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Identity Theft/ Fraud Education

Identity theft is a serious problem. It is the first step in a plan to steal money, and it is a crime that can cause the victim significant time and money to resolve. If you are concerned that you have received fraudulent e-mail, disclosed confidential information or have identified unauthorized transactions, please call the bank at (815)929-4000 immediately to report the event.

For comprehensive information about fraud and identity theft, consult the Detect Identity Theft section of "About Identity Theft-Deter, Detect, Defend" at, the Federal Trade Commission's site for consumer protection against identity theft. This site is an excellent training tool for avoiding identity theft as well as offering specific suggestions if you believe your identity has been stolen. Additional resources can be found at the following as well as at As outlined in our Account Agreement disclosure, federal regulations provide consumers with protection for unauthorized electronic fund transfers. These regulations are not extended to business accounts.

Frequently Asked Questions. . .
How does someone steal an identity?

Some of the ways information is stolen include going through trash looking for personal information, changing billing addresses for credit cards, and stealing items in your wallet or the pre-approved credit card offers, new checks, or tax information in your mailbox.

Other approaches are more technically sophisticated such as:

  • Stealing credit/debit card numbers storage devices as cards are used, or e-mailing fraudulent cash giveaway offers by using special devices that include a way to gather Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, etc.
  • Sometimes these scams involve direct personal contact with victims pretending to be representatives of financial institutions, utilities, or credit card companies asking for account verification.

How can you recognize identity theft?

  • Specifically, check your online banking regularly and review your bank statements and credit card bills promptly.
  • Make sure that all items listed are valid transactions.

You should also request your personal credit report annually and examine it for unauthorized applications.

For instant access to your free credit report visit You will find more recommendations for avoiding fraud at

What Is Phishing?

Phishing (pronounced "fishing") is an electronic scam that attempts to obtain confidential personal or financial information from its target. It takes the form of a fake message, often an e-mail, which appears to be from a legitimate financial institution or service provider. The message typically includes the company name, logo and a link to a website which instructs you to update your account information by providing your social security number, bank account number, PIN, password, birth date, etc. with a dire warning if action isn't taken. A phisher can then use your personal information to commit fraud. The number and sophistication of phishing scams continues to increase. In order to avoid becoming a victim of a phishing scam, you need to know what to look for.

  • In a typical phishing case, you will receive an e-mail that appears to come from a reputable company such as your financial institution, government agency, or a credit card company.
  • E-mail addresses are harvested from publicly available sources or through randomly generated lists.
  • Phishers send out millions of e-mails at a time hoping to catch the customers of a targeted company by pure chance.
  • While some e-mails are easily identified as fraudulent, including some containing tabloid-style headlines to get the user to open them, others may appear to come from a legitimate address and trusted online source. Do not rely on the name or e-mail address in the "from" field, as this is easily forged.
  • The message will describe an urgent reason why you must "verify" or "re-submit" personal or confidential information by clicking on a link embedded in the message.
  • Once inside the fraudulent website, you may be asked to provide social security numbers, account numbers, passwords, or other information used to verify your identity such as mother's maiden name or place of birth.
  • Fraudulent e-mail may also include links and/or attachments that contain computer viruses and/or keystroke loggers and should not be clicked on or opened.
  • Other typical phishing scams include fake job offers, surveys, bogus prize awards (sweepstakes), gift certificate offers, money laundering schemes, or a traveling friend or relative in need. Some recent phishing scams pretend to come from the IRS, FDIC, and NACHA (automated clearinghouse)
  • Phishing scams can also come in form of text and telephone messages.


First Trust is always working to help protect you and your money.
Knowledge and diligent monitoring of your accounts are significant ways you can help to deter identity theft.

