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Identity Protection

We're committed to protecting your personal and financial information, and to helping you protect yourself.

How We Protect You

You entrust Bank Independent with invaluable personal and financial information, and we don't take that lightly. Each and every team member understands our deep commitment to protecting you and your data, so in addition to the layers of security technology we have in place, we've woven information security into our policies, procedures and practices.

Purchase Monitoring ;– Your Bank Independent Debit Card transactions are monitored 24/7 for fraud. If purchases deviate from your normal patterns, you may be contacted to confirm that you authorized the transaction. We may contact you by phone, email or text message.

Extra ID Verification – Whether you're at a teller line or calling Customer Service, we will request identification or ask you specific questions to verify your identity.

Online Challenge Questions – Online and Mobile Banking contain extra security features to ask challenge questions when you're accessing the system using a new device or from a new location.

Online Fraud Notifications – Our systems monitor Online Banking and Bill Pay for suspicious account activity.

Transfer Authentication – Enhanced verification procedures are in place to verify wire and bank-to-bank transfers.

Confidentiality Policy – Bank Independent will never share your information with a third party in an attempt to sell you other services without your permission.

Ongoing Employee Education – Our team members participate in classroom, online and on-site training to ensure that we understand the latest security challenges and are managing each threat appropriately.

Zero Liability Policy – With MasterCard®'s Zero Liability program, unauthorized debit card transactions will be covered against fraud when you promptly report your card lost or stolen and have used reasonable care in protecting your card from loss or theft.

Complimentary eStatements – Protect your identity with online statements delivered to a secure inbox, not an unprotected mailbox.




How You Can Protect Yourself

Prevention of identity theft and fraud begins by paying extra attention to the details, remaining aware of potential ;warning signs, and making it more difficult for scammers and thieves to access your information.

General Best Practices

Slightly adjusting your everyday routines or taking a few moments to prepare can help you protect yourself from identity theft.

  • Lock up your financial documents and records in a safe place at home.
  • Limit what you carry with you to only the identification, credit and debit cards you need.
  • Leave your Social Security and Medicare cards at home or in a secure place.
  • Be careful with your mail and take outgoing mail to a post office collection box, promptly remove mail from your mailbox, and request a vacation hold on your mail from the post office when you’ll be away.
  • Consider opting out of pre-screened offers of credit and insurance by mail for five years by calling (888) 567-8688 or visiting optoutprescreen.com. 
  • Shred sensitive documents like receipts, credit offers, insurance forms, expired charge cards, and similar documents before putting them in your trash.
  • Protect your medical information and destroy prescription bottle labels before you throw them out.
  • Exercise your curiosity by asking your workplace, a business, your child’s school or a doctor’s office how your information will be handled and who will have access before you share it with them.

Identity Theft Awareness

Keeping a close eye on all aspects of your finances can help you stay on top of suspicious activity. For example, you may be a victim of identity theft or fraud if:

  • You see unexplained withdrawals from your bank account
  • Merchants refuse your checks
  • You don't get your bills or other mail as expected
  • Debt collectors call you about debts that aren't yours
  • You find unfamiliar accounts on your credit report
  • Medical providers bill you for services you didn't use
  • Your health plan rejects your legitimate medical claim because records show you've reached your benefits limit
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name or you have income from an employer for which you haven't worked. For more information on protecting yourself from tax fraud, read this recent blog post.
Click here for additional tips for protecting yourself from identity theft.
 
Your Credit Report

Your credit report may show the first signs that someone has misused your information, so it's important to check your report a few times a year.

  • You have the right to request a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call (877) 322-8228 to order your report(s) or learn more about how you can receive your free report.
  • Credit reporting companies may charge you a fee for an additional copy of your report within a 12-month period. To buy a copy of your report, visit Equifax.com, Experian.com or Transunion.com.
  • If you see errors on your credit report, like accounts you didn't open or debts you didn't incur, contact the credit reporting companies and the fraud department of each business that reported an error.
  • Credit reporting companies must block identity theft-related information from appearing on a victim's credit report, but you must request this block from each of the credit bureaus.
  • You may request a credit freeze on your credit file. This means potential creditors cannot get to your credit report. The length of time a freeze can stay in place and the cost to place and lift a freeze depends on state law. Find your state's Attorney General's office at naag.org to determine applicable fees and how long the credit freeze lasts.



Cybersecurity

The explosion of cybercrime presents unique challenges for protecting yourself from identity theft and fraud, but there are some steps you can take to make stealing your information more difficult for scammers and thieves.


