Protect yourself: New law makes it easier to freeze your credit
Oct. 5, 2018
A new federal law makes it easier for you to freeze and unfreeze your credit scores, a move that gives you greater control in protecting yourself from identity theft and fraud.
As of September, you can order a credit freeze on your account at no charge as well as remove the credit freeze more easily than before. To do so, you have to contact each of the nationwide credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. If you request a freeze online or by phone, the agency must place the freeze within one business day, the Federal Trade Commission reports. If you request that the credit freeze be removed, the agency must lift it within one hour. Mail requests take longer.
The act that led to these new rules, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, developed in response to the Equifax hack last year, which affected more than 145 million Americans, but it also stems from similar breaches of financial data in recent years.
The act also increased the length of fraud alert watches on your credit from 90 days to one year, and it allows parents to request credit freezes for children younger than 16. A fraud alert lets a business know it must confirm with you before opening a new account or getting a new loan.
Credit freezes are now covered by Federal law, if something goes wrong, for example, if credit accounts are fraudulently accessed in anyway, consumers will be protected from any financial liability. A credit lock on the other hand is a contractual agreement between you and the credit reporting agency which is not as strong as having protections under the law. To freeze your credit, request fraud alerts and opt-out of pre-screened credit offers, you have to contact each credit bureau separately. Contact information for each, provided by the FTC, is:
For additional tools about how to protect your credit from identity theft, go online to the FTC’s IdentityTheft.gov. Read more and get answers to related questions in this blog post and this one, featuring FAQs.
Don’t fall for romance scam
Dec. 20, 2017
'Tis the season for romance as we look for someone with whom to share the holidays, but it’s also the season for romance scams, especially ones that start with online dating.
The best ways to protect yourself include the obvious, but they need to be repeated:
- Do NOT give out your bank account numbers or information to anyone, EVER, especially someone you have only visited with online and haven’t yet met in person.
- If someone you’re connecting with online asks you to wire money to them or open a joint bank account, be wary. Make sure you check them out thoroughly first and meet them in person.
For extra help in protecting yourself, check out this list of common tricks by romance scammers provided by the Federal Trade Commission.
We have systems in place to help protect you if someone gains access to your account but you could be liable if you give out authorization in the form of online credentials or account numbers. A broken heart is hard enough to fix, but don’t add identity theft and fraudulent charges to the list too.
UPDATE: Has anything changed since Equifax first reported its data breach?
Here are more tools for you to take charge of your credit in light of news that hackers accessed the personal information millions of Americans in a data breach at Equifax.
October 13, 2017
As you know by now, that if you have a credit report, chances are high that your personal information was included in the Equifax data breach affecting more than 145 million Americans. You can read more about the initial breach on our blog, but we wanted to touch on this subject again with ways you can protect yourself and your identity.
You can still go to the special website set up by Equifax to find out: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. While there, enroll in its free, one-year credit monitoring program, TrustedID Premier. The American Bankers Association (ABA), of which NBC Oklahoma is a member, recommends doing both.
And while Equifax is a credit bureau and NOT a bank, banks like NBC Oklahoma are often on the frontlines protecting you from fraud, especially when customers and banks work together: Banks use a combination of safeguards to protect your information, such as rigorous security standards, encryption systems, employee training and strict privacy policies, the ABA has noted.
In addition to using the tools and services Equifax has provided, here are some other things the ABA recommends that you do:
- Monitor your credit reports. You can get a copy of your credit report – one free report from each of the credit bureaus once each year – at annualcreditreport.com.
- Monitor your bank accounts for fraudulent transactions. Online and mobile banking tools are your friends. So is your banker. Alert us immediately if you see a problem or have a question. NBC’s customer service representatives can be reached at 1-800-590-2580, or you can visit or call any of our locations, found at nbc.bank.
- Watch out for scams related to the breach. Be wary of emails that appear to come from Equifax regarding the breach. As Equifax has noted, it will never ask for confidential email such as a User ID and password in an email. If you get one like this, delete it immediately without responding or clicking on any links in it, Equifax noted.
