, you are required to change your internet banking password on a regular basis and keep the access information confidential.
 
Fraud Center
Our Fraud Center proactively monitors our client’s debit card activity to protect against fraudulent transactions. When potential debit card fraud is detected, an email and text alert will be sent to the client with the option to confirm or deny fraud. If no response is received, the Fraud Center then tries to call the phone number on file for the client. If fraud is confirmed, they are able to block the card from any further transactions and are in touch with our Operations Department to order a new debit card.

Because of the Fraud Center’s procedures to help protect you, it is imperative that we always have your current contact information, especially your cell phone number and email address. If either of these change, please notify First State Bank and Trust and we will be sure to update your records.

It is encouraged that all of our client’s add the Fraud Center to their phone contacts: 1.800.417.4592.

To report a lost or stolen Debit MasterCard® or ATM card, please call the bank at 651.439.5195 or 800.848.4897 during business hours. During non-business hours, please call 866.546.8273.

Change of Address
Policies are in place for changing mailing addresses on all accounts held at First State Bank and Trust. Identification verification is required so your financial information is not put into the wrong hands. Clients are able to change their address the following ways:
 
  • In person request with photo ID and signature
  • Online through your Internet Banking login
  • By mail with a notarized Change of Address form


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