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SecurityKeeping your money and information safe.

Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

More than 10 million Americans become victims of identity theft each year. Thieves will steal names, Social Security numbers or credit card information to commit fraud or other crimes. Personal information is as good as gold to criminals, who will go to any means to get it.

It is astounding how easy it is to obtain the needed information without breaking into a building. Thieves may go "dumpster diving" by rummaging through trash looking for bills or other paper with personal information on it. Or they may use "Phishing" techniques, pretending to be financial institutions or companies while sending spam or pop-up messages, to obtain personal information from unsuspecting victims.

Many ID theft cases originate with "shoulder surfing," watching from a nearby location while the victim punches in a telephone calling card or credit card number, or eavesdropping on a telephone conversation involving a credit card transaction.

The Internet is an inviting place for criminals to obtain identifying data, such as passwords or banking information. Many unsuspecting consumers fall prey to spam requests, which are unsolicited e-mail messages that promise benefits in exchange for identifying data.

The identifying data can be used for false applications for loans and credit cards, fraudulent withdrawals from bank accounts, or obtaining other goods or privileges.

To avoid becoming a victim, consumers should be guarded with personal information. The Office of the Indiana Attorney General recommends the following precautions:

  • Minimize the amount of personal financial information you carry. Do not carry your Social Security card or a government-issued card with you, unless you need it. Only provide your Social Security number (SSN) when absolutely necessary.
  • Memorize passwords and PIN numbers. Do not carry them.
  • Keep financial information in a secure place in your home or bank safe deposit box.
  • Shred documents before throwing them away. Purchase a cross-cut shredder to better protect your information. * Do not give sensitive information to unsolicited callers. Legitimate businesses will not make unsolicited calls asking for your bank account numbers. Caller ID information can be spoofed, so do not rely on the name and number that is on your box. If in doubt, hang up and dial your vendors directly.
  • Shield your hand when entering your PIN at a bank ATM, store checkout or when making long distance calls with a calling card. This habit prevents security cameras, cell phone cameras or people near you from acquiring your PIN. Shred ATM slips.
  • Pick up new checks or credit cards at your bank, rather than having them delivered to your home. Do not have your driver's license number printed on your checks.
  • If your bank or credit card statement does not arrive on time, call to make sure it was sent to the proper address. Also contact the post office to see if a change of address has been filed in your name. A thief may steal or divert your statements to hide the theft and use the documents as "proof" of new identity.
  • When traveling, keep all personal belongings locked in hotel safes/safe deposit boxes, or keep them with you. Personal belongings include prescription bottles, which display personal information.

By taking the above precautions, you can save yourself sleepless nights trying to remedy the ID theft harm, not only to your credit report, but to your good name and reputation.

For more information, visit the Identify Theft Unit of the Indiana Attorney General's website.

This information is provided with the understanding that the Association is not engaged in rendering specific legal, accounting, or other professional services. If specific expert assistance is required, the services of a professional should be sought. Provided as a public service by the Indiana Bankers Association.

While First State Bank of Porter works to protect your banking privacy, you also play an important role in protecting your information. Here are a few steps you can take to protect your identity:


  • Add your phone numbers to the national Do Not Call Registry at or by calling 1-888-382-1222. Since February 2008, these registered telephone numbers will no longer expire off the list.
  • Examine your credit card and financial institution statements immediately upon receipt to determine whether there were any unauthorized transactions. Report any that you find immediately to the financial institution.


  • Place a fraud alert every 90 days on your credit file at or by calling 1-800-525-6285. By placing a fraud alert with Equifax, you will automatically have alerts placed at Experian and TransUnion.


  • Each year, you are entitled to one free credit report through or by calling 1-877-322-8228.
  • Request a copy of your Social Security statements at to be sure that no one else is using your social security number for employment.

Every 5 Years

  • Opt out of pre-screened credit offers by calling 1-888-567-8688 or at

Please read the other sections to learn about the different types of fraud and how to prevent them, from spyware and other computer fraud to mail and phone fraud to e-mail phishing and web spoofing. Our Fraud Summary page provides more tips on how to protect yourself.

