Security Tips

Charity Scam October 9, 2017

In the aftermath of natural disasters, many “charities” run by scam artists pop up to take advantage of Americans’ willingness to help others. Follow these steps to steer clear of crooks looking to make a quick dollar off of your generosity:


Avoid charities that seem to have sprung up overnight in response to a disaster. Instead, give to charities with a proven track record of helping natural disaster victims.


Make sure the charity you are donating to is legitimate. You can do this by checking out websites like Charity Navigator,Charity Watch, orGuideStar. There you can find information like tax records that explain what the charity does, how long they’ve been doing it, and who their head employees are.


Pay by credit or debit card. That way, if the charity turns out to be a scam, you can dispute the charge.


If you receive a solicitation from a group fundraising on behalf of another organization, be sure to ask what percentage of a donation is kept by the fundraising organization. If the caller is unable or unwilling to provide that information, or if the fee seems unusually high, it could be a scam.




#EquifaxHelp | Live Event September 19, 2017

equifax, live event image

Still have questions about the Equifax data breach and what you can do? If so, we would like to invite you to a special Facebook live event hosted by News 3, the Wisconsin Bankers Association, and the Wisconsin Division of Trade and Consumer Protection. The event will air on Wednesday, Sept. 20, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on the WISC-TV/Channel3000 Facebook page.


A panel of experts will take questions from you on what data might be at risk and what your next steps should be if your data has been hacked.


Access more information from WISC-TV’s website by clicking here.


You can send questions to the televisions station at, tweet at @WISCTV_News3 or @aschrager using the hashtag #EquifaxHelp, or join the live event on the WISC-TV/Channel3000 Facebook page.


As the full ramifications of the Equifax data breach unfold, please remember we continue to monitor your accounts for fraudulent activity and will do our best to protect your funds. We’ll also pass on informational opportunities like this Facebook live event as they become available.

Equifax Data Breach September 11, 2017

Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies, reported a data breach last week that may affect as many as 143 million Americans – nearly 44% of the United States population. Equifax has set up a website ( that allows consumers to check if their information may have been exposed in the breach. 

According to Equifax, hackers gained access to certain files between mid-May and late July of this year. Information in the breach includes consumers’ names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, and addresses. Some consumers’ credit card numbers, driver’s license numbers, and dispute documents (that contain personally identifying information) were also accessed.

Equifax has established a dedicated call center at 866-447-7559 to answer consumers’ questions about the breach. The call center is open every day (including weekends) from 6:00 a.m. – midnight, Central Time.

If you believe you may have been affected by this data breach, take these next steps:

  • Consider placing a free 90-day (renewable) fraud alert on your credit reports by contacting one of the three major credit reporting bureaus: Experian (888-397-3742), TransUnion (800-680-7289), or Equifax (888-766-0008). When you place a fraud alert with one bureau, that bureau will relay the request to the other two companies on your behalf. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim and that they should verify that anyone seeking credit in your name is actually you.
  • For an even higher level of protection, you may wish to place a security freeze on your credit reports. A freeze bars access to your reports to almost anyone without your express permission.
  • Request a free credit report from the three credit bureaus by visiting or calling (877) 322-8228. Check your report for irregularities.
  • For additional resources and information, visit or contact the Bureau of Consumer Protection by phone at (800) 422-7128 or by email:

(Source:  Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection)

Tips to Protect Yourself from ATM Skimmers December 1, 2016

With confirmed cases of ATM skimming on the rise, it’s more important than ever that consumers know how to protect themselves from this fraud technique. ATM skimmers are devices that criminals add to a legitimate ATM in order to obtain unsuspecting consumers’ debit card information. The thieves then use this information to create fake debit cards out of non-activated gift cards or to make purchases online.  The good news is there are ways to defend your account information from these illegal devices. Read on for tips on how to protect your money.

