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Important online security information.

Farmers State Bank wants to ensure the online protection of your personal and account information.

  • Farmers State Bank will not ask you to submit personal or account information via email.
  • For your protection, any email sent from Farmers State Bank including customer service emails or email alerts will require that you successfully login to our secure website at www.farmersstatebanktexas.com before entering any personal information.
  • If you ever receive an email appearing to be from Farmers State Bank that asks for personal information such as your account number or social security number, do not respond to the email. Please notify us immediately at the Farmers State Bank branch that is conveniently located to you.
  • Responding to E-Mail and Internet-Related Fraudulent Schemes: The number one rule...don't respond! Call or contact Farmers State Bank and let us know of the unusual email.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has received numerous reports of a fraudulent e-mail that has the appearance of being sent from the FDIC. For more information please visit www.FDIC.gov.

The Internal Revenue Service has issued several recent consumer warnings on the fraudulent use of the IRS name or logo by scamsters trying to gain access to consumers' financial information in order to steal their identity and assets. When identity theft takes place over the Internet, it is called phishing.. For more information please visit www.IRS.gov.

The FBI has issued several recent consumer warnings on the fraudulent use of the IRS name or logo by scamsters trying to gain access to consumers' financial information in order to steal their identity and assets. When identity theft takes place over the Internet, it is called phishing.. For more information please visit www.FBI.gov.

More people than ever are going online to shop and manage their day-to-day finances. In fact, according to a survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, more than half of all Internet users in the country - now bank online.

Most people find it faster and more convenient than driving to their local branch. It may also be safer: Because online account holders have quick, round-the-clock access to their account records, they may spot errors or fraud more quickly than people who wait to receive a statement in the mail. Here are five Internet security tips that will go a long way toward protecting you:

  • Check for Web page security before making a transaction. Check for a key or padlock icon at the bottom right of your browser window before transmitting sensitive information over the Internet. Make sure that the Web address or URL next to the icon that appears when you double-click on the icon matches the URL of the page you are viewing.
  • Keep your operating system and browser up-to-date. Make sure your computer is running the manufacturer's current recommendations. You can usually download upgrades over the web.
  • Be password savvy. Choose passwords that are easy for you remember but difficult for other people to guess - ideally a combination of letters and numbers. Change passwords regularly. Memorize passwords rather than writing them down and leaving them near your computer or in your wallet. And avoid using auto-logon programs or selecting "Remember my password."
  • Use anti-virus and firewall protection. Anti-virus and personal firewall software not only protects the data on your computer, but also prevents it from being used as a platform to attack other computers. Update it regularly: The latest versions will alert you when the manufacturer has updates available.
  • Back up your data. Back up your important computer files to a zip disk, CD, or USB drive at least once a month.

Something phishy going on. Phishing...pharming...spyware...worms...zombies...evil twins: They're sophisticated online scams designed to steal your personal information. What makes these hoaxes especially spooky is that they can be difficult to detect. Check out our list of some of the widely used online scams to protect yourself.

  • Check your credit report. Some studies suggest that as many as 80% of credit reports contain errors, so it's smart to check your report for accuracy. While many credit report problems result from simple mistakes, others could be a sign of identity theft.
  • Pay your bills on time. Staying current with your payments will go a long way toward getting your credit in shape - and keeping it that way.
  • Keep balances low. Even if you pay off your balance every month, try to use less than 50% of your available credit on any one card.
  • Pay off credit cards. Paying down your revolving credit - rather than just moving it around from card to card - is one of the best ways to improve your credit.
  • Use credit responsibly. People who manage their credit responsibly tend to have better credit profiles than people who avoid credit altogether.

Responding to errors and other problems quickly can protect your good credit:

  • Step 1: Contact the credit reporting agency (CRA) about the problem. The credit bureau must investigate the problem and respond to your complaint within 30 days.
  • Step 2: If you're applying for a loan, notify the prospective lender immediately. Tell the lender that you found an error and you are working to resolve it.
  • Step 3: Ask the CRA to send out a corrected report to potential creditors. Once the problem has been resolved, you can ask the credit bureau to send out your corrected report to anyone who has requested it in the previous 6 months.
  • Step 4: Write a statement if you can't resolve the dispute. If you disagree with the credit bureau's findings, you can write a 100-word explanation that must be included with your report free of charge.

It's your identity. Keep it that way. You make transactions almost everyday that reveal bits of your personal information - when you apply for a credit card, for example, or buy something online. These transactions usually require you to share sensitive information like your bank account and your Social Security Number. And unfortunately, this information is the stock-in-trade of a growing crime: identity theft or ID Theft.

Identity thieves try to use your personal information to commit fraud, make purchases, and take out loans. While victims usually aren't held liable for crimes committed in their names, they can spend months - even years - repairing their finances and credit history.


