Customer Protection Center
Hills Bank has created the Customer Protection Center to provide educational information and ways to protect your accounts and personal information.
9-9-14: Important Update Regarding Home Depot's Payment System Breach
Home Depot confirms there has been a payment system breach. For more information about the breach, visit Home Depot’s website. Please feel free to contact us at 1-800-445-5725 (HILLSBK) if you have any specific concerns about your account.
9-2-14: Important Update Regarding the Potential Home Depot Data Breach
Hills Bank continues to monitor the reports of the potential data breach at Home Depot. Check back for updates as available. Please feel free to contact us at 1-800-445-5725 (HILLSBK) if you have any specific concerns about your account.
Hills Bank would 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. Also, it's recommended that you never include confidential information in any unsecured email message.
Be aware of the items below to help protect your personal information.
Microsoft will no Longer Support Windows XP and Office 2003
Effective April 8, 2014, Microsoft will discontinue support of Windows XP and Office 2003. If your organization has not started the migration to a newer version you will want to soon. To ensure you remain on supported versions of Windows and Office, you should begin planning and application testing immediately to ensure you deploy before end of support.
After April 8, 2014, there will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted options or online technical content updates. Running Windows XP and Office 2003 in your environment after their end of support date may expose your company to potential risks.
Having a computer system that is secure is a top priority for Hills Bank and Trust Company. If you are currently using Windows XP or Office 2003, please consult your local computer support to begin your migration process. Additional information can be found at microsoft.com/en-us/windows/endofsupport.aspx.
The U.S. Department of Treasury Warns of Phone Scams
The U.S. Department of the Treasury, Social Security Administration, and Department of Veterans Affairs has created a public service announcement educating citizens about phone scams. There have been several instances of phone scams from criminals who claim that victims have won lottery winnings, are long lost family members or an employee from a financial institution or credit card company.
To keep your money safe, never give out your Social Security number or bank account information to anyone unless you initiated the contact. It's also suggested to watch your bank accounts regularly. This can be made easier with tools like eStatement, online banking, and mobile banking.
For more tips on how to protect yourself from phone scams, visit StopFraud.gov.
IRS Related Scams
Remember, the IRS will not contact you by email, text messages, social media channel, or any type of electronic communication for personal or financial information. Be aware of this while you make tax season preparations.
Visit irs.gov for more information about IRS related scams and actions to take if you receive unsolicited communications claiming to be from the IRS.
Internet privacy and security is a concern for many consumers. As a visitor of our website or user of our Internet banking product, Hills Bank Online,TM we want you to be informed about your online security.
Below are some simple security steps that you can take to safeguard yourself while using the Internet and to define some common terms so you are familiar with them.
Identity Theft Prevention Tips When Using Online Banking
- Do not give your Hills Bank Online ID or password to anyone. Don’t write IDs or passwords where anyone can find this information.
- We encourage you to avoid using commonly guessed names or numbers (birthdays, addresses, phone numbers, words in the dictionary, etc.) for your password. Try using passphrases, which are a string of characters longer than a normal password that include capitalization, punctuation, special characters, and numbers (i.e. i%HEART<3HBT1904.)
- Remember to logout Hills Bank Online when you are finished banking. This will properly end your session and require you to reenter your ID and password to bank again. When you simply hit the Back button of your browser, the Hills Bank Online session does not end.
- When naming your accounts, don’t use the account number. Give the account a name like Checking, Household Savings, Car Loan, Kid's CD, etc. This keeps your account numbers confidential and the system even more secure.
- Create email alerts to notify you of activity in your Hills Bank Online accounts. Set up your alerts by logging into Hills Bank Online, click the "Management" tab, then click "Alerts."
- When you email Hills Bank Online Customer Support with a question, do not send your account number or social security number in the message. While you are trying to save us time, email isn’t secure and in the event someone intercepts your message to us, you don’t want those people to have that confidential information.