- Consider whether to take additional steps, either to freeze your credit or place a fraud alert on your credit reports. You’d have to do this at each of the three credit bureaus, Equifax, Transunion and Experian, separately (links below). This depends on your personal situation. As the ABA notes, if you’re applying for credit soon or think you might need quick credit in case of an emergency, a fraud alert is better. This puts a red flag on your credit report, which requires businesses to take additional steps like calling you to verify you’re applying for credit. A credit freeze is more severe and locks down your credit so that creditors can’t see it or issue you any credit; it also prevents an identity thief from seeing it. Sometimes there’s a cost to lifting it if you need credit.
To place a credit freeze or alert, you have to contact each of the credit bureaus separately:
- Equifax: Call 800-349-9960 or visit its website.
- Experian: Call 888-397-3742 or visit its website.
- TransUnion: Call 888-909-8872 or visit its website.
Helpful links to learn more about the Equifax breach
How to protect yourself in the Equifax data breach
Are you one of the 143 million Americans whose information was exposed in the Equifax breach?
September 8, 2017
You may have heard the news this week that a hack of Equifax, one of the three consumer credit reporting bureaus, exposed sensitive data of 143 million Americans. To find out if you are one of them, check this special website that Equifax has established in light of this news.
The data included names, Social Security Numbers, birth dates and addresses, some driver’s licenses, credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and credit dispute documents with additional information on 182,000 consumers.
The breach happened between mid-May and the end of July. Although Equifax has found “no evidence of unauthorized activity” on its core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases, the amount of data exposed from other files managed by Equifax is alarming.
“On a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of risk to customers, this is a 10,” said Aivivah Litan, a fraud analyst at Gartner, in this story in the New York Times.
Although banks weren’t the target of this hack, the American Bankers Association is helping spread the word about what consumers should do and what Equifax is doing. Equifax is offering U.S. customers complimentary credit file monitoring and identity theft protection through its service called TrustedID Premier for one year. Equifax plans to send direct mail notices to those whose credit cards or dispute documents with identifying information were in the breach. You can also set up a fraud alert, security freeze or lock your credit files, although you would have to contact each credit reporting agency separately to freeze or lock your files. More information is available on the Equifax's FAQ page.
And if you’d like more information about protecting yourself from fraud and identity theft, check out this page, where we’ve linked to many of the resources and reporting tools offered by the Federal Trade Commission and the FDIC.
Cybersecurity Awareness Basics
Source: FDIC at https://www.fdic.gov/consumers/assistance/protection/IdTheft.html
Consumers increasingly rely on computers and the Internet — the “cyber” world — for everything from shopping and communicating to banking and bill-paying. But while the benefits of faster and more convenient cyber services for bank customers are clear, the risks posed by these services as well as the strategies for preventing or recovering from cyber-related crimes may not be as well-known by the average consumer and small business owner.
Common cyber-related crimes include identity theft, frauds, and scams. Identity theft involves a crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person's personal data to open fraudulent credit card accounts, charge existing credit card accounts, withdraw funds from deposit accounts, or obtain new loans. A victim's losses may include not only out-of-pocket financial losses but also substantial costs to restore credit history and to correct erroneous information in their credit reports.
In addition to identity theft, every year millions of people are victims of frauds and scams, which often start with an e-mail, text message, or phone message that appears to be from a legitimate, trusted organization. The message typically asks consumers to verify or update personal information. Similarly, criminals create bogus websites for such things as credit repair services in the hopes that consumers will enter personal information.
If you think you are a victim of a fraud or scam, contact your state, local or federal consumer protection agency. Also, a local law enforcement officer may be able to provide advice and assistance. By promptly reporting fraud, you improve your chances of recovering what you have lost and you help law enforcement. The agency you contact first may take action directly or refer you to another agency better positioned to protect you.
Violations of federal laws should be reported to the federal agency responsible for enforcement. Consumer complaints are used to document patterns of abuse, allowing the agency to take action against a company.
