October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Jerseyville, IL (September 14, 2015) – According to the Federal Trade Commission, identity theft has topped its list of consumer complaints every year for the last 15-years.  Identity theft occurs when a criminal obtains and misuses someone’s personal information without permission, typically for economic gain.  For many victims, it can result in drained bank accounts, poor credit and a damaged reputation.

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“Jersey State Bank recognizes the devastation this can cause to an individual and is here to help reduce the chance it can happen to you” said Jim Hoefert, President/CEO.  “Our goal is to equip our customers with knowledge on how to protect their personal information to reduce this unfortunate situation from happening to them.”

In honor of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Jersey State Bank offers the following tips to help customers protect themselves from becoming a victim of identity theft:

Don’t share your personal information – Don’t provide your social security number or account information to anyone who contacts you online or over the phone.  Protect your PIN’s and passwords and don’t share them with anyone.  Use a combination of letters and numbers for your passwords and change them periodically.  Don’t reveal sensitive or personal information on social networking sites.

Shred sensitive papers – Shred receipts, bank statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away.

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Keep an eye out for missing mail – Fraudsters look for monthly bank or credit card statements or other mail containing your financial information.  Consider enrolling in online banking and e-statements to reduce the likelihood of paper statements being stolen.  Also, don’t mail bills from your own mailbox with the flag up.

Use online banking to protect yourself – Monitor your financial account balances regularly for fraudulent transactions.  Sign up for text or email alerts from your bank for certain types of transactions, such as online purchases or transactions of more than $100.

Monitor your credit report – Order a free copy of your credit report every four months from one of the three credit reporting agencies at annualcreditreport.com.

Protect your computer – Make sure the virus protection software on your computer is active and up to date.  When conducting business online, make sure your browser’s padlock or key icon is active.  Also look for an “s” after the “http” to be sure the website is secure.

Protect your mobile device – Use the passcode lock on your smartphone and other devices.  This will make it more difficult for thieves to access your information if your device is lost or stolen.  Before you donate, sell or trade your mobile device, be sure to wipe it using specialized software or using the manufacturer’s recommended technique.  Some software allows you to wipe your device remotely if it is lost or stolen.  Use caution when downloading apps, as they may contain malware and avoid opening links and attachments – especially from senders you don’t know.

Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately – The quicker you inform your bank, the faster we can help to minimize any potential loss.

Jersey State Bank, the only locally owned Bank in Jersey County, has a long history as a trusted provider of financial products and services to Jersey County and the surrounding area.  Established in 1903, the Bank has assets in excess of $140 million and currently two offices to serve its customers in Jerseyville and Grafton.

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