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Of the two-thirds of online adult Americans, 55 percent access the Internet from home, while 30 percent surf at work.

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Fraudulent E-mails and Web Sites (Phishing)

Have you ever received e-mail messages like these?

"We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure that your account is not compromised, please click the link below and confirm you identity."
"During our regular verification of accounts, we couldn't verify your information. Please click here to update and verify your information."

It's a scam called "phishing".

Con artists now use email to try to hijack your personal financial information. In a scam known as "phishing," swindlers claim to be from a reputable company and send out thousands of fake e-mails in hopes that consumers will respond with their bank account information, credit card numbers, passwords or other sensitive information.

These e-mails can look quite convincing, with company logos and banners copied from actual Web sites. Often, they will tell you that their security procedure has changed or that they need to update (or validate) your information, and then direct you to a look-alike Web site. If you respond, the thieves use your information to order goods and services or obtain credit.

The number and sophistication of phishing scams sent out to consumers is continuing to increase dramatically. While online banking is widely considered to be as safe as or safer than in-branch or ATM banking, as a general rule you should be careful about giving out your personal financial information over the Internet. Remember, no reputable financial institution will ever request your personal information via e-mail.

Here is a list of recommendations to follow in order to avoid becoming a victim of scams:

  1. Be suspicious of any e-mail with urgent requests for personal financial information. Phishers have been known to include upsetting or enticing (but false) statements in their e-mails to get people to react immediately. More recently, some phishers have toned down their language, as e-mail recipients have become more aware of the use of this tactic. Either way, the e-mail typically asks for information such as user names, passwords, credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, etc.
  2. Be careful of e-mails that are not personalized and/or may contain spelling errors and/or awkward syntax phrasing. Many phishing e-mails are sent in great bulk and, therefore, are not personalized. If you are suspicious of an e-mail claiming to be from Farmers State Bank, call us at 517-596-2311 before responding. Many are also being sent from other countries from individuals for whom English is a foreign language, thus resulting in misspelled words and awkward syntax and phrasing.
  3. Be careful of personalized e-mails that ask for personal financial information. Be suspicious of any e-mail that contains some personal financial information, such as a bank account number and asks for other information, such as a PIN. Farmers State Bank will never ask for or send you personal financial information by regular e-mail. If you are an Online Banking customer, there is a feature within Online Banking to send a secure message. This is NOT regular e-mail and information sent this way is secured.
  4. Do not use links in an e-mail to get to any Web page. Instead, call the bank on the telephone to confirm the address, or log onto the Web site directly by typing in the Web address in you browser.
  5. Do not complete forms in e-mail messages that ask for personal financial information. Farmers State Bank would never ask you to complete such a form within an e-mail message.
  6. Only communicate information, such as credit card numbers or account information, via a secure Web site or the telephone. When submitting financial information to a Web site, look for the padlock or key icon at the bottom of your browser, and make sure the Internet address begins with "https". A secure Web server designation can be found by checking the beginning of the Web address in your browser's address bar -- the address should begin "https://..." rather than just "http://..." While you can not be completely sure that a Web site is secure when its address starts with "https", you can be sure the Web site is not secure when it does not start with "https".
  7. Regularly log on to your online accounts and check your bank, credit and debit card statements to ensure that all transactions are legitimate. One of the real advantages of banking online is being able to regularly review your account for unauthorized or unusual activity. If anything is suspicious, contact us at 517-596-2311 and all card issuers immediately.
  8. Ensure that your browser is up to date and security patches applied. Always visit your browser's home page to download the latest security updates even if they don't alert you to do so.

Recommended Actions if You've Become a Victim of a Phishing Scam

If You Have Given Out Your Credit, Debit, or ATM Card Information

If You Have Given Out Your Bank Account Information

If You Have Given Out Your Personal Identification Information

If you believe you have given out personal information such as your name, address, and Social Security number to someone who may use it for fraud:

Contact the three major credit reporting agencies -- Experian, Equifax and Trans Union -- and do the following:

Major Credit Bureaus

Equifax -- www.

Experian --

Trans Union -

Additional Actions to Take