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LinkedIn 101

Have you received an email asking you to connect on LinkedIn? If so, you are like many business men and women in the Corridor. LinkedIn's slogan is "World's Largest Professional Network,"any they have become the online chamber of commerce for networking. Launched in 2003, LinkedIn is the oldest social network on the web, with 225 million members of professionals compared to Facebook’s 1 billion members.

LinkedIn was originally thought of as a job search website but has expanded to so much more. Savvy Corridor sales professionals are realizing the power of LinkedIn in their sales process and are attributing opportunities to their LinkedIn. This digital rolodex allows for easy networking and researching prospective business associates.

Get started on LinkedIn
LinkedIn has made creating your profile like a game. The more personal content you put into your profile the further you progress in your usage status, eventually working your way up to “Expert” or “All-Star.” After adding basic content such as name, title or headline, summary, education, past work history, and volunteer work, you can upload your professional photo for visual recognition. When composing your profile summary, position yourself as an expert in your field. Focus on how you help, not what you do for living. You can even set a custom URL for business cards or email signatures.

As with anything online, privacy and security is always a high concern at Hills Bank. We encourage you to change passwords every 90 days. Be sure to sign out of your account instead of simply closing the browser when finished using LinkedIn or any social site. If you are leery of sharing personal information, stick to the basic content on your business card.

Once you complete your profile you can work on advanced features in LinkedIn for business development. Start by searching existing customers for prospective connections you may already know on LinkedIn based on contacts, education, and employment background. Remember, connecting with more people increases future opportunities.

Companies are finding that LinkedIn is not only a good way to find future employees, but it is also a good way to market products and services available to the professional community. Search for company profiles you may want to follow. Each time a company shares content, you can stay abreast of their activities. This allows you to learn about specials or business anniversaries they are celebrating and to make additional appropriate impressions.

Top sales producers do some type of pre-call planning, whether it’s asking co-workers what they know or visiting a company website. Getting to know your prospects inside and out allows you to identify “pains” they may be feeling. Ideally, your company has a solution for those “pains.”

LinkedIn allows you to research specific companies or industries. You can search company names, keywords such as “realtor,” zip codes, and more. If you find a search you like, you can save it to use in identifying future sales opportunities. 

Join Groups
As you connect with your network, you will find professional groups that have formed. Locate groups of interest to you and your business, such as home builders associations, alumni organizations, or QuickBook users. As you join groups you may find something new or develop connections with similar interests. When you’re a part of a group you can actively participate with discussions or forums. Position yourself as an expert in your field and share your expertise. 

LinkedIn can be a valuable asset in your networking routine when maintained on a daily basis. Start today by connecting with your local Hills Bank bankers!



Credit Monitoring is Good, But It Must Be Combined With Diligent Account Monitoring


Since Target has confirmed a data breach at their store locations last month, there has been a lot of discussion about fraud and identity theft. What happened at Target stores during November 27 – December 15 is known as existing card account fraud. In order for this type of fraud to occur, a thief needs the magnetic stripe information embedded in the card and the card’s PIN in order to make ATM or debit transactions. However, most debit card transactions can be processed as credit transactions so a thief doesn’t necessarily need the PIN in order to fraudulently charge your account.

The magnetic stripe on the back of the card typically contains the cardholder’s name, card number, expiration date, and an additional code called the Card Verification Value (CVV). Once obtained, this information makes it easy for thieves to make fraudulent purchases. The thief can accomplish this in two different ways. They may use the stolen information to make purchases online or over the phone without actually having a card. To make fraudulent transactions where a card is present, thieves embed the stolen magnetic stripe information onto another card using a card reader. In instances of existing account card fraud, consumers can typically best protect themselves by closely and consistently reviewing transaction history on their accounts. With diligent review, problems are typically resolved fairly quickly with very little consumer liability.

Identity theft occurs when someone steals another individual’s identity in order to gain access to finances, credit history, and reputation for their own gain. Often, new lines of credit are taken out falsely in the victim’s name, bank accounts are drained, credit cards are maxed out, new utility accounts are opened, or medical treatment is billed to insurance. In the instance of identity theft, consumers can spend many years and thousands of dollars to resolve the ensuing credit issues. Since this type of fraud frequently involves the establishment of new accounts as well as accessing existing accounts, in addition to reviewing transactions on existing accounts, it may also be beneficial to periodically review credit report information to check for new accounts or unrecognized inquiries.

