The FDIC website is the place to go for all kinds of information about the FDIC and other topics designed to be sure you are financially safe and savvy. Click here to check out the Consumer Protection page. You will find several menus of information that will help you keep informed on FDIC Insurance Coverage, Financial Education and Literacy, Identity Theft & Fraud --and more! There is even a “Consumer Tip of the Week.”
We are always looking for tools that will help you maintain your personal information security. We like to search for and provide links on our Reaching Out page that will help you.
We have added 2 new important links:
The first takes you to a page within the Social Security Administration website where you can learn about security issues regarding your Social Security Number and find out what to do if you think someone is using your number.
The second takes you to Annual Credit Report.Com, the only government authorized site where you can order FREE credit reports from all 3 Credit Reporting Agencies. (Any email solicitation, pop up ad, or phone call requesting personal information in order to provide a credit report may be a scam to steal your identity.) The site also has links to information about credit reports and credit scores. You may also order a credit report by calling 1-877-322-8228, or mailing a request to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
We recommend that you order these to make sure that no one has obtained credit in your name, verify that the information on the report is correct, and just generally be informed about your credit rating.
We’ve discovered a government website that is filled with information about Internet Fraud, Computer Security, and Identity Theft. The site is sponsored by: the Federal Trade Commission, Homeland Security, United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Department of Commerce.
Click here to access OnGuard Online - your safety net.
We have a tip for you that may help reduce your junk mail!
Credit Reporting Agencies must allow consumers to opt out of their programs to provide your personal information to third parties. In plain language, you can have your name removed from their marketing list.
To do so, go to www.optoutprescreen.com. More information is on the main page of the site, and there is a button to click to start the process to opt out.
Are you ready for an emergency??
Would you be able to gather vital information about you, your family, and your finances in the face of an oncoming tornado? Would it be available to you after a house fire?
Here are some suggestions:
Suggested items for safekeeping:
Other valuable items you might want to protect with a safe deposit box:
Other items you might want in your fireproof or portable box
If you have an emergency, you'll have everything you need to get back on the right track. You'll get a whole lot of peace of mind, for very little time invested.
Protect Yourself From Identity Theft
Think of how many times a day you share your personal information. You may write a check at the local grocery store, apply for a credit card, make a call on your cell phone, charge tickets to a Milwaukee Bucks game, mail tax return or buy Midwest Express tickets over the Internet.
With each transaction, you share your personal information: your bank and credit card account numbers, your income, your social security number, your name, address and phone number.
In 1998, Congress passed a law making identity theft a federal crime. The U.S. Secret Service, FBI and U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigate violations of the Act. Persons accused of identity theft are prosecuted by the Department of Justice.
Wisconsin also has passed legislation making identity theft a felony, and criminals here have been convicted of the crime.
Consumer complaints about identity theft continue to grow. More than 40 percent of all complaints filed with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission last year were for identity theft.
Unless you live your life in a bubble, you can’t prevent the stealing of your personal information, but you can minimize the risks of this crime happening to you by following these suggestions.
If you are a victim of identity theft, take the following steps:
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the federal clearinghouse for complaints by victims of identity theft. Although the FTC does not have the authority to bring criminal cases, it can assist victims by providing information to help resolve problems that can result from identity theft. Should you find yourself a victim of identity theft, you can file a complaint with the FTC by calling toll-free 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338).
Most of us assume that thieves are only interested in the cash in our wallet or purse, when in many cases, they are more interested in access to sensitive information that can be used to steal our identity. Use caution and don’t be the next victim of identity theft or other financial fraud.
Provided as a public service by the Community Bankers of Wisconsin (CBW). Daryll J. Lund, President & CEO.
Spyware Prevention and Detection
The Internet has become a popular method for both conducting business and managing finances through online banking relationships. While most financial institutions and some individuals have taken steps to protect their computers, many firewall and anti-virus software packages do not protect computers from one of the latest threats, “spyware” – a form of software that collects personal and confidential information about a person or organization without their proper knowledge or informed consent, and reports it to a third party.
Spyware is usually installed without a user's knowledge or permission. However, users may intentionally install spyware without understanding the full ramifications of their actions. A user may be required to accept an End User Licensing Agreement (EULA), which often does not clearly inform the user about the extent or manner in which information is collected. In such cases, the software is installed without the user's “informed consent.”
