Identity Theft occurs when someone obtains another person’s personal identifying information, without lawful authority, for economic gain or criminal purposes.
Stay alert for signs of identity theft, including:
- Accounts you didn’t open and debts on your accounts that you can’t explain.
- Fraudulent or inaccurate information on your credit reports, including accounts and personal information, like your Social Security number, address(es), name or initials and employers.
- Failing to receive bills or other mail. Follow up with creditors if your bills don’t arrive on time. A missing bill could mean an identity thief has taken over your account and changed your billing address to cover his tracks.
- Receiving credit cards that you didn’t apply for.
- Being denied credit or being offered less favorable credit terms, like a high interest rate, for no apparent reason.
- Getting calls or letters from debt collectors or businesses about merchandise or services you didn’t buy.
Verified by Visa
Verified by Visa adds an extra layer of security to make it harder for someone else to use your Visa card to shop online. Each time your Visa credit or debit card is presented to make an online purchase at a participating merchant, know that Verified by Visa is working to make sure it is you that is attempting to make that purchase and not someone else. There is no special software to install. You will continue to shop as usual, and your enrolled Visa card number will be automatically recognized at checkout.
To activate Verified by Visa: https://verified.visa.com/aam/activation/landingPage.aam
Frequently Asked Questions: http://usa.visa.com/personal/security/security-program/verified-by-visa.jsp
Learn more about protecting your card: http://www.visasecuritysense.com/en US/index.jsp
"Phishing" (as in 'fishing' for confidential information) is a general term for criminals’ creation and use of e-mails and websites - designed to look like e-mails and websites of well-known legitimate businesses, financial institutions, and government agencies - in order to deceive Internet users into disclosing their bank and financial account information or other personal data such as usernames and passwords. The "phishers" then take that information and use it for criminal purposes, such as identity theft and fraud.
Avoid becoming a victim of Phishing:
- Watch and closely monitor your email for phishing and fraudulent links.
- Don’t click on links within emails that ask for your personal information.
- Be aware that phishing can also happen by phone, scammers can make the same false claims and ask for your personal information over the phone.
- Protect your computer with spam filters, anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a firewall, and keep them up to date.
- Only open email attachments if you’re expecting them and know what they contain.
- Be suspicious if someone contacts you unexpectedly and asks for your personal information.
If you’ve been hooked by a Phisher:
- Act immediately.
- Report phishing even if you aren’t a victim. If you suspect an email or website is fraudulent, please notify the company or agency that the phisher was impersonating. You may also contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center, at http://www.ic3.gov/.
- If you receive a BankWest email and suspect phishing, contact the BankWest Customer Service Center by calling (800) 253-0362.
Being an educated consumer is your best defense against becoming a victim of cyber crime. Below are a few helpful tips to help you protect your information.
Computer Safety and Security
- Use a current web browser.
- Avoid downloading programs from unknown sources.
- Keep your computer operating system up to date to ensure the highest level of protection.
- Install a personal firewall on your computer.
- Install, run and keep anti-virus and other software updated.
- Turn your computer off completely when you are finished using it – don’t leave it in sleep mode.
- Conduct online banking activities on secure computers only. Public computers (computers at internet cafes, copy centers, etc.) should be used with caution, due to shared use and possible tampering. Online banking activities and viewing or downloading documents (statements, etc.) should only be conducted on a computer you know to be safe and secure.
- Ensure your computer software and plug-ins are current. Before downloading an update to your computer program, first go to the company’s website to confirm the update is legitimate.
- Use secure websites for transactions and shopping. Shop with merchants you know and trust. Make sure internet purchases are secured with encryption to protect your account information. Look for “secure transaction” symbols like a lock symbol in the lower right-hand corner of your web browser window, or “https://…” in the address bar of the website. The “s” indicates “secured” and means the web page uses encryption.
- Always log off from online banking and any website after using your credit or debit card or other sensitive information. If you cannot log off, quit your browser to prevent any potential unauthorized access to your account information.
- Close your browser when you’re not using the internet.
- Be cautious when using public hotspots.
- Do not use your Social Security number as a username or password. Change your usernames and passwords regularly and use combinations of letters, numbers, and special characters such as # and @. Do not use your online banking username and passwords as credentials for other online accounts.
- Protect your online passwords. Don’t write them down or share them with anyone.
- Protect your answers to security questions. Select questions and provide answers that are easy for you to remember, but hard for others to guess. Do not write down your security questions or answers or share them with anyone. If you have selected security questions on other websites, avoid using the same questions.
- It pays to choose more complicated passwords. Next time you set up a password keep these facts in mind to keep hackers from getting your personal information:
- Be wary of suspicious emails. Never open attachments, click on links or respond to emails from suspicious or unknown senders.
- If you receive a suspicious email, do not respond or provide any information.
- If you think you may have responded to a phishing email with personal or account information, contact the BankWest Customer Service Center by calling (800) 253-0362.
Consumer Protection References
Your Credit Report
Credit reports contain information about you, including what accounts you have and your bill paying history. The law requires the major nationwide reporting companies - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion - to give you a free copy of your credit report each year if you ask for it. Visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1-877-322-8228, a service created by these three companies, to order your free credit reports each year. You can also write: Annual Credit Report Request Service, PO Box 105821, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
Equifax: www.equifax.com or 1-800-525-6285
Experian: www.experian.com or 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)
TransUnion: www.transunion.com or 1-800-680-7289
FDIC Consumer News: www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/news/index.html
Federal Trade Commission: www.ftc.gov/idtheft
National Fraud Information Center: www.fraud.org
Federal Bureau of Investigation: www.fbi.gov
Anti-Phishing Work Group: www.antiphishing.org
Internet Crime Complaint Center: www.ic3.gov
Office of South Dakota Attorney General
500 E. Capitol Ave.
Pierre, SD 57501
Do Not Call Registry
(remove phone number from telemarketing lists)
Team BankWest is our own, special way of giving back to the people and communities we serve. We take pride in lending a helping hand which is reflective in our team motto: "Be BankWest.” This means taking individual responsibility for a shared mission and values, a common vision of teamwork and especially an understanding of how we can work together to make our communities better places to work, live and play.
Team BankWest was created in 2005, when a small group of employees challenged each member of the BankWest team to search out and complete community service projects. Employees chose to repeat the challenge in 2006 and an annual tradition was born.
In 2013, members of Team BankWest completed 53 different community improvement projects across South Dakota and racked up 1,919 volunteer hours. The projects included a myriad of different tasks. In Murdo, two employees repaired a community gazebo, while a larger group from Rapid City assisted Habitat for Humanity in constructing a new home. Many teams focused upon fundraising events, including a group from Kennebec, Vivian and Presho that raised funds for a new clinic.
The following is a summary of volunteer hours accumulated by community in 2013.
For more than 20 years, BankWest has invested in our state’s most valuable resources … its youth. Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders and BankWest is a strong supporter of academic activities and post-secondary studies.
BankWest provides 16 scholarships to high school seniors and undergraduate college students who meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Applicants must be a BankWest deposit account holders for a minimum of six months preceding the application deadline.
- Applicants must be a United States citizens.
- Applicants must be a high school seniors or full-time undergraduate students currently attending an accredited post high school educational institution.
- Applicants must not have previously received a BankWest Scholarship.
Each scholarship has a $1,500 value and may be used to fund tuition at any accredited, post-secondary educational institution. Involvement in community activities, personal character and academic integrity are the three primary areas of consideration in the application process.
Scholarships are awarded in the spring.