Education is the first step in protecting yourself 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

In the finance industry a scam is a scheme perpetrated by criminals to deceive an individual and defraud them of their money. The individual 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 investigate 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, re-loadable 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 and to recognize the warning signs that your identity has been stolen is essential. For more information, visit the following websites:


There are many things you can do as a consumer to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of fraud.

Personal Information
Never give out personal information over the phone, through the mail, or over the internet unless you have initiated the contact or know whom you are dealing with. Simply hang up, shred, or delete any unsolicited or suspicious contact with these individuals or businesses.

Internet Banking
Monitor your bank accounts frequently and conveniently with Internet Banking via your home 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 lowers 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 transaction, balance alerts, and many more.

If you suspect you have been a victim of fraud, fraud alerts can be placed on your 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 impostor cannot use your information to open a credit card, an auto loan, or any line of credit in your name. The best part? 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: 800.888.4213
To stay on top of today’s most recent scams, sign up to receive scam alerts at FTC Consumer Alerts.

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 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.

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:
  • Simple words such as “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

Credit Report
Federal law allows consumers to pull a free 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

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 personal 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 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 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 open a new account to protect your account information and funds.

Identity Theft
If you suspect someone has stolen your 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 your 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 of 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.

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 update your records.

It is encouraged that 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
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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