Phishing is an Internet scam conducted by an illegitimate person(s) who falsely claims to be a familiar business. The purpose is to direct the user—you—to a website under the guise of updating your personal information. The website may look legitimate but it is actually a duplication of the real website. Protect yourself by following these tips:
- Always perform due diligence when sending sensitive information over the Internet and make sure the website you're using is legitimate and has adequate security measures.
- Always pay attention to the URL of a website. Malicious websites may look legitimate, but the URL may be misspelled, or have a different domain ending in .net versus .com, etc.
- If you receive an email saying your account will be discontinued unless you confirm personal information, do not reply or click any links in the email.
- Be cautious about opening any attachment or downloading any files from emails you receive regardless of who sent them.
- If you unknowingly supplied personal or financial information, contact your bank and credit card company immediately.
- Check for anti-phishing features offered by your email client and web browser.
- For more detailed information on phishing attacks pretending to be from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), visit their website at www.fdic/gov/consumers/consumer/alerts/index.html or find information about known phishing attacks from the Anti-Phishing Working Group at www.antiphishing.org.
Protection From Viruses, Spyware, and Malware
If you are connected to the Internet, you should take steps to protect your computer from malicious software that may harm your computer or capture your personal information like user IDs and passwords.
Here are a few ways to protect against malicious software:
- Firewall: A control on networks to keep them secure by building a bridge between the internal and external network (i.e. Internet) that is not assumed to be secure. Firewalls can be either software or hardware based.
- Anti-Malware Protection: Software that can be used to prevent, detect, and remove malware that may harm your computer like viruses, worms, and Trojans.
- Anti-spyware Protection: Spyware can collect information on the computer without the user’s knowledge. To protect your computer from being infected, use an antispyware program that can identify spyware on your computer and remove it.
- Key Logger Detection: Key logging detection is surveillance software that records each keystroke you make on your computer to gain access to personal information. Be sure your antivirus protection detects this type of intrusion.
- Keep Software and Security Patches Up-to-date: Use the latest version of a web browser or online security software and keep it up to date for the highest level of security.
For more information on how to protect your computer, refer to your local technology service professional to ensure your malicious software protection is up to date.
We are your online banking partner and want to make your online experience as secure as possible. For more information, please contact Hills Bank Online Customer Support via email or by calling 1-800-445-5725(HILLSBK).
Smart phones, tablets, notebooks, and mobile devices with online capabilities are more common than ever. These mobile devices are capable of storing and processing information just like a computer. It's important to protect your mobile devices just as you would your computer to prevent identity theft and loss of personal information.
- Always install updates to applications and firmware on your mobile device. If you don't do this, it increases the risk of having your mobile device compromised.
- Always wipe your mobile device when you sell it or trade it in to avoid leaving personal data.
- Check to see if your smartphone's operating system has encryption capabilities that can protect your personal data in case of loss or theft.
- Do not leave your mobile device unattended and keep it in a secure place, especially when not in use.
- If available, install mobile security software on your mobile device.
- Just as you would on your computer, don't click links or download software from unknown sources to avoid malware.
- Protect your mobile device by enabling a power-on password and screenlock feature to protect the contents.
- Turn off the ability for your mobile device to connect to unknown wireless networks.
- Turn off geo-location services if they are not necessary on your mobile applications.
- Turn off features of your smartphone that are not needed. This reduces the number of places where your phone could be vulnerable to attack.
- Remember, downloading applications may require access to personal information, so only download apps to your mobile device that you know and trust.
Set up Hills Bank mobile banking alerts by signing into mobile banking on your phone and click "Menu," then "View Alerts." Or manage your alerts by signing into mobile banking management preferences and clicking the "Alerts" tab. From there, you can add or edit alerts for low balance, exceeded withdrawal amount, and deposit confirmation. You can even have an alert sent via text every time a transaction is made to your account. It's a great way to track account changes and your finances.
Social Media Security
As the popularity of social media sites soars, so does the number of thieves who want to exploit social media to steal your personal information. Below are tips to keep in mind when using social media sites.
Type the URL of the social media site you are visiting. Get into the habit of going directly to the website you are visiting versus clicking an email link. If you click a link through email or another website, it could be a phishing technique used by a hacker.
