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 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
  • A successful, executed scam
  • Use of personal identification to commit identity theft

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 could indicate that the initial sale was rung up and the business received payment. However, the payment could be in the pocket of the employee. 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 client. If the refund is in the form of a check, be on the lookout 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 business expenses, be sure to scrutinize every receipt and expense report. If a reimbursement receipt does not seem right, be sure to investigate 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.

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 inventing 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, 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, digital currency, 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:


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 are no longer with your company.

Protect Sensitive Information
Be sure that all sensitive information regarding employees, vendors, and/or clients is stored in a highly secured place. Not only is information at risk if not protected, your reputation is also on the line. If data is stored electronically, be sure to use strong security measures 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, clients 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 and reduces the risk of your personal information being stolen from your mailbox.

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.

If you suspect you have been a victim of fraud, fraud alerts can be placed on your personal credit report to notify lenders and creditors that you must be contacted 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. Fraud alerts are completely free and can be renewed every year.

To sign up for fraud alerts, visit the three credit bureaus:

Equifax Experian TransUnion
Online: Online: Online:
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 FTC Consumer Alerts.

Credit Freezes
A, credit freeze restricts access to your personal credit file, making it harder for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. Credit freezes are free and last until you remove it. When you need to use your credit card, the freeze will need to be lifted.

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.

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 12 and 25 characters in length
  • Must contain at least 1 letter
  • Must contain at least 1 number
  • Must contain the following characters +_%@!$*~"+_%@!$*~
  • Cannot match or contain your Internet Banking username
  • 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 using First State Bank and Trust’s Cash Management. Through Cash Management, businesses can utilize extensive eBanking tools to make account management easier. The following are security measures offered by Cash Management:

  • Multi-factor Authentication. Login not only requires a 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 checks presented for payment that do not match a pre-approved electronic list you submit will result in an emailed review notification. An image of the check is available to view online and the user can make the decision to pay or reject the item. Due to increase in check fraud, Positive Pay is a valuable tool for business clients.
  • ACH transactions. The ability to generate your business's own ACH transactions, reduces the number of written checks and allows for easy collection of funds receivable from authorized accounts.

Cybersecurity Insurance
Data breaches, business interruption, network damage, and other cyber incidents will always be an undesirable situation, however with Cybersecurity Insurance, the financial liability can be mitigated.
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, there will still always be the need to have a physical check supply. Be sure to always use 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 location with access limited to 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.

Shred all financial documents and any paperwork containing personal information for proper disposal. To be more secure and environmentally friendly sign up for eStatements. Visit our eStatements FAQs to learn how to enroll.


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.

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 close  your compromised account and opening a new account to protect your account information and funds.

Identity Theft
If you 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 by 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: Online: Online:
Phone: 800.685.1111 Phone: 888.397.3742 Phone: 888.909.8872
  • Report the crime to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Your information is collected and safely stored for worldwide use by law enforcement agencies. The FTC will also assist you with a recovery plan.
Federal Trade Commission
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
  • 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 enforcement 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 holds security in the highest regard.


Account Information
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 an unsolicited email containing attachments.

Internet Banking
First State Bank and Trust's 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, we suggest that you change your Internet Banking password on a regular basis and keep the access information confidential.

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 update your records.
It is also encouraged that our clients add the Fraud Center to their phone contacts: 1-800-237-8990.
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 888-297-3416.

Change of Address
Strict procedures 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 can 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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