  • Be Vigilant When using any card reader – including ATMs and pay-at-the-pump stations – especially ones that you’re unfamiliar with, watch for unusual marks, scratches, or loose pieces of equipment. Be on the lookout for colors that don’t match the rest of the display. For example, if the entire machine is silver with blue accents, but the card slot is red and white, it could be an indicator that the slot is actually a skimming device. Criminals often target high-traffic ATMs for skimming, so use extra caution in tourist hot spots and when using ATMs located outdoors (out of sight locations make it easier to tamper with the device). For ATMs that you use frequently, watch carefully for any changes to the machine, such as new keypads or odd looking equipment or wires, as they may indicate that the ATM has been tampered with.
  • Protect Your PIN On some skimming devices, a tiny camera is used to record consumers’ PIN numbers when they enter them into the ATM. The best way to prevent that from happening is to use your free hand to cover the keypad as you enter your PIN. Also, it’s important to update your PIN number regularly. Contact your bank and they’ll help you make this simply change to better protect your funds.
  • Monitor Your Accounts Finally, be sure that you regularly check your account balances and monitor the usage of your accounts. It can be helpful to sign up for alerts (such as a low balance SMS alert or a large dollar amount transaction alert) and watch for suspicious transactions or unusual withdrawals. If you’re only checking your bank account once a month when you receive your statement, your money is at risk.
  • Jammed ATMs Steer clear of a jammed ATM machine that forces customers to use another ATM that has a skimmer attached. Often, the criminal will disable other ATMs in the area to draw users to the one that has the skimming device on it. 

If you suspect an ATM has been tampered with, contact the ATM’s owner immediately. If you think you have used a compromised ATM, contact your bank and ask what your options are. They may flag your account for closer monitoring until you can confirm that your data is safe, or they might help you change your PIN to increase the security on your debit card. Resource: Wisconsin Bankers Association

What Do Skimmers Look Like?

Skimmers have been around for years and are constantly evolving. Below are some examples of skimmers, however, these are only examples and are not all inclusive. 

ATM skimmer image_001          ATM skimmer image_002

ATM skimmer image_003          atm-card-skimmer-hacking

ATM skimmer

Online Security Tips 102 January 4, 2016

Look for the Certificate

The convenience of online shopping has never been more convenient for consumers. It is important to only enter personal financial information in sites that are protected and encrypted with a security certificate.

  • When browsing and entering personal and financial information be sure to be aware of sites that have a certificate.
  • A secure site with a certificate will display a “padlock” and have the protocol “https” before the URL.
  • Most browsers will have a “green” indicator when there is a valid certificate and encrypted protocol is being used.
  • If you click on the “padlock” icon, you can view information about the certificate. This will tell you what third-party was used to issue the certificate and validate the website.
  • Your browser will warn you if there is a problem with a certificate or if there is an absence of a certificate. In this case, NEVER enter personal information or passwords.

Ways to Secure your Mobile Device

Treat your smart phone and your tablet as you would a computer hooked up to the internet. Follow some basic steps to protect yourself and the information stored on your device:

  • Make sure your device has a password and make it a strong one!
  • Record you device’s unique ID number.
  • Make sure your device has the latest operating system.
  • Pay attention as you configure your device- be careful that you are not enabling GPS tracking or other features that could risk your privacy. Enable GPS tracking only on an app-by-app basis if it is truly necessary for the app to do its job.
  • Install anti-virus/anti-malware on your device – you can normally find many options in your app stores.
  • Install a device manager or tracker to disable your phone and locate it should it be lost or stolen.
  • Back up the photos and files on your device to the cloud, but be sure that you understand how this sometimes sensitive data will be protected.
  • Only download apps that you need and make sure they are from a trusted provider.

Use Hardware Firewall on your Home Network

One of the first steps to security is having a firewall. Adding a hardware firewall will take your security to a level that is not attainable by a firewall.

  • A hardware firewall will offer a different level of security. It will act as a physical barrier that will shield your network and possibly malicious traffic.
  • Make sure you have a router with a built in firewall.

Secure your Wi-Fi

A Wi-Fi password is broadcast through the air every time you turn your computer on, hackers can trick your computer to resending the password, which can give them access to view everything you do online.

  • Use the same rules you use for your computer.
  • You should change Wi-Fi passwords at least four times a year.
  • Like choosing passwords for your computer, make sure your Wi-Fi password is at least 16 characters long with letters, numbers, and symbols.

Patch your Mobile Device Apps and Operating System

It is important to know that malicious threats to an app can expose your entire device.

  • Check for updates and update apps and operating systems as soon as you receive notification of such.
  • Make sure the automatic update feature is turned on- this will help you update your smartphone in a timely matter.

Follow Us on FacebookIcon For: Facebook Widget