People who have no intention of delivering what is sold, who misrepresent items, send counterfeit goods or otherwise try to trick you out of your money are committing fraud. If you suspect fraud, there are some additional steps to take.
- Contact the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
- If the fraud involved mail or an interstate delivery service, contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. It is illegal to use the mail to misrepresent or steal money.
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How to Avoid Identity Theft
Source: FDIC at https://www.fdic.gov/consumers/assistance/protection/IdTheft.html
The best protection against identity theft is to carefully protect your personal information. For example:
- Do not share personal information over the phone, through the mail, or over the internet unless you initiated the contact or know the person you are dealing with;
- Be suspicious if someone contacts you unexpectedly online and asks for your personal information. It doesn’t matter how legitimate the e-mail or website may look. Only open e-mails that look like they are from people or organizations you know, and even then, be cautious if they look questionable. Be especially wary of fraudulent e-mails or websites that have typos or other obvious mistakes;
- Don’t give out valuable personal information in response to unsolicited requests. Social Security numbers, financial account information and your driver’s license number are some of the details that should be kept confidential;
- Shred old receipts, account statements, and unused credit card offers;
- Choose PINs and passwords that would be difficult to guess and avoid using easily identifiable information such as your mother’s maiden name, birth dates, the last four digits of your social security number, or phone numbers;
- Pay attention to billing cycles and account statements and contact your bank if you don’t receive a monthly bill or statement since identity thieves often divert account documentation;
- Review account statements thoroughly to ensure all transactions are authorized;
- Guard your mail from theft, promptly remove incoming mail, and do not leave bill payment envelopes in your mailbox with the flag up for pick up by mail carrier;
- Obtain your free credit report annually and review your credit history to ensure it is accurate;
- Use an updated security program to protect your computer; and
- Be careful about where and how you conduct financial transactions, for example don’t use an unsecured Wi-Fi network because someone might be able to access the information you are transmitting or viewing.
How to Avoid Frauds & Scams
Source: FDIC at https://www.fdic.gov/consumers/assistance/protection/IdTheft.html
There are numerous scams presented daily to consumers so you must always exercise caution when it comes to your personal and financial information. The following tips may help prevent you from becoming a fraud victim.
- Be aware of incoming e-mail or text messages that ask you to click on a link because the link may install malware that allows thieves to spy on your computer and gain access to your information;
- Be suspicious of any e-mail or phone requests to update or verify your personal information because a legitimate organization would not solicit updates in an unsecured manner for information it already has;
- Confirm a message is legitimate by contacting the sender (it is best to look up the sender’s contact information yourself instead of using contact information in the message);
- Assume any offer that seems too good to be true, is probably a fraud;
- Be on guard against fraudulent checks, cashier’s checks, money orders, or electronic fund transfers sent to you with requests for you to wire back part of the money;
- Be wary of unsolicited offers that require you to act fast;
- Check your security settings on social network sites. Make sure they block out people who you don’t want seeing your page;
- Research any “apps” before downloading and don’t assume an “app” is legitimate just because it resembles the name of your bank or other company you are familiar with;
- Be leery of any offers that pressure you to send funds quickly by wire transfer or involve another party who insists on secrecy; and
- Beware of Disaster-Related Financial Scams. Con artists take advantage of people after catastrophic events by claiming to be from legitimate charitable organizations when, in fact, they are attempting to steal money or valuable personal information.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Online Banking FAQs
- What is internet banking?
Internet banking allows you to use a personal computer with an Internet connection to conduct your banking online.
- What tools do I need in order to bank online?
You'll need an Internet service provider, a modem (28,800 baud or higher is recommended), and Browser software which supports secure web browsing (encrypted using Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL).
- Speaking of security, is the internet safe for online banking?
Yes. This is a common concern with banking and commerce on the Internet. Data on the Internet is safeguarded by encryption as it moves between systems. Data residing on a system can only be accessed by using an authorized sign-on ID and Passcode.