Use caution when posting information about yourself. Hackers often break into accounts by clicking the “Forgot your password?” link on the account login page and searching for answers to security questions like your birthday, hometown, high school information, etc. If possible, create your own password questions.
Don’t allow social media sites to scan your email contact list. Typically, when you join a social media site, you are offered to enter your email address and password so you can automatically connect with everyone in your email contact list. When you do not allow the site to scan your contact list, you protect your friend’s email addresses in the event your account is hacked.
Be selective. Not only should you be selective about who you friend on social networking sites, but also be selective about what you post. Thieves will go to great lengths to find personal information. Not only should you not post personal information, but don’t let friends know when you’re out of town, where you do your banking, what credit cards you use, etc. You may trust your friends, but do you trust your friends' friends?
Know the privacy policies and privacy settings of the social media sites you belong to. You may think only friends can see your posts, but if your privacy settings are set to allow friends of friends to see your information, you may be unknowingly letting strangers know more about you than you thought.
Think twice before installing third-party applications. Many social networking sites allow you to download third-party applications. When you install third-party applications, you are allowing an unknown party to send emails, post on your wall, and access your information on your behalf. Sometimes thieves use these applications to steal your personal information.
Keep your browser and security software up-to-date. Typically, the newer the browser, the more security features it has. Older browsers tend to have more security flaws that hackers have discovered. Also, consider having security updates automatically installed on your browser and in your security software versus having to manually install updates.
Identity (ID) Theft
Awareness is an effective tool against many forms of Identity Theft. Simply be aware of how information is stolen, be cautious to protect your personal information, monitor your information to spot any problems quickly and know what steps to take if you suspect your identity has been stolen.
If you unknowingly disclosed personal information, contact Hills Bank and all the major credit bureaus below to see if placing a fraud alert on your file will prevent thieves from opening a new account in your name.
P.O. Box 740250
Atlanta, GA 30374
P.O. Box 1017
Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92634
|Toll Free: 1-800-685-1111||Toll Free: 1-888-397-3742||Toll Free: 1-800-916-8800|
|Fraud Hotline: 1-888-766-0008||Fraud Hotline: 1-888-397-3742||Fraud Hotline: 1-800-680-7289|
Protect Your ATM, Credit, and Debit Cards
ATM, credit, and debit cards are fast, easy, and convenient to use. Unfortunately, thieves use a wide variety of scamming techniques to try to gain access to your accounts. Protect your ATM, credit, and debit cards like you would protect your cash. Just as you wouldn't leave cash unattended anywhere, don't leave your bank cards unattended. Keep a record of all your ATM, debit, and credit card numbers, expiration dates, and the lost or stolen number of each card in a locked and secure place so if your card is lost or stolen, you can immediately call the bank or credit card company to get it canceled.
And don't forget, as soon as you get your card, sign the signature panel on the back of the card so merchants can verify a valid signature.
Ways Fraud Occur
In order for fraud to occur, a thief needs the magnetic stripe information on the back of your card and your PIN number for an ATM or debit card. However, some debit card transactions can be run as credit, so a thief doesn't always need the PIN in order to fraudulently charge your account. If your card is stolen or duplicated, common methods used to steal or duplicate cards and obtain the PIN include:
- Easily Identified PINs for ATM and Debit Cards: Do not write your PIN down; this number should be memorized. Avoid using a PIN that is your birth date, birth year, or based on any information that can be found in your wallet. This includes easily identifiable PINs like your initials, telephone number, or social security number. Never disclose your PIN number to anyone. No one should ever ask you for your PIN, including cashiers helping you with a transaction or Hills Bank employees.
- Skimming Techniques: Thieves use skimming techniques to install hidden devices on ATM or cash machines to obtain card information and PIN numbers. Oftentimes, these devices are attached directly to an ATM card insert slot as well as a camera that is used to record the card owner entering their PIN number. Thieves also use devices designed to jam your card into an ATM, and will disguise themselves as a helpful stranger who watches as you input your PIN a few times, but the card remains stuck. After you leave, the thief will remove your card and have your PIN. Be sure to carefully observe ATMs for fraudulent devices and be aware of your surroundings when conducting transactions.