Contact us immediately at Porter Branch 219-926-2136, Chesterton Branch 219-926-4422, or Pines Branch 219-874-3425 if you notice any suspicious or unusual activity related to any of your First State Bank of Porter accounts

Fraud Summary

Identity Theft is the most popular and profitable form of consumer fraud. It occurs when someone uses your personal information such as your name, Social Security number, credit card number or other identifying information, without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes.

Common ways identity theft can happen:

"Old Fashioned" Stealing

  • Thieves typically steal wallets and purses. They also steal mail such as credit card and bank statements, pre-approved credit card offers, check orders and other financial mail.

Dumpster Diving

  • Thieves dig through trash looking for bills, financial or other personal information.

Change of Address

  • Thieves modify or redirect your billing statements to another address by completing a "change of address" form.


  • Thieves may send unsolicited e-mails, pretending to be a financial institution or a company, asking you to click a link to update or confirm your personal or login information. The link is directed to a "spoof" website designed to look like a legitimate site.


  • Thieves may use a card reader device to copy the card's magnetic strip to duplicate without the card owner's knowledge.

Monitor your accounts

Keep track of transactions on your accounts by logging in to First State Bank of Porter's Online Banking, where you can view your activity as it is posted.

Protect your personal information

  • Do not carry your Social Security card in your wallet.
  • Do not have personal information such as your Social Security number and driver's license number printed on your checks.
  • Keep your new and cancelled checks in a safe place.
  • Do not leave your purse, wallet, checkbook, or any other forms of identification in your car
  • Shred or tear up any documents containing banking or credit information, especially pre-approved credit offers, before you throw them away. To opt out of pre-approved credit card offers, call 1-888-567-8688.
  • Keep your PINs and passwords a secret. Do not write them down or share them with anyone.

Contact us immediately at Porter Branch 219-926-2136, Chesterton Branch 219-926-4422, or Pines Branch 219-874-3425 if you notice any suspicious or unusual activity related to any of your First State Bank of Porter accounts.

Computer Security

First State Bank of Porter continually makes investments in state-of-the-art online banking security to ensure we protect the confidentiality of every customer's online information and to provide the utmost security of every user.

Computer protection tips:

  • Update your computer operating system on a regular basis.
  • Keep your browser current with the latest security updates.
  • Use updated anti-virus software.
  • Use updated anti-spyware software and consider using more than one, to ensure the most thorough scan.
  • Change your passwords on a regular basis, as a good practice to help prevent unauthorized access.
  • Download free software only from websites you know and trust.
  • Do not install software without knowing exactly what it is or what it will do (read the end-user license agreement).
  • Close pop-up ads by clicking on the "X" instead of clicking within the advertisement itself.
  • Review your browser security settings and set them to a high enough level to help detect unauthorized downloads. (Click your browser's "Help" menu for steps).
  • Do not click link inside of spam email. Especially emails claiming to offer anti-spyware software.
  • Install a personal firewall on your computer. A firewall works like a filter that prevents access to information on your computer.
  • Don't give any of your personal information to any web sites that do not use encryption or other secure methods to protect it.

Mail and Phone

We recommend you learn ways to protect yourself from common fraud schemes.


Vishing scams target consumers by "spoofing" text or voicemail messages that ask you to call a phone number and give your personal information. Here's how it works:

  • You receive a "spoof" e-mail or text message about suspicious account activity.
  • The text or voicemail message will ask you to call a "customer service" number.
  • When you call the customer service number, a recording will ask you to provide personal information such as account numbers, passwords, a social security number, or other critical information.
  • The recording may not mention the company's name and could potentially be an indication the call is being used for fraud.
  • You can also receive a phone call.
  • The call could be a "live" person or a recorded message.
  • The caller may already have your personal information, which may seem as if the call is legitimate.