Any kind of breach in the security of our systems would be a serious business issue for the bank. Our success depends on our ability to manage these systems safely and to continue to earn your trust as our customer. Please be assured that we will take every measure possible to protect the financial information and resources you have entrusted to us.
You can help safeguard your information and the banking systems by protecting your sign-on ID and pass code. A proper combination of your sign-on ID and pass code is the only way to get access into your account. Please be careful to keep this information secure.
- What if NBC Online goes down? Will my payments be made? Will my transfers go through?
If NBC Online and all of our backup systems were to go down, you can be comfortable that any transaction that you had already processed prior to the system going down will go through. If you were in the middle of a transaction and there is some question as to whether the system has received the request, please contact the bank to ensure your transaction request has been accepted.
How long does it take for a payment to reach my payee, and how soon are funds taken from my account?
Each payment made by NBC Online will be processed either by check or by electronic funds transfer. If the payment is made through electronic funds transfer, it will take a matter of hours for the payment to reach your payee. Payments made by check, however, will be delivered via the postal service. Delivery could take several days depending on where the payment is to be sent. The safest thing is to always schedule your payments at least seven business days ahead of the date they are due. This will ensure that the payment will be made and processed in time.
Bill payments are processed exactly as if you had processed the payment yourself. If the payment is made by an online check, the funds will be taken out of your account when your payee deposits the check and the item clears the bank. If the payment is made electronically, the funds are withdrawn the date the transaction is processed.
What type of accounts are included in NBC Online?
You can access the following types of accounts: checking, savings, loan, CDs/investment.
- Can I have more than one checking account linked to NBC Online?
Yes, you can link all of your checking accounts to NBC Online.
- How current is this information?
All transactions and balance updates are performed once per day. So any transactions you perform today that change your balance (i.e. deposits, ATM withdrawals), will be reflected the following business day.
- Should the payment date I give be the date the payment is actually due?
No. You need to allow some time for the payment to reach your payee, so enter a date before the actual due date. Be sure to take into account that, although you can schedule a payment at any time, payments are actually initiated (sent to the payee) only on business days.
- What happens if I don't have enough money in my account to cover a bill payment?
If your account has sufficient overdraft protection to cover the payment, we'll draw against that. Otherwise, the payment will be returned for insufficient funds.
When and how are my payments delivered and how can I ensure that my payee receives my payment on the due date?
When you schedule a payment, NBC Online warehouses the payment until it is time to process it. The time to process will vary depending on how the payment is to be made and how long it will take to get the payment to the payee.
Once the system has determined that it is time to process the payment, the payment is changed to a processing status. The payment is then processed by conducting an electronic funds transfer, or a check is produced and made payable to the payee from your account. The check is then sent to the payee via regular mail.
Since the system requires you to submit payment requests seven days in advance, this ensures there is sufficient lead time to process your request and get it to the payee by the date you specify.
- Why does it take a few days to process payments?
Although a number of your payees accept payments electronically, many do not. For those that do not accept electronic payments, we must send a check to that payee through the U.S. Mail. Once it is received by the payee, it may also take a day or so for that payee to process the check and post it to your account. Even for electronic payments, it may take two or three days for your payment to be posted. By allowing a few days for processing and delivery, we can guarantee that your bills are paid on time.
- What should I do if a payee has not posted my payment?
You need to allow a few days for your payee to process your payment. If your payee has not posted the payment to your account after a few days, send an online message to the Bill Payment Desk to inquire about the status of the payment. Be sure to provide the item's reference number. The reference number is displayed on the Pay Bills screen under the "Ref #" column. The payment will then be traced and a status response will be sent to you.
- How can I prove payments and transfers were made?
With each payment and transfer, you are given a reference number so you know we received it. In addition, payments and transfers will appear on your transaction register so you can see they posted. You'll also continue to receive your monthly statement in the mail from your payee.
- Will I be charged the monthly service fee even if I don't make any payments?
