Fraud Prevention and Security

Your security is of the utmost importance at 1st Equity Bank. We believe that a strong defense against fraud and theft is for us to keep you as informed as possible. The practical set of tips below can help you protect yourself against identity theft and fraud.

Online Security

It is 1st Equity Bank's commitment to keep your accounts safe, while adopting the latest security requirements possible. Our authentication process for Internet Banking complies with the best industry practices on how to best protect you and your finances, utilizing features like password protection, failed login lockouts, inactivity timeouts, data encryption, multi-factor authentication, and more. There are also steps that you can take to protect yourself while online.

  • It is important to keep your computer as safe and secure as possible by installing and regularly updating your anti-virus software, anti-malware software, firewalls on your computer, and patches and updates to your operating system. Third party programs and browsers should also be kept up-to-date.
  • Use strong and varying usernames and passwords on different websites. If possible, use letters and numbers as well as symbols in your passwords. Do not use obvious passwords, such as your date of birth, social security number, or names of children, pets or spouses. Change your passwords often and do not use the same credentials for your Internet Banking login as your shopping or social networking sites.
  • Do not store usernames and passwords where anyone could get them, including a cell phone that is not password-protected. Memorize your credentials if possible, or store them in a locked drawer away from your computer or device.
  • Uninstall programs and apps that you do not use and keep your computer or device as clean as possible.
  • Log off of your computer or even shut if off when it is not in use. Do not leave a computer that is logged in unattended.
  • Before disposing of an old computer, remove all storage devices. Simply deleting or clicking on the trash icon to remove files will not suffice when handling sensitive information.
  • Always enter the URL of a website directly into a browser. Avoid being re-directed to the site or using a hyperlink from a site that is not deemed secure.
  • When you search for a website through a search engine, look at the actual website addresses before clicking on one.
  • You should check to make sure that any online shopping site is secure by noting that the URL begins with "https" and has a closed padlock icon on the status bar. To confirm the authenticity of the site, you can double-click on the lock icon to display a security certificate for the site. Websites that begin with "http" are not deemed secure.
  • If possible, do not use unsecure Wi-Fi or hotspots. Keep your own wireless networks password protected.
  • Do not send sensitive or confidential information through ordinary email.
  • Think twice before providing a questionable website with your email address, as you increase your risk of receiving fraudulent emails.
  • Do not download files or software from unknown sites or sources.

Mobile Device Security

Smartphones and similar devices are basically a hand-held computer and should be carefully protected, monitored, and kept up-to-date just like your computer. A few tips to best protect you and your mobile device are:

  • Keep your security software current. Using the latest mobile security software, web browsers, and operating systems will help defend you against viruses, malware, and online threats.
  • Secure your phone using a strong password to lock your phone, if possible.
  • Research an app and read the privacy policy, fully understanding what data and access you are allowing, before downloading it.
  • Do not give your phone number out to people that you do not know or trust.
  • Be wary of using Wi-Fi hotspots. If you do use them, limit what you do and adjust your security settings accordingly to protect yourself.
  • Uninstall programs and apps that you do not use and keep your computer or device as clean as possible.
  • When in doubt about a call, voicemail, text, or email, do not respond to it and delete it.
  • Do not save passwords, your PIN, account numbers, or other confidential and sensitive information on your phone.
  • Notify your mobile service provider and your bank if your phone is lost or stolen. To contact 1st Equity Bank, call 847-676-9200.

When Traveling

When you are away, a few tips will help you rest assured that you are protecting yourself as much as possible during travel.

