ID Protection & Online Security Education

ID Protection & Online Security Education

Identity Protection & Online Security Education

The following information is provided to help you protect yourself against identity theft, scams, and fraud. We strongly urge you to read through the topics below and follow the guidelines to keep your information safe and secure.

Protect Your ID from Theft

  • Don't carry your Social Security Card in your wallet or purse. Keep the card in a secured place.
  • Make a copy of your medical card(s) with all but the last four digits marked out to carry in case of emergency; only take the actual card to a scheduled doctor's visit.
  • Ask why it's needed and how it will be safeguarded before sharing any personal information.
  • Lock your financial and personal records in a secure place at home, or open a Safe Deposit Box at Bank & Trust Company (Safe Deposit Box contents are not FDIC insured).
Learn other ways to protect your identity at FTC Consumer Information on Identity Theft.
If you believe your identity has been stolen, report it and begin the recovery process immediately at Be sure to call Bank & Trust Company's bookkeeping department at 217-324-6241.

Protect Your Personal Financial Information

  • Do not provide personal financial information (User IDs and passwords, Social Security Numbers, account numbers, ATM/credit/debit/prepaid card numbers, etc.) in response to unfamiliar, unsolicited, or suspicious websites, emails, text messages, telephone calls, device apps, or social media messages and posts.
  • Personal financial information should never be sent by email or any online submission in an unencrypted state, even to trusted parties. Bank & Trust Company offers a secure email or file upload service that will ensure protection of submitted information.
  • Unfamiliar or suspicious emails, text messages, instant messages, phone calls, websites, and social media solicitations that request personal financial information should be deleted immediately. They should not be replied to or forwarded, and any links that they contain should not be opened.
  • Be especially careful of clicking on hyperlinks to or completing online applications as they may be used to gather personal financial information.
If you accidentally provide any of your personal financial information, you should change your passwords and contact all applicable parties immediately for further assistance. Be sure to call Bank & Trust Company's bookkeeping department at 217-324-6241.

Special Offers, Prizes, or Gift Scams

Be cautious of offers that seem to good to be true; they probably are! Many scams request a wire transfer be sent before the benefit will be received. Wire transfers are exactly like sending cash since the funds cannot be recovered once sent. Examples include:
  • Receiving a check for a large amount, being told to deposit it and then pay a fee
  • Winning an expensive prize, but having to pay a fee before it will be shipped
  • Being offered to receive a large job salary or wage, but you must purchase supplies or pay to become certified up front
  • Winning a foreign lottery, but having to pay the taxes before it can be collected
  • Inheriting money from a long lost relative you don't even know, but you must pay the legal processing fees

Other Scams

Scams may also play on your emotions, leading you to believe that you must act immediately or there will be consequences. Examples include:

  • Receiving a call claiming to be from the IRS, stating that you owe taxes and must pay immediately
  • Receiving a call that a friend is in trouble and needs your immediate financial help
Remember, personal financial information (User IDs and passwords, Social Security Numbers, account numbers, ATM/credit/debit/prepaid card numbers, etc.) should not be provided in response to unfamiliar, unsolicited, or suspicious websites, emails, text messages, phone calls, mobile device apps, or social media messages and posts.
Stay up-to-date with specifics about recent scams by visiting FTC Consumer Scam Alerts.

Physical & Online Security for Computers & Other Devices

  • Online financial transactions should only be conducted on secure websites. Look for a URL that begins with "https" in the address; you may also see a small 'padlock' icon. The "https" prefix should be on every website page used to conduct transactions, not just the log-in page.
  • Most Wi-Fi networks are not secure; some use encryption and are more secure. If any Wi-Fi network is to be used, a virtual private network (VPN) should be established and used to encrypt communications, regardless of the type of network used.
  • Computers and other devices should be locked, logged off, or shut down before stepping away and set to lock or log off automatically after two minutes of non-use, with a password required to log back in.
  • Computers, other devices, and external storage such as USB drives and storage discs should be physically secured when not in use.
  • Lost or stolen computers and other devices should be reported to applicable service providers, software vendors, or carriers immediately. Computers and other devices no longer in use should have hard drives removed and shredded, or a software program that wipes and eliminates all data from their hard drives should be used.