Best Practices
  • Use unique and hard-to-guess passwords that combine letters (both upper and lower case), numbers, and symbols, and change passwords regularly. Avoid using personal information specifically, the last 4 digits of your SSN or your date of birth in your password.
  • Install security patches and software updates as soon as they are released by verified sources. 
  • Sign up for security alerts to be sent to your mobile phone or email account. Set up alerts to be notified of changes to your account, personal information, or suspicious activity taking place on the account (like unauthorized card-not-present transactions). The most common method for fraudsters to take over a victim's account is by changing the physical address.
  • Avoid using unencrypted public Wi-Fi. SSL offers little or no protection when using unencrypted Wi-Fi hot spots. Read our blog post on the "Internet of Things" to learn more about safely managing connections..
  • Look for a padlock symbol, the word "secure" or a web address that begins with "https://" in your URL window to ensure that a website is secure before entering any personal or financial information on a site.
  • Be aware of impersonators. Never respond directly to requests for personal or account information via email, over the phone, or through a mobile device--including text message.

Phishing
Internet scammers casting about for people's financial information have a new way to lure unsuspecting victims: They go "phishing."

Phishing is a high-tech scam that uses electronic means (like email, text messages or even low-tech phone calls) to deceive you into disclosing your credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security number, passwords, or other sensitive information.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency, phishers will claim to be from a business or organization that you may deal with. For example, an Internet service provider (ISP), bank, online payment service, or even a government agency. They may ask you to "update," "validate," or "confirm" your account information. Some threaten a dire consequence if you don't respond.

Some links within emails or text messages may direct you to a website that looks just like a legitimate organization's site. However, sometimes it's really a bogus site with the sole purpose of tricking you into divulging your personal information so the operators can steal your identity and run up bills or commit crimes in your name.

Here are a few tips to help you avoid getting hooked by a phishing scam:

  • Don't open attachments or click links within suspicious emails--these actions often trigger the release of malware that can take over your computer system. Simply delete the email.
  • Never provide personal or financial information in reply to an email request. Legitimate businesses--especially your financial institution--would never ask you to provide this information through such an unsecured platform.
  • It's ok to ask a business if they really sent an email that you think looks suspicious. However, always call the business' published phone number, not one that appears in an email and could be fraudulent or redirected.
  • Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software on your systems and keep them updated.
For additional information about protecting yourself from phishing scams, check out our "Don't Be Lured In By Phishing Email Scans" blog post. If you believe you're being scammed, file your complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov.

Ransomware
A newer twist on the phishing scam is ransomware, a form of virus or malware that encrypts all of the files on your computer system until you pay a fee for the cybercriminal to give you access to them. Ransomware emails are getting more and more sophisticated and realistic, and have fooled employees of large corporations and government agencies into clicking a link or opening an attachment, in turn releasing the malware into the computer network.

The best way to protect yourself from ransomware is to be extremely diligent about opening attachments and links within emails. If anything looks suspicious, or you weren't expecting an email from the sender, simply delete the email.

Because some ransomware attempts to infiltrate your system through vulnerabilities in your operating system or programs (like these cited in a recent Bank Independent blog post), always accept and install system updates immediately when they become available.
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Report Suspicious Activity

If you suspect fraudulent activity within your Bank Independent accounts, please contact Customer Service immediately at
(877) 865-5050.




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Data Breaches

Organizations of all sizes, from local small business to national chain stores, can become targets of criminals seeking to access sensitive data to commit fraud or steal identities--commonly called a data breach.  While most data breaches occur when a cybercriminal illegally hacks into an organization's computer network, other data breaches are committed by individuals with direct contact with customers' sensitive data.  Unfortunately, data breaches are often not detected by these organizations until fraud is committed using the stolen data.  

How Data Breaches Affect You:

If you have used your Bank Independent Debit Card at a merchant or office where a data breach has been detected, your card information could have been collected as part of the data breach.  You could be at risk for identity theft and fraud.

How Bank Independent Handles Data Breaches: 

When you are notified by Bank Independent that a data breach has occurred, this does not mean that cybercriminals have accessed your sensitive data through Bank Independent's systems

Bank Independent is most often alerted to data breaches by our debit card processor's fraud division or through our own fraud monitoring. When we detect that our customers could be affected by a particular data breach, we often provide those customers with a new Bank Independent Debit Card with a new debit card number and PIN.  We then deactivate the card that was potentially compromised.

If you receive a letter from Bank Independent indicating that your card is at risk of being compromised, this does not mean that fraud using your personal information has actually occurred. We are simply taking proactive steps to reduce your risk of being a victim of fraud or identity theft.

How You Can Manage Data Breaches: 

Although at this time there is no guarantee that data breaches can be eliminated from our economic landscape, there are several best practices to help you manage or potentially avoid being a victim of a breach:

  • Bank Independent, along with merchants and financial institutions across the U.S., have implemented EMV or "chip card" technology, which makes certain types of fraud much more difficult.
  • Enroll in an identity protection service to receive alerts of potential fraud involving your credit report or personal information.
  • Learn more about reported data breaches through a monitoring site. Our blog about one data breach at a credit reporting bureau offers more tips.

Resources

You can learn more about how to protect yourself and your business with these brochures and helpful links:

If you have questions about identity protection, please contact Customer Service at (256) 386-5000 or (877) 865-5050. Also you may contact us using our online form.

Some information on this page provided courtesy of Deluxe Provent, FTC.gov and Javelin Strategy & Research 2012