Sometimes unscrupulous people attempt to get personal or
private financial information from our customers by claiming to be
First State Bank of Forsyth or even a government agency. We urge you
to be extremely careful. Please know that this bank will NOT ask for
any personal or private information over the telephone or internet.
We will never ask you to send personal or confidential information
Five Things to Avoid to Improve
Your Online Security
The tremendous conveniences of online banking unfortunately are
accompanied by certain pitfalls. Avoid these weak online banking
links in your security chain. Remember, the chain is only as
strong as the weakest link.
1. Using passwords too easy to guess
2. Re-using passwords
3. Selling/recycling/donating smart phones “as is,”
re-setting them to factory initial settings
4. Downloading apps from unverified sources
5. Clicking on unknown links in emails
Be aware of Fraud
What is ‘Phishing’?
- Cyber crimes, like phishing, costs consumers, businesses, and
the government billions of dollars every year. While only 9% of
all information breaches involve the use of the Internet the
Federal Trade Commission reports there were already almost 10
million victims of identity theft each year and the potential
for fraud grows every day.
- To counteract the growing threat, the Federal Trade
Commission’s maintains OnGuard Online, a web site that has
information concerning Identity Theft, Internet Auctions,
Spyware, Wireless Network Security, Phishing, Social Networking
Sites, SPAM Scams, Online Shopping Security, Peer to Peer (P2P)
File Sharing, VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol), and Cross
- The OnGuard Online web site includes resources like videos,
tutorials, and interactive activities to educate adults and
children in the dangers of internet borne thieves and scammers.
- We encourage all of our customers to visit OnGuard Online. We
encourage you watch the videos and take the quizzes so that you
will be better prepared for the new frontier of cyberspace. The
World Wide Web is wonderful place with amazing potential. Just
don’t get caught off guard by the bad guys
The FTC, the nation’s consumer protection agency, suggests these
tips to help you avoid getting hooked by a phishing scam:
- Phishing is a high-tech scam that uses spam or pop-up messages
to deceive you into disclosing your credit card numbers, bank
account information, Social Security Number, passwords, or other
- According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), phishers send
an email or pop-up message that claims to be from a business or
organization that you deal with – for example, your Internet
service provider (ISP), your bank, online payment service, or
even a government agency. The message usually says that you need
to “update” or “validate” your account information. It might
threaten some dire consequences if you don’t respond. The
message directs you to a website that looks just like a
legitimate organization’s site, but it isn’t. The purpose of the
bogus site? To trick you into divulging your personal
information so the operators can steal your identity and run up
bills or commits crimes in your name.
Report suspicious activity to the FTC. If you get spam that is
phishing for information, forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you
believe you’ve been scammed, file your complaint at www.ftc.gov,
and then visit the FTC’s Identity Theft Web site at
learn how to minimize your risk of damage from ID theft. Visit
www.ftc.gov/spam to learn other ways to avoid email scams and
deal with deceptive spam.
- If you get an email or pop-up message that asks for personal
or financial information, do not reply or click on the link in
the message. Legitimate companies don’t ask for this information
via email. If you are concerned about your account, contact the
organization in the email using a telephone number you know to
be genuine, or open a new Internet browser session and type in
the company’s correct Web address. In any case, don’t cut and
paste the link in the message.
- Don’t email personal or financial information. Email is not a
secure method of transmitting personal information. If you
initiate a transaction and want to provide your personal or
financial information through an organization’s website, look
for indicators that the site is secure, like a lock icon on the
browser’s status bar or a URL for a website that begins “https:”
(the “s” stands for “secure”). Unfortunately, no indicator is
foolproof; some phishers have forged security icons.
- Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you
receive them to determine whether there are any unauthorized
charges. If your statement is late by more than a couple of
days, call your credit card company or bank to confirm your
billing address and account balances.
- Use anti-virus software and keep it up to date. Some phishing
emails contain software that can harm your computer or track
your activities on the Internet without your knowledge.
Anti-virus software and a firewall can protect you from
inadvertently accepting such unwanted files. Anti-virus software
scans incoming communications for troublesome files. Look for
anti-virus software that recognizes current viruses as well as
older ones; that can effectively reverse the damage; and that
- A firewall helps make you invisible on the Internet and blocks
all communications from unauthorized sources. It’s especially
important to run a firewall if you have a broadband connection.
Finally, your operating system (like Windows or Linux) may offer
free software “patches” to close holes in the system that
hackers or phishers could exploit.
- Be cautious about opening any attachment or downloading any
files from emails you receive, regardless of who sent them.
The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive
and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide
information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To
file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues,
visit www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP
(1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet,
telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related
complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database
available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement
agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
Protecting Your Cards
The best protections against card fraud are to know where your
cards are at all times and to keep them secure. For protection
of ATM and debit cards that involve a Personal Identification
Number (PIN), keep your PIN a secret. Don't use your address,
birth date, phone or Social Security number as the PIN and do
memorize the number.
The following suggestions may help you protect your credit card
and your ATM or debit card accounts.
For Credit and ATM or Debit Cards:
For ATM or debit cards:
- Be cautious about disclosing your account number over the
phone unless you know you're dealing with a reputable company.
- Never put your account number on the outside of an envelope or
on a postcard.
- Draw a line through blank spaces on charge or debit slips
above the total so the amount cannot be changed.
- Don't sign a blank charge or debit slip.
- Tear up carbons and save your receipts to check against your
- Cut up old cards - cutting through the account number - before
disposing of them.
- Open monthly statements promptly and compare them with your
receipts. Report mistakes or discrepancies as soon as possible
to the special address listed on your statement for inquiries.
Under the FCBA (credit cards) and the EFTA (ATM or debit cards),
the card issuer must investigate errors reported to them within
60 days of the date your statement was mailed to you.
- Keep a record - in a safe place separate from your cards - of
your account numbers, expiration dates, and the telephone
numbers of each card issuer so you can report a loss quickly.
- Carry only those cards that you anticipate you'll need.
- Don't carry your PIN in your wallet or purse or write it on
your ATM or debit card.
- Never write your PIN on the outside of a deposit slip, an
envelope, or other papers that could be easily lost or seen.
- Carefully check ATM or debit card transactions before you
enter the PIN or before you sign the receipt; the funds for this
item will be fairly quickly transferred out of your checking or
other deposit account.
- Periodically check your account activity. This is particularly
important if you bank online. Compare the current balance and
recent withdrawals or transfers to those you've recorded,
including your current ATM and debit card withdrawals and
purchases and your recent checks. If you notice transactions you
didn't make, or if your balance has dropped suddenly without
activity by you, immediately report the problem to your card
issuer. Someone may have co-opted your account information to