Target is now offering one year of free credit monitoring that includes identity theft insurance to all guests that shopped in US stores. It includes a free copy of your Experian credit report, daily credit monitoring, ID Theft resolution, and ID Theft insurance, among other things. If you shopped at a Target store in the US, visit Target’s website for more information about their free credit monitoring service.

The key point our customers should know is even if you are signed up to receive credit monitoring through Target or any other company, you still need to be diligent about monitoring all your accounts. Credit monitoring alerts reflect changes in your credit report, which will happen long after fraudulent charges are made on your account. I strongly recommend you continue to closely monitor your accounts via online banking, mobile banking, or MyCardStatement.com. Notify Hills Bank immediately at 1-800-445-5725(HILLSBK) if you notice unusual or fraudulent activity.

Hills Bank would also like to remind you that we will never ask for personal account information by email, text, or phone. Do not respond to unsolicited requests for personal and financial account information via email, text, or phone. If you receive a request for personal information which appears to be from Hills Bank, please contact Hills Bank at 1-800-445-5725(HILLSBK) or visit any Hills Bank location to verify the validity of the request. We also recommend you never include confidential information in any unsecured email message.



Connect with Hills Bank

Hills Bank was founded on the principle that banks should care about the communities and customers they serve and provide ways to help them prosper. As we begin 2014, we would like to introduce some new and exciting ways to engage with you – our valued customer!

We’ve developed our blog, Hills Helps as another way to share community news, spotlight our people and services, and provide financial advice. We want the focus to be you, so we encourage you to share comments, ask questions, and provide feedback.

In addition to our blog, we have started a Facebook page, a Twitter handle (@HillsBank), as well as an Instagram account for our customers to see what we’ve been up to in the communities we serve.

Please keep in mind we want to keep your private information private, so please don’t post comments, or replies that share your account information, social security numbers, or any other confidential information. If you have account or service needs, please visit any Hills Bank location or call us at 1-800-445-5725(HILLSBK).

In 2014, we look forward to providing new ways to connect with you online and encourage you to share your thoughts and insights in the comments section below, so we can gain a better understanding of what’s important to you.

We look forward to hearing from you and working with you through 2014 and beyond!

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Hills Bank Business Academy Schedule

Ag Outlook
Tuesday, March 11
10 am – 3 pm
Riverside Casino and Golf Resort

Managing the Closely Held Business
Tuesday-Wednesday, April 2 - 3
8 am – 5 pm
Hills Bank, 590 W. Forevergreen Road, North Liberty

Buy Here Business Fair from the Iowa City Chamber of Commerce 
Monday, April 14
Holiday Inn, Coralville

Disaster Recovery Training Lunch and Learn, by Safeguard Iowa
Thursday, May 22
Noon – 1:30 pm
Hills Bank, 590 W. Forevergreen Road, North Liberty



10 Second Tip

Professional Headshots
Having a recent high-quality professional profile picture can be useful on many levels. Share it with organizations you volunteer for, business cards, and on your LinkedIn profile.



Ask the Expert

Q. I have heard that Microsoft will not support the operating system Windows XP after April 2014. What does that mean to me? My small business just does not have new computers in the budget. 

A. Hills Bank and Trust Company was recently notified by Microsoft that after April 8, 2014 Windows XP and Office 2003 will no longer be supported by Microsoft. If your business is using either of these you should begin planning and your application testing immediately to ensure you deploy a newer version before the end of support.

After April 8, 2014, there will be no new security updates, non-security hot-fixes, free/paid assistance options, or online technical content updates. Continuing to operate Windows XP or Office 2003 after support for the software ends may expose your company to additional vulnerabilities on all programs your business operates including Hills Bank Online, ACH or Direct Merchant. If you are currently using Windows XP or Office 2003 please consult your local computer support to discuss your migration options. Additional information can be found at www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/endofsupport.aspx.

We feel it is important to make you aware of these changes coming from Microsoft so you have time to plan your conversions accordingly in order to keep your information and systems as secure as possible.

Have a question? Submit it to enewsletter@hillsbank.com and it might be featured in an upcoming issue.

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