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Identity theft has increased drastically in recent years. It happens when criminals use someone's personal information to obtain credit, services, or order merchandise in that person's name but for the criminals' benefit. By the time the victim discovers what has happened, their credit has been ruined. It takes a great amount of time and effort to recover from all the problems this causes.

You can minimize your risk by safeguarding your personal information. Please make a conscious effort to follow these suggestions when dealing with your personal information:

  • Do not give out your social security number or other personal information over the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you've initiated the contact or are sure you know who you are dealing with. (See computer-related issues below.)
  • After you have balanced your monthly bank statements and compared your credit card bills with your receipts, shred your copies of receipts. After you have secured the loans and/or credit card accounts you want, shred copies of credit applications. Shred your expired charge cards and unneeded credit offers you get in the mail.
  • Secure personal information in your home. Any piece of paper which might have your social security number, drivers license number, date of birth, etc. should not be put in your trash or left in a place which is accessible to visitors, cleaning or repair services.
  • Do not carry your social security number card or personal identification numbers for your debit/credit cards in your wallet. Do not have your social security or driver's license numbers printed on your checks. Do not write your PIN on your cards or anywhere a thief can find them.
  • Try to use other types of identifiers when possible.
  • Place your outgoing mail in secured mailboxes.
  • Do not allow your mail to stay in your mailbox any longer than it has to.
  • Notify your credit card company if your card has expired and you have not yet received a replacement.
  • Do not carry more information with you than you need. Carry only the state-issued driver's license or identity card and credit /debit cards that are necessary.
  • Pay attention to your billing cycles. Follow up with creditors if your bills don't arrive on time.
  • Open bills promptly and check your accounts monthly. Look for charges you don't recognize and report them immediately. Save receipts to compare with your billing statements.
  • Review your monthly accounts regularly for any unauthorized charges.
  • Watch your credit card during all in-person transactions and get it back as soon as possible.
  • Keep a record of all your credit card account numbers, expiration dates and the telephone numbers and addresses of each creditor. Store in a safe place. This will help you cancel cards, etc. if your wallet is stolen or lost.
  • Be wary of promotional scams. Do not give telemarketers any personal information no matter what they offer or ask you to update with them.
  • Try not to give personal information over a cell phone. They are not secure.
  • Keep your purse or wallet in a safe place at work.
  • Make sure your employer has security procedures in place. Find out who has access to your personal information.

If you operate a business:

  • Develop a process to screen both full- and part-time employees who have access to personal, employee or financial information.
  • Screen the cleaning services and temporary firms you contract.
  • Keep all personal and employee information in locked files, and establish security procedures.


  • Place passwords on your personal files which contain a combination of letters and numbers/symbols. Change them on a regular basis and do not leave them where someone else can find them.
  • Limit the amount of personal or financial information you store on your laptop computer.
  • Use a secure browser
  • Make sure any site with which you do banking or provide personal information to is a secure site. Do not send personal or account information over the Internet unless you see the padlock indicating the site is secure and the address begins with "https" rather than "http".
  • Look for website privacy policies. Do not provide information to a website which does not have one.
  • Consider any unsolicited e-mail suspect until proven otherwise. Call the provider at a previously-known or published number to confirm its legitimacy, or delete the e-mail without opening the e-mail.
  • Be very cautious if you receive an unsolicited e-mail from any source indicating you must click on a link and input personal data.
  • Bookmark the sites you use and trust and have their legitimate telephone number available. Do not use the phone number provided on a suspicious or unsolicited website.
  • Use virus-detection software and/or anti-spam filters available through your ISP.
  • Use a firewall program on your computer, especially if you use a high-speed Internet connection, which leaves your computer connected to the Internet 24 hours a day.
  • Use a utility program to erase all information from your computer's hard drive before you dispose of a computer.
  • Be careful when posting information to your Internet home page. Providing geneology information there can be a source to identity thieves.
  • Beware of "Phishing". This is the scheme where Internet users are sent legitimate-looking e-mails (sometimes pretending to be their bank) which direct them to fake websites. At these fake websites, victims are asked to update personal information that is then used by the criminals to make online financial transactions.
  • Beware of "Pharming". In this scheme, the criminal changes a legitimate site's numeric address to their fake site's numeric address while the verbal name for the site remains the same. Your best defense against this scheme is to keep your Web browser up-to-date. Do not use a website if you have any doubt about its legitimacy. Do not follow links received in commercial e-mails. Call the company (using a previously-known phone number) to confirm if an e-mail is legitimate.

First National Bank will never send e-mails asking for personal or account information. Please do not send personal or account information to us other than through our secure Internet Banking site (with padlock visible). We cannot send Access ID or temporary passcode information via non-secure Internet.

If you receive a message from us that you are unsure about, contact us immediately at 573-346-3311 to verify. We do generate secure e-mails to your e-mail address on record to notify you if your passcode has been changed. If you receive one of them and you did not initiate the change, please contact us immediately.

For more information on computer safety, visit: http://www.antiphishing.org .


Request copies of your credit report on a regular basis so that you can verify its accuracy.

Report any suspected fraud to your bank and the fraud units of the three credit reporting agencies immediately. The fraud unit numbers are:

Trans Union (800) 680-7289
Experian (888) 397-3742
Equifax (800) 525-6285

You may also contact the FTC's ID Theft Consumer Response Center at (877) IDTHEFT (438-4338) or visit their Identity Theft Website at www.ftc.gov/idtheft.

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