Identity Theft

Avoid online fraud

Identity theft occurs when someone illegally obtains your personal information—such as your Social Security number, bank account number, or other identification and uses it to open new accounts or initiate transactions in your name. Essentially, they try to become you. For example, someone might do a combination of the following: open new credit cards, open new bank accounts, forge checks and even apply for loans using your name and personal information. This can cause financial loss and damage your credit, which can lead to a lengthy resolution process.
If you think your security has been compromised, it does not automatically mean that you are a victim of identity theft. It might be an incorrect entry or an isolated incident of theft from your First American Bank account that is quickly resolved by calling 800-289-6140 or by emailing
How does identity theft happen?
Identity theft is portrayed as a high-tech crime affecting only those people who shop, communicate, or do business online. However, while thieves can obtain personal information via online methods, the majority of identity theft occurs offline. Stealing wallets and purses, intercepting or rerouting your mail, and rummaging through your garbage are some of the common tactics that thieves can use to obtain personal information. 
General identity theft tips: 
  • Do not open or respond to online solicitations for personal information. First American Bank will never send an email requiring customers to send personal information via email or pop-up windows.
  • Carry only necessary identification. In particular, do not carry your Social Security card.
  • When a Social Security number is requested to sign up for a service, confirm that it is actually needed rather than some other identifier.
  • Make photocopies of all the information you carry daily and store in a secure location like a safe deposit box.
  • Shred financial or personal documents before discarding. Most fraud and identity theft incidences happen as a result of mail and garbage theft.
  • Utilize paperless options and limit your receipt of paper statements by choosing e-Statement delivery and by managing your accounts with First American Bank Online Banking. Checking your balances online can help you regularly monitor your account activity and more quickly detect any fraudulent transactions.
  • Receive and pay bills online with Bill Pay. The fewer personal documents sent through the mail, the less chance there is for possible fraud.
  • Always put outgoing mail in a U.S. Postal Service mailbox, which is more secure than your home mailbox.
  • Collect your mail promptly each day. 
  • With a few simple steps, you can help protect your First American Bank accounts and personal information from “fake” emails and web sites. Delete suspicious emails without opening them. If you do open a suspicious email, do not open any attachments or click on any links it may contain. First American Bank will never request personal information in response to an email. Never provide sensitive account or personal information in response to an email. If you have entered personal information, call First American Bank at 800-289-6140 and forward email to
When encountering a pop-up window, be aware of the following:
  • First American Bank does not use pop-up windows to request customer account information.
  • We will never display a pop-up window on our site that you haven’t requested by clicking on a link – all of our pop-up windows are user-initiated.
  • Pop-up windows are often the result of programs installed on your computer called “adware” or “spyware.” These programs look in on your web viewing activity and regularly come hidden inside many free downloads, such as music-sharing software or screen savers. Many of these programs enable harmless advertisements, but some contain “Trojan horse” programs that can record your keystrokes or relay other information to an unauthorized source
  •  If you receive a deceptive email, such as a message phishing for your information forward it to the entity wrongfully being impersonated.  If you encounter a fake First American Bank web site, or pop-up window, or if you responded with personal information call First American Bank at 800-289-6140 and forward email to
Tips to help protect your computer and your personal information when you are online:
  • Protect your passwords. Keep your passwords in a secure place, and out of view. Don't share your passwords on the Internet, over email or the phone.  First American Bank employees will never ask for your password.
    • Using passwords that have at least eight characters and include numbers or symbols
    • Avoiding common words: some hackers use programs that can try every word in the dictionary
    • Not using your personal information, your login name or adjacent keys on the keyboard as passwords
    • Changing your passwords regularly (at a minimum, every 90 days)
    • Not using the same password for each online account you access.
  • Keep your computer operating system up to date. If your computer is more than five years old, its operating system (e.g. Windows 98, OS 7, etc.) may not offer the same level of protection as newer systems. System manufacturers provide frequent updates to help make your system more secure. Some manufacturers supply updates automatically through email or via your Internet connection. You may also check their web sites:
  • Use a current web browser. To provide our customers with the most secure online access to their accounts, we continually upgrade our online services. In certain cases, the software you use to connect to the Internet (i.e. your web browser) may eventually become unsuitable for sensitive transactions such as Internet banking. In order to maintain a high level of security.  First American Bank does not allow access to our online banking using browsers that do not meet our security criteria. You may need to upgrade your browser. Supported browsers.
  • Install a personal firewall. Though most office networks include firewall protection, your home computer may benefit from this added level of security. Check to see if your operating system already includes a firewall prior to purchasing a separate one.
  • Install and update anti-virus software. Commercially available virus protection software helps reduce the risk of contracting computer viruses that can compromise your security. These programs offer continuous upgrades in response to the latest threats. Some of the most popular programs are:
  • Activate a pop-up blocker. Several free, publicly available programs exist that will block all pop-up windows from occurring while you are online. Perform an Internet search for “pop-up blocker” or look at the options provided by major search engines. You should confirm that these programs are from legitimate companies before downloading. Once you have installed a pop-up blocker, you should determine if it blocks information that you need to view or access. If this is the case, you should consider turning off the blocker when you are on web sites you know use pop-windows to provide information you need or want to view.
  • Scan your computer for spyware regularly. You can eliminate potentially risky pop-up windows by removing any spyware or adware installed on your computer. Spyware and adware are programs that look in on your web viewing activity and potentially relay information to a disreputable source. Perform an Internet search for “spyware” or “adware” to find free spyware removal programs. You should confirm that these programs are from legitimate companies before downloading. As with a pop-up blocker, you will want to be sure that your removal program is not blocking, or removing, wanted items, and if it is, consider turning it off on some web sites.
  • Use secure web sites for transactions and shopping. Be sure the web page you are viewing offers encryption of your data. Often you will see a lock symbol in the lower right-hand corner of your browser window, or the web address of the page you are viewing will begin with “https://...” The “s” indicates “secured” and means the web page uses encryption. First American Bank, for instance, provides 128-bit encryption – the highest level commercially available today.
  • Avoid downloading programs from unknown sources. Downloads from unfamiliar sources may contain hidden programs or viruses that can compromise your computer’s security.
  • Shut down your computer when not in use. Dedicated services such as DSL or high-speed cable provide a constant connection between your computer and the Internet. When not in use, shut your computer down to avoid unwanted access to information on your computer. Even if you have a firewall installed, this is an additional step you can take to help protect yourself.

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