  • Make your home look lived in during long absences. Put your mail on hold, stop newspapers, use timers on lights, and have your lawn taken care of while you are gone.
  • Leave your checkbooks, social security cards, and all but a couple of necessary credit cards at home in a secure place.
  • Notify ABC Bank of your travel plans, especially if you plan on using a debit card while you are away. Simply call and notify us of the dates you will be away and your destination.
  • Check your account activity frequently on a secure computer or device while traveling.
  • Do not access personal or financial information on a public computer or while using unsecure Wi-Fi hotspots. In fact, do not use Wi-Fi hotspots, if possible.
  • Do not leave personal or confidential information in a rental car or in your hotel room while you are out.
  • Never share specifics of your travels on social networking sites. If possible, refrain from referencing details or posting pictures until you return home.
  • Never leave any of your belongings unattended.
  • If you need cash, withdraw it at a major and reputable financial institution.
  • Arrange transportation in advance when possible.
  • Password-protect your computers and mobile devices and store them in secure areas at all times.
  • Shred boarding passes, itineraries, and similar information that contains valuable information when you no longer require them.

General Identity Theft Security Tips

Identity theft can occur in a number of ways, including:

  • Getting personal information off of bills or credit statements from trash
  • Eavesdropping or hovering over personal transactions in public
  • Impersonating a bank in an email
  • Gathering information from a replication of a legitimate site

Here are a few things you can do to prevent identity theft:

  • Shred all documents with personal information, such as statements, invoices, bills, receipts, pre-approved credit offers, credit card checks, and insurance-related materials. Do not simply throw them away intact.
  • Log off of your computer or even turn it off between uses.
  • Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software on your computer, keep it current, and run it or set it to automatically run at least every two weeks.
  • Be wary of emails from sources you don't know. If it appears to be fraudulent, do not open it or any link or attachment within the email. Simply mark it as spam and delete it.
  • 1st Equity Bank will never request account, debit card or PIN information over the phone. If you receive a call, email, or text message asking leading questions regarding your bank information, do not disclose it and contact the bank immediately.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be wary of outrageous claims by individuals or companies you do not know.
  • If you need to keep important documents, store them in a locked drawer, safe or safety deposit box.

This would include statements, passports, social security cards, birth certificates and similar items.

  • Do not keep your social security card in your purse or wallet. Do not give your social security number to anyone that you do not know and trust. Provide it only when necessary.
  • Do not leave your purse, wallet, or mobile device in your car.
  • When possible, avoid carrying other important documents with you like your birth certificate, passport, paystubs, or sensitive banking information.
  • If a check or checks from your checkbook are lost or stolen, you don't receive your regularly mailed bank statement, or you see check transactions in your activity that you did not make, contact the Bank immediately by calling 847-676-9200.

Child Identity Theft Security Tips

Until a child can fully protect themselves and their own personal information, you may be able to help protect them by using some of the following tips:

  • Do not give out your child's social security number unless you know and trust the recipient. Feel comfortable questioning the recipient's need for it and how they plan on protecting it.
  • Do not carry your child's social security card or birth certificate with you.
  • Shred all sensitive or confidential information on behalf of your child. If you need to keep it, store it in a secure and locked location.
  • Be aware of any credit card offers or other similar credit offers or information arriving in your child's name. If this takes place, your child's information has been compromised and it needs to be addressed.
  • Teach your child to protect their personal information and explain the risks of providing their personal information to others.
  • Teach your child how to best protect themselves online. You may wish to monitor or block certain sites on their behalf.

Other Fraud and Scam Techniques

1st Equity Bank does no marketing – telemarketing or electronic marketing, so should never receive an email, text or phone call with any solicitation. If you receive any a suspicious communication, call our main number at 847-676-9200 to be sure you’re speaking to a REAL LIVE PERSON at 1st Equity Bank. Since we do no marketing, if you receive any solicitation from 1st Equity Bank it is a scam.

1st Equity Bank does NOT operate a call center and has no weekend or evening hours after 5PM. When you call during business hours you should be able to speak with a LIVE PERSON who opened your account or a manager at the Bank. If your receive any call, text or email during non-business hours it is likely a scam.

