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Put Your Identity on Lock-Down

Up to 500,000 individuals each year are victims of identity theft, a fast-growing form of fraud. "Identity theft" or "account takeover fraud" involves criminals stealing a person’s personal information. The crooks assume a person’s identity, apply for credit in his or her name, run up huge bills, stiff creditors and generally wreck the victim’s credit record.

At Farmers State Bank, we put a combination of safeguards in place to protect customers, including: employee training, rigorous security standards, data encryption and fraud detection. Fortunately, a few simple steps can help you avoid becoming a victim:

Don’t give your Social Security or account numbers to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call.

Review your bank and credit card statements as soon as you receive them to check for unauthorized transactions.

Shred receipts, old bank statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away. Criminals could steal information from your trash and use it to get credit in your name.

Protect your Personal Identification Number (PIN) and computer passwords; use a combination of both letters and numbers and change them often. Never carry this information with you!

Order copies of your credit report once a year to ensure accuracy. Visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com to download your free credit report once a year from Equifax, Experian and Trans Union.

Report any suspected fraud to your bank and credit card issuers immediately so they can start to close accounts and clear your name right away.