Smishing is when consumers' cell phones and other mobile devices are targeted with mobile spam. The spam, or text messages, attempt to trick consumers into providing personal information. Here's how it works:

  • You receive a fake text message, which may include a fraudulent link, asking you to register for an online service.
  • The scammer attempts to load a virus onto your cell phone or mobile device.
  • The scammer may also send a message 'warning' you that your account will be charged unless you cancel your supposed online order.
  • When you attempt to log on to the website, the scammer extracts your credit card number and other personal information.
  • In turn, your information is used to duplicate credit, debit and ATM cards.
  • Scammers may also send you a text message again 'warning' you that your bank account has been closed due to suspicious activity.
  • The text message will ask you to call a 'customer service' number to reactivate your account.
  • When you call the number, you are taken to an automated voice mail box that prompts you to key in your credit card, debit card or ATM card number, expiration date and PIN to verify your information.
  • Again, your information is used to duplicate credit, debit and ATM cards.

Lottery/Sweepstakes Scams

Lottery/Sweepstakes scams target consumers by a notification, which arrives through the mail, by email, or by an unsolicited telephone call. Here's how it works:

  • The notification advises you have won a prize, but you did not enter in any type of lottery or sweepstake by the promoter contacting you.
  • The promoter will ask you to send payment to cover the cost of redeeming the prize when the prize does not exist.
  • In this type of scam, you may rarely if ever receive any winnings in return.

Check Overpayment Scams

Check Overpayment scams target consumers who sell items through an online auction site or a classified ad. Here's how it works:

  • The seller takes a big loss when the 'buyer' passes a counterfeit cashier's check, money order, corporate or personal check as payment.
  • The counterfeit check is written for more than the agreed price.
  • The 'buyer' will ask the consumer to wire back the difference after the check has been deposited.
  • The check will more than likely bounce and the consumer becomes liable for the entire amount.

Tips for the mailbox

Check Overpayment scams target consumers who sell items through an online auction site or a classified ad. Here's how it works:

  • Deposit outgoing mail at the Post Office.
  • Remove incoming mail from your personal mailbox as soon as possible, or use a P.O. Box or locked, secure mailbox.
  • Request a mail hold from the United States Postal Service or call them at 1-800-275-8777 if you plan to be away from home for an extended period.
  • Know your billing cycles. If bills are late or missing, contact your creditors.
  • Watch for your new or replacement Checkcard from us. You should receive it within five business days.
  • Switch to a more secure way of receiving your account statement. When you sign up for First State Bank of Porter Online E-Statements, your statement will no longer sit in your mailbox. Instead, we will send you an e-mail when your statement is available through your secure Online Banking account.

Tips for the phone

  • Do not give out personal information, such as your account numbers, card numbers, Social Security, tax identification numbers, passwords, or PINs, unless you have initiated the call.
  • We will not make an unsolicited call requesting your personal information.
  • If you ever believe you are not talking to a representative of a legitimate company, hang up and call the phone number listed in the telephone book.

Phishing and Spoofing


Phishing scams target consumers by "spoofing" text or voicemail messages that ask you to call a phone number and give your personal information. Here's how it works:

  • You receive an email message , asking you to click on a link in order to update some sensitive personal information.
  • The link will redirect you to a "spoofed" website, which is designed to look like a legitimate website.
  • The website will ask you to input personal information such as your account numbers, PINs , or a social security number.

Avoid spoofed websites

To protect yourself from going to a spoofed website, always type into your browser when you log in to your First State Bank of Porter Online Banking Account instead of clicking a link in an email.

E-mail protection tips

  • Do not click links in e-mails to log in, or to update or confirm your sensitive information
  • Do not fill out forms in e-mails
  • Be cautious about opening attachments or downloading files, regardless of who sent them
  • 'Spam', or mass email messages, often contain links to phishing websites and other unsavory websites.
  • Many phishing scams originate outside of the United states. Be wary of emails from people or sources you don't know or trust.
  • Poor grammar and misspelled words from unknown sources asking you for personal information are clear warning signs of a phishing scam being operated outside of the United States.
  • Legitimate companies or organizations will never ask you to divulge any personal information over email.
  • Phishing emails may also be fake contests or offerings, asking you to input personal information.
  • If an offer or email you receive is too good to be true, it most likely is.

