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Protect yourself from Phishing Scams

Phishing is a type of scheme that uses fraudulent email, web pages and text messages to gather personal, financial and sensitive information for the purpose of identity theft. Most commonly, users receive spam email (mass email messaging), text messages and pop-up windows that appear to come from legitimate businesses. People have been tricked by these deceptive solicitations into sharing passwords, credit card, debit card, and bank account numbers.


How phishing works


Phishing emails and text messages are often sent out as spam to numerous recipients and appear to come from legitimate businesses, sometimes even duplicating legitimate logos and text. Within a phishing email, you may be requested to click on a link that takes you to a fraudulent site or pop-up window where you are asked to submit personal and financial information. A phishing text message may request that you send personal information back to the sender through text message or call a phone number.


In order to increase the chances of a response, messages may imply a sense of urgency or an immediate risk to bank accounts or credit cards if you fail to answer. Special offers and prizes may also be promoted as incentives.


What phishers do with your personal information


Phishers can access your accounts using your passwords and other information to withdraw money or make purchases. Personal information can also be used by phishers to open new bank or credit card accounts in your name.


For your protection, please remember to NEVER install programs suggested in emails, even if the email appears to be from an official or familiar source. Do not provide personal information in a response to a text message you have received. First State Bank & Trust Co. will never send you an email containing links to download software or applications, nor will we send you a text asking you to provide private information.

Identity Theft Protection tips when Shopping Online

  1.  Make sure you have installed and updated antivirus, anti-malware and personal firewall software on your computer. Your operating system and Internet browser should be updated with the latest security patches.
  2. Only shop on secure sites. To see if a Web site is secure, look for “https” in the address bar. Also, there’s usually a small yellow padlock logo at the right of your Web browser address bar. Make sure that you enter the correct URL. There are cases where hackers have purchased misspelled domains.
  3. Shopping Web sites have no reason to ask for your Social Security number, or passwords to your e-mail or bank accounts as part of the buying process. Never provide them.
  4. If you suspect a Web site is not what it claims, leave it immediately. Do not click any buttons on the site, run any content or download any software. Use different “strong” passwords (those that are more secure) for online retailers and your personal e-mail accounts. A strong password is composed of numbers, upper- and lower-case letters and symbols. For example, a password like “3Dogz$$!” is a better option than “1006.” The longer and more unique the password the better, but make sure it’s also something you can remember.
  5. Before purchasing anything on a Web site, read site reviews or blog comments by other people. Use sites such as or (Google shopping) for comparing prices and to read users’ reviews of the retail Web site.
  6. Retailers may try to lure you into saving your personal information on their Web site in return for more convenience or better deals. Don’t do it. So many Web sites have had their customer databases breached by identity thieves lately that it’s just not worth the risk.
  7. Read each Web site’s return and privacy policy before making your purchase.
  8. Be aware of phishing e-mail scams that include Web site links advertising incredible deals. Rather than clicking on them, type the link of known sites by hand into your browser.
  9. Do not send your payment information via regular e-mail; these communications are not secure.
  10. As a general rule, uncheck boxes advertising “additional offers.” These services are sometimes offered for a low initial fee that later increases to a high, recurring charge on your card.
  11. Save records of all your purchases either in an electronic document or on paper.
  12. Don’t forget to power off your computer completely when you are finished using it.

ATM Myth – PIN Reversal

You may have seen an email stating, or heard otherwise, that if you are in danger at an ATM, you may enter your PIN number backwards to alert the police, but this is not true.  Financial Institutions within the United States want you to know that PIN reversal is not a security feature on ATM’s.

Protect yourself from internet scams and identity theft

First State Bank & Trust Co. does not and will not ask for personal information in email messages.  You should make it common practice not to disclose this type of information in e-mails to anyone because security cannot be guaranteed.  For more information on how to protect yourself from identity theft, please visit with one of our representatives about our SmartChoice Checking Account, which has identity theft protection benefits.

Link to Cyber Lessons by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security