Yes, the monthly service fee is charged just like your telephone bill or cable bill - whether you use the service or not.
- How will the payments be made?
We use two methods of payment:
- Electronic - NBC Online sends an electronic credit to your payee and electronically debits your checking account on your scheduled payment date.
- Laser Draft - looks and acts just like one of your personal checks.
- Can I choose the method of payment?
No. NBC Online will process the payment electronically if possible. If not, then an Online Check is produced. Over time, some payees which could not accept electronic payment may be able to. They will then begin being paid electronically.
- Does NBC Online work with other accounting software (i.e., Quicken®, Quickbooks®, Money®)?
Absolutely. NBC Online was designed to be highly compatible with these popular software products. You can access the export capability from the Reports screen.
- Is any of my personal information stored in the Internet Banking product?
Yes, the Internet Banking product stores your User ID, password and user preferences. If you keep a stock portfolio, that information is also stored.
- Can I adjust my view settings so that I can see my account in different ways?
The system will automatically show the current month's transactions and information. However, by selecting User Preferences, you can choose dates that you need to see. You can view your accounts by date, check number, payee, amount or balance in ascending or descending order.
- How can I download transaction history?
Internet banking supports downloads to Quicken™, Microsoft Money™ or as a comma-delimited text file.
- When can I use Internet Banking services?
With Internet Banking, you have access to your account information 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- How do I access Internet Banking?
You must first complete the Internet Banking registration form (click on the button to "enroll a person" or "enroll a business" and follow the prompts to submit it to us. Once your registration is received we will process your request. You must have an existing checking, savings or loan account before banking online.
- What happens if I forget or lose my password?
Just call us at 1-800-590-2580 and we will take you through the steps needed to get back into the system immediately.
Bill Pay FAQs
- What is bill pay?
The bank will send payments to the payees you designate. You can use this method to pay bills, send money to individuals, etc. You can use this method to pay anyone in the 50 United States and its territories who can accept a check – individuals, charge accounts, utilities, auto loans, professionals or services. However, tax payments (such as federal, state and local) and court-directed payments (such as alimony and child support) cannot be processed through our online bill payment system.
- Is it possible to schedule recurring payments?
Yes. You can schedule weekly, semi-monthly and monthly recurring payments. The final payment of a recurring payment scheme is designated by a 'Final Payment Date.'
- How do I register for electronic bill payment?
Bill Payment registration is easy!
The first time you attempt to access the bill payment section of Internet Banking, you will be prompted to begin online registration. You are first requested to read and accept the authorization disclosure. Failure to accept the disclosure terms prevents the registration process from proceeding.
Once you agree to the disclosure, you complete the online registration form. The registration form is then forwarded to us for review. We are responsible for checking the information on the form and for assigning you a payment plan.
- When I add a new payee to my bill payment account, or change my account number, how quickly will the change take place?
When you update the information for the bill payment account, the changes are implemented virtually instantaneously.
- Can I receive a summary of my bill payments sorted by category or payee?
Yes. Reports can be generated for online viewing, or they can be downloaded and saved.
- Can I use electronic bill payment with all my accounts?
No, only checking accounts can be used for bill payment purposes.
- When can I start using electronic bill payment?
You can begin bill payment once you have received confirmation that your registration has been processed.
- When is bill payment available?
You can schedule payments 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Are my bill payment transactions reflected as Internet Banking transactions?
All bill payment transactions become part of the Internet Banking transaction history and show up in personal financial management applications when the transaction history is downloaded.
- How do I add new payees?
You can add payees by accessing the Add Payee screen. New payees will be added to the payee list immediately.
- Can bill payment be used when I am out of the country?
Bill payment provides you with peace of mind when you are traveling for an extended period of time. All you need is access to the Internet with a secure browser and you can pay your bills while out of the country. Payees must be located within the 50 United States and Territories.
- Is there a limit to the number of bill payment accounts I can set up?
No. You may use any of your checking accounts that are registered for online banking.
- Can I pay my bills on the weekend?