Bank Error Messages

One of the newest schemes by fraudsters involves spoofing bank error messages. Here's how it works:

  • Fraudsters will send you an e-mail message about a data or site maintenance error at First State Bank of Porter or any of your banks.
  • The e-mail will ask you to click on a link, which will redirect you to a site and will install malware on your computer.
  • This malware allows scammers to intercept your password and bypass the dual authentication system many financial institutions use.
  • The next time you attempt to log in to your online banking service, scammers attempt to steal your password and may quickly drain your account.

E-mails from First State Bank of Porter

For your protection, we will not send you an e-mail to update or confirm your sensitive information by clicking a link or replying.

Contact us immediately at Main Office 219-929-4680, Chesterton Branch 219-929-4679, or Pines Branch 219-872-8560 if you notice any suspicious or unusual activity related to any of your First State Bank of Porter accounts.

Ways to Protect Your ID

Under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) and Privacy Laws we are required to ensure the confidentiality of a consumer’s information. Here are ways a consumer can protect their ID’s from theft:

  • Monitor credit annually
  • Request fraud alerts from the 3 major CRA’s
    • Equifax,ExperianandTransUnion
  • Opt-out of junk mail / internal marketing lists / offers of credit
  • Use a P.O. Box
    • Small box costs around $5 range
  • Freeze your credit
    • Freezing/unfreezing costs around $10 range
  • Enroll in the “DO NOT CALL” registry with FTC (Federal Trade Commission); it’s FREE!

TO DO LIST when your computer is hacked or phished:

  1. Change all passwords
  2. Run anti-spyware/malware and anti-virus programs
  3. Clear out private information in your internet browsers; clear out sensitive data from internet Temp Folder (clearing cache, delete history)
  4. Close online accounts, notify banks/institutions to obtain new accounts (if needed)

Phishing Season Cartoon

ID Theft Victim TO DO LIST

Take back your life in 7 steps:
STEP 1 Contact the 3 credit bureaus; ask that they issue a fraud alert and attach a statement to your credit report, get copies from the 3 bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion - see below)
STEP 2 Review your credit reports thoroughly; look for accounts you did not apply for or open, inquiries you did not initiate, or defaults and delinquencies you did not cause
STEP 3 File a report with your Local Police or in the community where the ID theft took place; keep a copy of the Police report
STEP 4 Fill out an ID theft victim’s complaint and affidavit form; available from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at or (877)FTC-HELP {382-4357}
STEP 5 Close any accounts that have been accessed fraudulently; contact all creditors – including banks / credit card companies / other service providers where your accounts have been compromised
STEP 6 Stop payment on checks; if a thief stole checks or opened bank accounts in your name, contact a major check verification company to report the fraud activity
STEP 7 Contact the loan Postal Inspector; if you believe someone has changed your address through the post office or has committed mail fraud – ask the Postmaster to forward all mail in your name to your own address

Credit Reporting Agencies

To contact a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA)
Equifax Credit Information Services – Consumer Fraud Div.
P.O. Box 105496
Atlanta, GA 30348-5496
Ph: (800)997-2493
Experian P.O. Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013-2104
Ph: (888)EXPERIAN {397-3742}
TransUnion Fraud Victim Assistance Dept.
P.O. Box 390
Springfield, PA 19064-0390
Ph: (800)680-7289

Educational Opportunities for Our Customers

Education is one of the best defenses against fraud, phishing and other internet scams. We encourage you to learn more by taking the courses provided by our partner Digital Defense. Simply click on the link below and expand your knowledge on banking topics you use.

Customer Education Topics
Visit Digital Defense
FDIC Deposit Insurance
The FDIC insurance covers all deposit accounts. Learn More.

FDIC Notice of Expiration

Temporary Unlimited Coverage
For Noninterest-Bearing Transaction Accounts

Education is one of the best defenses against fraud, phishing and other internet scams.

We encourage you to learn more and familiarize yourself with some of the methods used by thieves and scammers by reading the information within this page.