Identity Protection Resources

Credit Bureaus

Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Affidavit:
Social Security Administration: or 877-772-1213
Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Site:
Federal Trade Commission
Federal Bureau of Investigation:
Better Business Bureau
Anti-Phishing Working
Identify Theft
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse:

Security Alerts

There are many illegal scams in which criminals attempt to steal money and/ or financial information from unwary consumers. A few examples include the following:

  • FDIC E-mail Fraud: The FDIC does not issue unsolicited e-mails to consumers or business account holders. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has received numerous reports of fraudulent e-mails that have the appearance of being sent from the FDIC. While the e-mails exhibit variations in the "From" and "Subject" lines, the messages are all similar in that they attempt to get you to click on a link in the e-mail where you will be asked to give personal information.  Some include statements pertaining to the Bankruptcy Reform Act and the Investor Protection Law. Others claim that an ACH transaction has not been delivered or that “Your ACH and Wire transaction abilities have been temporarily withheld for your security, because your security version expired.” Another claims to be a survey asking for a few minutes of your time that wil result in your receiving $100 for your efforts. The messages instruct recipients to click on the enclosed link.The intent of this email is to collect personal or confidential information, or to load malicious software onto end users' computers. Do not click on the link provided.
  • FinCEN Fraud: The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has received reports of financial scam attempts conducted by both e-mail and telephone. In the telephone scam the caller identifies himself/herself as an employee of FinCEN, asks for the victim by name and identifies an outstanding debt with knowledge of name, telephone number, account description, and personal identification. Immediate payment is demanded. Another scam conducted by both telephone and e-mail informs the victim that he/she has received a large Treasury Department grant. To obtain the grant the victim is instructed to provide bank account information and make an initial payment. Do not respond to such messages; do not provide personal or confidential information and do not send money.
  • NACHA E-mail Fraud: National Clearinghouse Association has been the victim of sustained and evolving phishing attacks in which consumers and businesses are receiving emails that appear to come from NACHA. The attacks are occurring with greater frequency and increased sophistication. Perpetrators send these fraudulent messages to email addresses globally.

    These fraudulent emails typically make reference to an ACH transfer, payment, or transaction and contain a link or attachment that infects the computer with malicious code when clicked on by the email recipient. The source addresses and contents of these fraudulent emails vary with more recent examples purporting to come from actual NACHA employees and/or departments — and often including a counterfeit NACHA logo and the citation of NACHA’s physical mailing address and telephone number.
    NACHA does not send communications to persons or organizations about individual ACH transactions that they originate or receive.
    Do not to open attachments or follow Web links in unsolicited emails from unknown parties or from parties with whom they do not normally communicate, or that appear to be known but are suspicious or otherwise unusual. Forward suspected fraudulent emails appearing to come from NACHA to to aid in their efforts with security experts and law enforcement officials to pursue the perpetrators.
  • Definitions

What is a keylogger?

A key logger is a computer program that logs each keystroke a user types on a keyboard and saves this data into a file or transfers it via the Internet to a fraudster.   It also can capture screenshots of your user activity, log-in passwords, record online chat conversations or take different actions in order to find out what a user is doing. Often downloaded inadvertently by users clicking on links in fraudulent e-mails, keyloggers pose a dangerous threat to user privacy.

  • What are Trojan Horse programs?

Trojan Horse programs (including Remote Access Trojans or RATS) can be hidden in games, videos, music files or programs downloaded from the Internet or e-mail that install a malicious program on the target's computer. Many anti-virus programs will detect and remove Trojan Horse programs, and must be regularly updated to remain effective.

  • What is a Man-in-the-Middle attack?

In a Man-in-the-Middle attack, users believe they are interacting directly with a real banking site, when in reality there is a proxy function that is intercepting, manipulating, and forwarding the data between the user’s browser and the real banking site.

  • What is a Pop-up Blocker?

Pop-up Blockers protects users from malicious activity that is often hidden behind or initiated by pop-up windows. It is designed to give users more control over their Web browsing experience. Some of the most annoying pop-up window actions include windows that continually reopen when the user closes them, pop-ups that blanket the desktop with banner ads. Other pop-up windows attempt to imitate a user’s desktop and then remain in focus, creating pop-up windows that cannot be closed, or creating pop-ups that appear off-screen where they go unnoticed. These activities often hide malicious activity running behind the pop-up window.

FDIC Equal Housing Lender