You can set up your payments during the weekend. However, the system will prohibit you from scheduling a single payment and the first of a recurring payment on the same weekend. This is because payments scheduled for the weekend are always processed on the Friday before. Therefore, when scheduling payments on a weekend, the first day for which you can schedule payments (single or recurring) is the first business day following the weekend. Generally, single or recurring payments that fall on a Saturday, Sunday or bank holiday are processed on the previous business day and are debited from your account within two business days. If a bank holiday falls on either a Friday or Monday, the debit will occur within three days.
- If I schedule multiple bill payments for a single day, how will my account be debited – as a lump sum or separately?
Each bill payment is debited separately.
- Are all debits and credits sent out at the same time?
Yes, they are all sent out at the same time.
- How is my account debited?
Your account is debited via ACH – Automated Clearing House is a funds transfer system which provides for the interbank clearing of electronic entries for participating financial institutions.
- If I make an error in selecting an electronic payee and it results in a late fee, am I responsible for the charges?
If you select an electronic payee with an address that is different from that indicated on the payment coupon, then you are responsible for the late fee. You always have the option to manually enter a different address for a payee. If you select an electronic payee with the address that matches that indicated on the payment coupon, and Metavante routes the payment incorrectly, then Metavante data services will take responsibility for the late fee.
- How do I place a 'stop payment' on a bill payment?
A payment may be edited or deleted any time before the "process date." Payments that have been remitted electronically cannot be stopped.
|What is a [dot]BANK ( .bank) domain extension?
FAQS about the new [dot]BANK domain name extension*
- What is a [dot]BANK (.bank) domain extension?
Such a domain name indicates you have reached the website of a verified member of the global banking community; only such institutions are eligible to register a [dot]BANK extension.
- Why does it matter that NBC is changing to NBC.bank?
In short, this is going to make banking more secure for you. This domain, unlike other “generic top-level domains” in the same category (such as the more traditional [dot]COM, [dot]ORG or [dot]edu (.com, .org, .edu), has enhanced security requirements. These extensions are also more easily recognized because with a [dot]bank extension, you know for sure you have landed on the right website.
- What are some of these security requirements and reasons for them?
> To scratch the surface of this issue, these requirements are complex and different groups involved in the registration process will provide them, but they include:
Verification of eligible financial institutions’ charter/licenses for regulated entities so that only legitimate entities are awarded domain names in the first place. These are verified during initial registration and at each renewal or at least every two years, whichever comes first.
> Domain name system security extensions so that Internet users land on legitimate websites and aren’t misdirected to malicious ones.
For institutions using a [dot]bank domain for email, authentication of institutions’ emails and verification that any change to registration data is made only by authorized users.
> Strong encryption.
> Prohibition of privacy registration to ensure full disclosure of registration information.
- Specifically, who has [dot]BANK domains and who doesn’t?
Banks, trusts, thrifts, cooperatives, etc., that are chartered and supervised by a government regulatory authority ARE eligible. Bank holding companies and credit unions/associations (such as farm credit associations) in the United States DO NOT meet the eligibility requirements for such a domain name.
- What is the verification process to validate eligibility for the secure [dot]BANK extension?
Banks who have this extension have gone through:
> A security check
> Verification of their organization, jurisdiction and banking credentials
> Verification of their domain name, telephone number, employment of the listed contact and the contact’s authority.
What if I accidentally type in NBC Oklahoma’s old email address instead of nbc.bank?
For at least a year, you will automatically be redirected to the proper new website.
Will the change to a new name affect my accounts?
No. Your account information continues to be secure, and NBC Oklahoma will continue to strive to provide outstanding service for our customers and add new features for you as they become available.
* To read more, go online to ftld.com. FTLD Registry Services, LLC, was founded by leaders in the financial services community and was granted the right to operate [dot]BANK and dot[INSURANCE] in 2014. FTLD is a coalition of banks, insurance companies and financial services trade associations, including the American Bankers Association, that formed to oversee these new domain names. Only approved by FTLD can issue these names.