Phishing

The term “phishing”—as in fishing for confidential information—is a scam that encompasses fraudulently obtaining and using an individual’s personal or financial information. Bank accounts can be the target of thieves and fraudsters. Please be aware of common email phishing scams where the message appears to come from known and trusted sources,

such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the Internal Revenue Service. Some indicators of possible email phishing scam are:

  • Referring to the email recipient by the wrong name, typo in the name such, treating last name as a first name, poor grammar, or something does not make sense.
  • An email that claims an urgent need to communicate with you for your own security, or a request to verify payment information immediately, using compelling language that urges the recipient to take action.
  • A phishing email may contain a random sequence of numbers that to make it appear it is referring to a specific transaction.
  • A Link may look official, but when the mouse cursor rolls over the link the link source code points to a completely different website which may contain malware. Never open attachments, click on links, or respond to emails from suspicious or unknown senders.
  • Scammers often insert actual identification references to a business into their phishing emails to make them appear legitimate.

Remember, 1st Equity Bank does no marketing, so remember you should never receive an email, text or phone call with any solicitation. If you receive any a suspicious communication, call our main number at 847-676-9200 to be sure you’re speaking to a REAL LIVE PERSON at 1st Equity Bank. Again, 1st Equity Bank does not operate a call center and have no weekend or evening hours after 5PM. When you call during business hours you should be able to speak with the person who opened your account or a manager at the Bank.

Business Email Compromise

In addition, business customer should be aware of more sophisticated scams called business email compromise. It exploits the fact that so many of us rely on email to conduct business—both personal and professional. In a BEC scam, criminals send an email message that appears to come from a known source making a legitimate request, like in these examples:

  • A vendor your company regularly deals with sends an invoice with an updated mailing address.
  • A company CEO asks her assistant to purchase dozens of gift cards to send out as employee rewards. She asks for the serial numbers so she can email them out right away.
  • A homebuyer receives a message from his title company with instructions on how to wire his down payment.

A scammer might:

  • Spoof an email account or website. Slight variations on legitimate addresses (john.kelly@examplecompany.com vs. john.kelley@examplecompany.com) fool victims into thinking fake accounts are authentic. • Send spearphishing emails. These messages look like they’re from a trusted sender to trick victims into revealing confidential information. That information lets criminals access company accounts, calendars, and data that gives them the details they need to carry out the BEC schemes. • Use malware. Malicious software can infiltrate company networks and gain access to legitimate email threads about billing and invoices. That information is used to time requests or send messages so accountants or financial officers don’t question payment requests. Malware also lets criminals gain undetected access to a victim’s data, including passwords and financial account information.

How to Protect Yourself

  • Be careful with what information you share online or on social media. By openly sharing things like pet names, schools you attended, links to family members, and your birthday, you can give a scammer all the information they need to guess your password or answer your security questions.
  • Don’t click on anything in an unsolicited email or text message asking you to update or verify account information. Look up the company’s phone number on your own (don’t use the one a potential scammer is providing), and call the company to ask if the request is legitimate.
  • Carefully examine the email address, URL, and spelling used in any correspondence. Scammers use slight differences to trick your eye and gain your trust.
  • Be careful what you download. Never open an email attachment from someone you don't know, and be wary of email attachments forwarded to you.
  • Set up two-factor (or multi-factor) authentication on any account that allows it, and never disable it.
  • Verify payment and purchase requests in person if possible or by calling the person to make sure it is legitimate. You should verify any change in account number or payment procedures with the person making the request.
  • Be especially wary if the requestor is pressing you to act quickly.

Remember, 1st Equity Bank does no marketing, so remember you should never receive an email, text or phone call with any solicitation. If you receive any a suspicious communication, call our main number at 847-676-9200 to be sure you’re speaking to a REAL LIVE PERSON at 1st Equity Bank. Again, 1st Equity Bank does not operate a call center and have no weekend or evening hours after 5PM. When you call during business hours you should be able to speak with the person who opened your account or a manager at the Bank.