Tips to protect yourself. While identity thieves may try to access your personal information in a variety of ways - from rummaging through your trash to using sophisticated technology - there are some basic precautions you can take to help protect yourself from becoming a victim.

Thoroughly shred mail - especially credit card bills, statements, offers for pre-approved credit, and other sensitive information - before you throw it away.

Remove mail from your mailbox every day.

Know your billing cycles. Follow up with lenders immediately if you suspect a problem.

Keep your Social Security Number, bank passwords, or other sensitive information locked away.

Memorize all Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) and passwords. Do not write them down or keep them in your wallet or purse.

Cancel all unused bank and credit accounts.

Never give out sensitive information over the telephone, by email, on a website, or in person unless you initiate the contact.

Check your Social Security Earnings and Benefit statement once a year to make sure that no one else is using your Social Security number for employment.

Check your credit report regularly. You can order free annual reports from www.annualcreditreport.com.

Consider freezing your credit to prevent being a victim of ID Theft. Learn more about the latest Security Freeze Protection Law.

Remove your name from direct mail lists. Write to the companies you do business with and ask them not to sell or rent your name. To learn more about getting your name off telemarketing, direct mail, and email lists, visit www.dmaconsumers.org.

Limit the telemarketing calls you receive by adding yourself to the Do-Not-Call registry www.donotcall.gov.

Opt-out of receiving preapproved credit offers by calling 1-888-5-OPT-OUT.

Opt-in, opt-out, what does it mean? By law, all financial companies must offer their Customers the opportunity to opt-out - or tell the company that they don't want their personal and financial information sold to other companies and outside marketers. The catch: Unless you make a specific request, the organization is able to say that you have given implicit consent to them to share your personal information.

If you think your personal information has been stolen, it's important to act fast. The sooner you alert your bank, your lenders, and the credit bureaus, the less damage identity thieves will be able to do. Here are some steps to take as well as a list of helpful resources.

When it happens to you... Take the following steps immediately if you think you're a victim of identity theft:

  • File a police report. Make sure to obtain a copy of the report, so you can distribute it to lenders and credit bureaus.
  • Contact your bank and credit issuers. Once they're put on the alert, they can protect access to your accounts, stop payments on missing checks, change your Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) and online banking passwords, and open a new account for you, if appropriate.
  • Contact the three major credit bureaus and request a copy of your credit report. By law, they must remove any fraudulent activity from your file once they have received the police report. Request a fraud alert on your file, asking creditors to contact you before opening new accounts or changing existing ones.
  • Complete an Identity Theft Affidavit and distribute it to creditors. You can download the form from the Federal Trade Commission's consumer website. www.ftc.gov
  • Send a registered letter to all creditors where fraudulent accounts have been opened. Include a copy of the police report and ID Theft Affidavit. Request that the lender send you a letter of release to acknowledge the account is fraudulent.

Important contact information

Agency Name Phone Number Web Address
Equifax 1-800-525-6285 www.equifax.com
Experian 1-888-397-3742 www.experian.com
TransUnion 1-800-680-7289 www.transunion.com
Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Clearinghouse 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338) www.consumer.gov

To Report Fraud

Agency Name Phone Number Web Address
The National Fraud Information Center 1-800-876-7060 www.fraud.org
SSN Fraud Hotline Administration 1-800-269-0271 www.ssa.gov
FBI - NW3C Internet Crime Complaint Center N/A www.ic3.gov
U.S. Postal Inspection Service 1-800-372-8347 www.usps.gov

Check Verification Companies

Agency Name Phone Number Web Address
Fidelity National Information Services 1-800-874-7359 www.fidelityinfoservices.com
TeleCheck 1-800-710-9898 www.telecheck.com

Useful Resources

Source Title
FDIC - Special Consumer News Fiscal Fitness for Older Americans: Stretching Your Savings and Shaping Up Your Financial Strategies
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) OnGuard Online
FTC's ID Theft Consumer Education Kit
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse Identity Theft Resources
Identity Theft Resource Center Identity Theft Resources
AARP Free Online Seminar: Preventing Identity Theft

ID Theft FAQs

Question? Answer.
Am I liable for fraudulent charges? By law, you are only liable for $50 of fraudulent charges on your credit card. If your ATM or debit card shows unauthorized use, your liability is also limited to $50 provided you report the fraud within two business days of discovering it. If you take longer, you may be liable for up to $500 or more in unauthorized transactions. However, many banks and lenders offer more lenient policies, so ask for details.
What if my checkbook has been stolen? Contact the major check verification companies listed under Important contact information and request that they notify retailers using their databases not to accept your stolen checks. Also, the Shared Check Authorization Network (1-800-262-7771) can tell you if a thief has been passing bad checks in your name. Report check fraud to ChexSystems, a consumer reporting agency (1-800-428-9623).
What if my mail is tampered with? Check with your local post office to make sure that no one has filed an unauthorized address change. For more information about mail fraud and theft, contact the US Postal Inspection Service or call 1-800-275-8777.

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