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Helpful Topics
  • Don't Be a Victim
    of Identity Theft
  • Protect Yourself Against
    Internet Phishing
  • ATM Safety with SHAZAM
    & Contact Numbers

Important Tips on Protecting
Your Personal Information

Don’t Be a Victim of Identity Theft

Avoid Becoming a Victim of Identity Theft
Identity theft is a growing problem.  Many people across the country have become victims of this crime.  Here are a few basic steps you should follow to avoid being a victim of identity theft:

  • Don’t give out personal information.  Never reveal your account numbers, personal account information or social security numbers over the telephone, via mail or over the internet, unless you initiated the contact or know who you are dealing with.  Legitimate companies don’t ask for this information via email.
  • Store your personal information in a safe place.  Tear up or shred old credit card and ATM receipts, old account statements and unused credit card offers before you discard them.
  • Protect you PIN numbers and other passwords.  Avoid using information that can be easily obtained.  (Such as your mother’s maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of your social security number (SSN) or your phone number), or a series of consecutive numbers.  Don’t leave your receipts behind or throw them in the trash where thieves can easily retrieve them.
  • Carry only identifying information you routinely use.  Keep your driver’s license, credit cards and related items close at hand.
  • Watch your account information and billing statements.  Know your billing cycles and review monthly billing statements carefully.  Make sure that all charges, drafts or withdrawals were authorized. If your statement is late by more than a couple of days, call your credit card company or bank to confirm your billing address and account balances.
  • Guard your mail against theft.  Remove incoming mail promptly, and deposit all outgoing mail at post office collection boxes.  Don’t leave outgoing mail in your mailbox.
  • Review copies of your credit report.  Order copies of your credit report yearly from each of the three major credit bureaus to ensure that they are reporting accurate information.


    To Order A Credit Report, Call:
    Equifax:                      Experian:                     Trans Union:
    800-685-1111              888-397-3742              800-888-4213



    If you become a victim of identity theft, do the following:
  • File a police report.
  • Contact the fraud departments of each of the three major credit bureaus to report the identity theft and request that the bureaus place a fraud alert status in your file.


    To Report Fraud, Call:
    Equifax:                      Experian:                     Trans Union
    800-525-6285              888-397-3742              800-680-7289
  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission’s toll-free Identity Theft Hotline at 1-877-ID-THEFT.  The FTC will take a report and place your name in a nationwide consumer fraud database shared by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. 
  • Contact your creditors and inform them of your being a victim of identity theft.  Close your account, change all account passwords, and obtain new credit, debit and ATM cards.

Protect Your Identity On-line…
Don’t fall Victim to the Scam of
Internet Phishing
 
Don’t take the Bait!

Internet related scams involves Internet fraudsters who send spam or pop-up messages to lure personal information (credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security number, passwords, or other sensitive information) from unsuspecting victims.  This information can then be used to commit a variety of crimes….from draining your accounts to obtaining credit cards in your name. 

Phishers send an email or pop-up message that claims 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.  The message may ask you to “update,” “validate,” or “confirm” your account information.  Some phishing emails threaten a dire consequence if you don’t respond.  The messages direct you to a website that looks just like a legitimate organization’s site.  But it isn’t.  It’s a bogus site whose sole purpose is to trick you into divulging your personal information so the operators can steal your identity and run up bills or commit crimes in your name.

What can you to do protect yourself?

  • Be suspicious.  Be wary of any email that is awkwardly worded.  Many of these scams originate outside the U. S.  Also remember that the financial institutions you have a relationship with should never be emailing you to ask for the information these emails request.
  • If you get an email or pop-up message that asks for personal or financial information, do not reply.  Never click on the link to the website included in the email.  Legitimate companies don’t ask for this information via email.  If you are at all concerned that the email is legitimate, contact the organization mentioned in the email using a telephone number you know to be genuine, or open a new Internet browser session and type in the company’s correct Web address yourself.  Never call the number listed in the email.  Rely on a number you know to be legitimate when contacting the institution.
  • Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software, as well as a firewell, and update them regularly.  Some phishing emails contain software that can harm your computer or track your activities on the Internet without your knowledge.  Anti-virus software and firewall can protect you from inadvertently accepting such unwanted files.  Look for antivirus software that recognizes current viruses as well as older ones; that can effectively reverse the damage; and that updates automatically. 
  • Don’t email personal or financial information.  Email is not a secure method of transmitting personal information.  If you initiate a transaction and want to provide your personal or financial information through an organization’s website, look for indicators that the site is secure, like a lock icon on the browser’s status bar or a URL for a website that begins “https:” (the “s” stands for “secure”).  Unfortunately, no indicator is foolproof; some phishers have forged security icons.
  • Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them to check for unauthorized charges.  If your statement is late by more than a couple of days, call your credit card company or bank to confirm your billing address and account balances.
  • Be cautious about opening any attachment or downloading any files from emails you receive, regardless of who sent them.  These files can contain viruses or other software that can weaken your computer’s security.
  • You may want to order a free copy of your credit report periodically from any of the three major credit bureaus.  If an identity thief is opening credit accounts in your name, these new accounts are likely to show up on your credit report.  You can go to the website www.annualcreditreport.com for details on ordering a free annual credit report.

If you have recently been victimized contact us immediately.  We can provide necessary resources to help you minimize your exposure to risk.
The Mercantile Bank of Louisiana MO
Phone: (573) 754-6221

Also, if you believe you’ve been scammed, you can file your complaint at ftc.gov, and then visit the FTC’s Identity Theft website at www.consumer.gov/idtheft .  The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the market place and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them.  To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit ftc.gov or call toll-free 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261.  The FTC enters consumer complaints into the Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure online database and investigative tool used by huindreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. 

To report a lost or stolen ATM Card

During banking hours for questions regarding your ATM Card or to report a lost or stolen card, call or come into the bank.

The Mercantile Bank of Louisiana MO
222 Georgia Street
Louisiana, MO  63353
Phone:  (573) 754-6221


Important SHAZAM Numbers

In the event of a lost or stolen Shazam Card during non-banking hours, please use the following numbers:

SHAZAM:
(800) 538-5427
SHAZAM Fraud:
(866) 508-2693
SHAZAM Local Customer Support:
(515) 558-7608

www.shazam.net


Automated Teller Machine Safety

  1. Be aware of the surroundings when using an automated teller machine, particularly after dark.

  2. Be accompanied by another person when using an automated teller machine after dark.

  3. Refrain from displaying cash.  Place cash in a pocket as soon as a transaction is completed and count cash in the safety of a locked enclosure such as a car or home.

  4. Use another automated teller machine or return at a later time if anything suspicious is noticed when using or considering using an automated teller machine.

  5. Limit your time at the machine.  Prior to arriving at the ATM site, have your card out to avoid any delay of going through your purse or wallet to find it.

  6. Cover your transaction with your body by blocking the keyboard from view.  By doing this, you will prevent someone from learning your Personal Identification Number (PIN).

  7. Always keep your Personal Identification Number a secret.  Never give the number to anyone or write it down anywhere.  Memorize it or use a secret code if you must write it down.

  8. Notify us immediately if your ATM access card or your PIN number is lost or stolen.

  9. Never let anyone use your card or access code.  Law enforcement officers or legitimate companies don’t ask for this information.  Be suspicious if anyone does ask for these items.

  10. Report all crimes immediately to the operator of the automated teller machine or to local law enforcement officials.

Timing of ATM Deposits

Any deposit made before 12:00 noon will be posted the same day into your account.  Deposits made after 12:00 noon will not be posted to your account until the next business day.


 
 

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