Spyware can be installed through the following methods:
Behaviors Associated With Spyware
Spyware can be difficult to detect and remove because it:
Actions You Can Take to Detect and Prevent Spyware:
FTC (Federal Trade Commission) Warning: Beware of Internet Scams
E-mail and Internet-related fraudulent schemes, such as “phishing” (pronounced “fishing”), are being perpetrated with increasing frequency, creativity and intensity. Phishing involves the use of seemingly legitimate e-mail messages and internet web sites to deceive consumers into disclosing sensitive information, such as bank account information, social security numbers, credit card numbers, passwords, and personal identification numbers (PINs). The perpetrator of the fraudulent e-mail message may use various means to convince the recipient that the message is legitimate and from a trusted source with which the recipient has an established business relationship, such as a bank. Techniques such as a false “from” address or the use of seemingly legitimate bank logos, web links and graphics may be used to mislead e-mail recipients.
In most phishing schemes, the fraudulent e-mail will request that recipients “update” or “validate” their financial or personal information in order to maintain their accounts, and direct them to a fraudulent web site that may look very similar to the web site of the legitimate business. These web sites may include copied or “spoofed” pages from legitimate web sites to further trick consumers into thinking they are responding to a bona fide request. Some consumers will mistakenly submit financial and personal information to the perpetrator who will use it to gain access to financial records or accounts, commit identity theft or engage in other illegal acts.
To avoid getting caught by one of these scams, the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, offers this guidance:
Contact us for more information. Phone: 715-824-3325
At IBA we believe that you should never use email for any confidential
or sensitive information. However, we welcome your telephone calls any
time and you can safely use the “Bank Mail” feature when
you’re using our on-line banking web site. Click
here to log on.
There is great information on the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) website you should check out - especially you would like to save money for a house, retirement or even just for a rainy day.
Here’s FDIC description of the service:
“Helping Seniors Remain Fiscally Fit: How-To Guide to Money
Management for Seniors and Families Available from the FDIC"
“To help make the information in this special edition widely available to the public, the FDIC is providing single copies free of charge through the Federal Citizen Information Center and is encouraging financial institutions, retirement communities, government agencies, consumer groups, the media and others to reprint the new guide. See the Web site above for more details.
“The goal of FDIC Consumer News is to deliver timely, reliable and innovative tips and information on financial matters, free of charge. Current and past issues are posted on our Web site at: www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/news/index.html.”
Consumer Tips from Your Community Banker
Like vacationers packing for a cruise or workers buying a wardrobe for a new job, students beginning their freshman year at college are rightly excited about the journey they are about to begin. In addition to planning their technology needs and dorm room furnishings, new students might consider a variety of financial topics they will possibly face for the first time. During their early college years, students can benefit from setting aside even an hour or two to plan their finances, including these topics:
Careful planning during the first year of college can prevent personal financial crises and set the stage for a lifetime of good financial habits.
One useful financial aid resource is the Wisconsin Higher Education Aids Board (HEAB): www.heab.state.wi.us.
10 Tips for Organizing Your Finances
By Kurt Bauer
Review your credit report. It's free. Annually, every citizen can access one copy of their credit report at each of the three national credit reporting agencies at no cost. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call 877/322-8228 to do so. Start off the New Year by reviewing your credit history for mistakes or signs of identity theft. This should be done every year.
Track expenses, eliminate wasteful spending . Make this the year you live below your means, not above. The weekly trip to the grocery store can be a good first step to eliminating excessive spending. Start by buying some generic items instead of name brands, use coupons and cut back on expensive junk food. Help grow your wallet and shrink your waistline.
Understand the difference between needs and wants. Be honest with yourself. Do you really need that new TV or new pair of shoes?
Set a realistic budget and goals. Keep monthly records of your spending and living expenses so you'll spot places where you can save.
Decide what you want to save for and do it. Maybe it's a home, retirement or your child's education. Write down your goals and create a plan to achieve them.
Save for yourself. If you don't currently save, start small by opening a savings account and saving $25 a month. Deposit this money before you pay your bills. Another idea is to save your spare change and then every six months, take your change to the bank and deposit it in your savings account. Those pennies, nickels and dimes add up fast.
Get organized and pay your bills on time. Keep ATM receipts, bills, and tax records organized in labeled files. This will help you stay on track with your budget and make it easier when it's time to pay bills. It's important to maintain a good credit rating by paying your bills on or before the due date.
Get out of debt. Pay off credit cards. Start with the ones with the highest rates first.
Protect yourself. Don't be a victim of fraud. Guard your credit card, PINs and account numbers. Buy a shredder so you can properly dispose of statements, receipts and bills. Remember to never give out your personal financial information over the phone or the computer unless you were the one to make the first contact. Banks will never ask you to verify your personal information in an e-mail.
Review your bills and balance your checkbook each month. This helps keep track of your spending and alerts you to any fraud or mistakes in your account.
For more information, contact Cheryl McCollum at the Wisconsin Bankers Association at 608/441-1216.
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