Protect Your Identity

Peoples Security Bank and Trust believes protecting your identity is very important.

Identity thieves are very real and very dangerous. They want your personal information such as your account numbers, passwords, Social Security number, and other confidential information. They can use this information to steal from your bank accounts, charge items to your credit cards, and for other fraudulent activity purposes. If successful, they can take out loans, obtain credit cards, and even driver's licenses in your name. They can do damage to your financial history and personal reputation that can take years to correct. Their goal is to use your identity for their gain.

The good news is if you learn how identity theft works and how to protect yourself, you can help stop this crime.

The links below are provided for you to learn more about identity theft. You will learn why protecting your identity is important, what you can do to protect it, and what to do if your identity is ever stolen.

FDIC Introduction to Identity Theft and Electronic Scams, Additional Resources and Contact Information - Identity theft, spyware, malware, phishing, what do these terms mean? This resource by the FDIC provides an online self-educational multimedia tool on how to prevent identity theft and advice on steps to take if your identity has been stolen.

OnGuardOnline.gov - This resource contains practical tips from the Federal Government and technology industry to assist you in protecting your identity.

What to do if you fall victim to identity theft:

  • Contact the institutions and/or companies where the fraud occurred
  • If you hold accounts with Peoples Security Bank and Trust, contact us immediately and alert us to the situation
  • File a report with the police department and obtain a copy of that report.
  • Contact one of the three major credit bureaus listed in our "Your Credit Rights" section below. Discuss with them whether or not you need to place a fraud alert on your file
  • Review your credit reports periodically and carefully
  • Report all suspicious contacts to the Federal Trade Commission:
Online www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft
Phone 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338)
TTY 1-866-653-4261
Mail Identity Theft Clearing House Federal Trade Commission 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20580

Your Credit Rights

PSBT knows your credit is important to you. This section is provided for you to learn more about your credit, your rights as a consumer, as well as the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions (FACT) Act.

Federal Trade Commission for Consumers - This site contains FACT Act education. Learn how you can obtain a free credit report annually, build a better credit report, better understand credit scoring, and more!

Federal Trade Commission for Business - This site contains FACT Act education, business credit education, and more.

AnnualCreditReport.com - AnnualCreditReport.com is the official site to help consumers obtain their free credit report. This site allows you to request a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer reporting bureaus being Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

If you believe there is a discrepancy with your credit report, or you are a victim of identity theft, you should contact one of the three major credit bureaus and discuss whether you need to place a fraud alert on your file. The contact information for each fraud division is located below:

Equifax Experian TransUnion
1-800-525-6285 1-888-397-3742 1-800-680-7289
PO Box 740250 PO Box 1017 PO Box 6790
Atlanta, GA 30374 Allen, TX 75013 Fullerton, CA 92634

Consumer Protection

Federal Trade Commission for Consumers - The Federal Trade Commission for consumers has information to assist you in protecting yourself as a consumer.

Password Tips for Online Banking

How can you make your password more secure? Your online banking password is the key to your personal and financial information. If criminals know your password, they can use it to steal from you or pose as you in online transactions. Here are some simple tips to make your online banking experience safer.

Criminals will always gravitate towards the easiest money. The more barriers you can put into place, the more likely the criminal will go elsewhere. The reason financial institutions implemented new login procedures, known as multifactor authentication, a few years ago was to add a layer of security and deter criminals from your online account. Criminals adjust and so should you. Here are some easy Do and Do Nots you can use to steer criminals elsewhere:

Do:

  • Install a reputable antivirus software program on all computers and keep them current. This is the single most important thing you can do to protect yourself.
  • Make your password as long and complex as possible.
  • Make it easy to remember, but hard to guess. Use a combination of letters and numbers you know, but would not make sense to others. Combine initials, important numbers and, if you are feeling particularly adventurous, a special character such as @ or # or $ or &. Use a mixture of upper and lower case letters. A good password could be 17dG$wm4. How can you make a similar combination work for you?
  • Use more than one password. Use a generic password for low-risk situations, such as a newspaper website where there is little risk to you if someone figures it out. Not every website warrants the same level of protection as your online banking website. To make your ever-growing list of passwords more manageable, consider using a general-purpose password for websites that do not contain personal or financial information, and a unique secure password for each website that does, such as online banking.
  • Use trustworthy computers. Shared public computers like those in airport lounges, Internet cafes, public libraries, and hotel lobbies could be connected to keystroke loggers or infected with password-stealing viruses. Do not use them to access online banking or other websites containing confidential information about you.

Do Not:

  • Never email your password. or respond to an emailed request for your password or other confidential information. We will never ask you to submit confidential information in an email. Email travels the Internet in much the same way as a postcard travels through the U.S. Mail. There is no "envelope" to protect the contents from prying eyes. There is never a reason for anyone but you to know your password. Requests for your passwords via email are most assuredly scams.
  • Do not include your login name in your password. Similarly, any part of your login name is a poor choice for a password.
  • Avoid predictable sequences of characters, such as "1234" or "abcd," in your password. Automated password crackers often start by guessing predictable sequences such as these.
  • Avoid dictionary words or names. Words in any language can be determined by automated password crackers that also contain multi-lingual dictionaries. Similarly, password crackers also contain lists of names used as possible passwords. No one else may remember the name of your high school sweetheart, but if his or her name is on the list your password may be vulnerable.