Click On Links With Caution

  • Cybercriminals often use hyperlinks to install malicious software on devices to perform fraudulent acts, so take steps to verify that hyperlinks correspond to legitimate websites and have been posted by known and trusted parties.
  • Unfamiliar or suspicious emails, text messages, instant messages, websites, and social media solicitations that contain hyperlinks should be deleted immediately and not opened.

Patches, Antivirus/Security Software Use, & Scanning

  • Operating system software updates, referred to as patches, should be accepted, downloaded, installed and run promptly and as recommended.
  • Reputable antivirus/security software that has been reviewed and rated as satisfactory by independent analysts should be installed, updated, and utilized as recommended.
  • If the antivirus/security software can scan and update automatically, set it to do so; if not, scan and update after each log-in. If viruses, malicious software, or malware are detected, the recommendations provided by the antivirus/security software should be followed promptly.

Secure Use of ATM, Credit, Debit, & Prepaid Cards

  • Activate and sign new cards upon delivery.
  • Do not leave cards in visible or unsecured locations.
  • Save receipts to compare to statements later, and incorrect transaction receipts should be voided. Do not sign blank transaction receipts; draw lines through any blank spaces above the total on any transaction receipt before signing.
  • Don't use options to "remember my card number" on websites where transactions are conducted.
  • Promptly report lost or stolen cards to the card issuer. For Bank & Trust Company cards, call 217-324-6241, or after business hours call 800-264-4274 (option 3). You can also deactivate your debit card using our mobile app (in the menu, choose 'manage cards').
  • Cards that are unused, have been canceled, or have been replaced by a new card should be destroyed by shredding or cutting them into small pieces so they cannot be read.

Strong User IDs & Passwords

  • User IDs and passwords should use the maximum allowable number and type of characters, such as upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters; don't use predictable text patterns, such as a part of your name, Social Security Number, or email address.
  • Use a different User ID and password for each website.
  • Don't use options to "remember me" or "remember my password" on websites where transactions are conducted. If you write down your User IDs or passwords, don't leave them in visible or unsecured locations.

Use Social Media Securely

  • Accept only individuals you know and trust into your social network.
  • Choose the highest available level of privacy/security settings on any social media site; don't allow social media sites access to your address book.
  • Don't have information that can compromise your information security visible on any social media site. This includes the names of financial institutions, card companies, eCommerce websites, internet service providers, utilities, and wireless carriers you have accounts with. This also includes personal financial information, passwords, phone numbers, email addresses, addresses and dates of significance (for example, birth dates and anniversaries).

Statement & Transaction Verification

  • Review your statements promptly upon receipt to verify that all transactions were made by authorized parties. Any unauthorized transactions should be reported to the appropriate financial institution, card issuer, or biller.
  • Compare your saved receipts from ATM, credit, debit, and prepaid cards to statements, and any transactions made by unauthorized parties should be immediately reported to the appropriate financial institution, card issuer, or biller.
  • Discard paper statements by shredding.
  • Many financial institutions offer a messaging service that sends emails/texts for balances and transactions. Online and mobile banking allows you to view transactions to your accounts as they happen. Take advantage of these services to detect fraud before the statement is produced.

Monitor Credit Accounts & Reports

  • Monitor your credit on a regular basis. Each of the nationwide credit reporting companies (Experian, Transunion, or Equifax) must provide you with a free copy of your credit report - upon your request - once every 12 months.
  • Report any unauthorized or suspicious credit activity immediately.
  • For more information on requesting your free credit report and reporting unauthorized or suspicious credit activity, visit FTC - Disputing errors on credit reports.