- Phishing: Thieves use phishing techniques to send unsolicited and urgent emails that appear to come from a bank or legitimate organization asking to provide card information and the PIN number. Then, they use the information to make unauthorized transactions. If you are ever in doubt about the authenticity of an email, call the company directly and ask if they are aware of the email being sent on their behalf. Please remember that Hills Bank will never send you an email asking for personal information.
If you ever receive a suspicious email, see something suspicious on an ATM machine, or have lost your ATM, credit, or debit card; contact Hills Bank during business hours at 319-679-5500 for the Iowa City area, 319-654-8100 for the Cedar Rapids area, or toll free at 1-800-445-5725 immediately or visit the Help Center for card help assistance.
Ways to Protect Your Cards
There are several ways to protect your personal information and cards from fraudulent charges.
- Carefully Watch Credit Card Transactions: Keep an eye on your credit card transactions, void incorrect receipts, and destroy carbon copies. When signing credit card receipts, write "0" or draw a line through any blank spaces above the total, especially in instances where there are blank spaces for tips.
- Online Shopping on Secure Websites: If you're using your card online, be sure the website you're visiting is secure and has "https://" in the URL before you enter any information. Sometimes websites even have a tiny icon of a padlock to symbolize a higher level of security, and although it's not a guarantee of a secure site, it may provide assurance.
- Online Statements: Signing up for electronic statements not only provides you with your account statement the day after it's generated at the bank, but it also prevents your mail from being intercepted and credit card information from being stolen.
- Photo ID Cards: If possible, get a card with your photo on it. Use a straight-on full-head image and zoom in on your face. Do not wear sunglasses or other items that could detract from your clear identity. Use a photo with a light, single-colored background for best results. Make your Hills Bank debit card a photo ID card with the Picture Perfect debit card.
- Reconcile Accounts Monthly: Once you have received your credit card or account statement, reconcile it promptly. Save credit or debit card receipts to compare with your credit card statement. If you see any suspicious activity, contact Hills Bank during business hours at 319-679-5500 for the Iowa City area, 319-654-8100 for the Cedar Rapids area, or toll free at 1-800-445-5725 immediately or visit the Help Center for card help assistance.
- Set Alerts Online and with Mobile Applications: With online banking, you can set alerts through your email to be notified of activity in your Hills Bank Online accounts. If your alert is set to notify you every time there is a transaction on your account, you will know right away if it's authorized or not. The same goes with mobile applications, but it's even more secure because you can get a text message as soon as a transaction occurs. To learn more about setting up alerts online, or mobile banking, contact Hills Bank during business hours at 319-679-5500 for the Iowa City area, 319-654-8100 for the Cedar Rapids area, or toll free at 1-800-445-5725.
Other Ways to Protect Your Identity
Identity thieves only really need your Social Security Number in order to commit Identity Theft. They can steal credit card payments or statements from private mailboxes; dig through trash to search for cancelled checks, account statements, and pre-approved credit card offers; hack into computers that store personal information; or even file change of address forms in victims names to start gathering personal and financial information.
Make it harder for identity thieves by doing the following:
- Install a lockable mailbox or pick up your mail at the post office to reduce mail theft. Never put outgoing mail in an unguarded "out box" at work or within your building, and when you're out of town have the post office hold your mail.
- Never leave your purse or wallet unattended, especially at the gym or restaurants, or within open view in your car.
- If you are unsure about a request from a company for personal information, contact the company directly by checking previous statements for contact information (not the statement that came with the request) and find contact information for the business on their website to make sure it's legitimate.
- Never give personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call. Thieves will try to pose as legitimate businesses to trick you into giving information. If this happens, hang up the phone and call the company to establish if there is a problem or to let them know someone is trying to scam their customers.
- Never give your Social Security Number (SSN) to anyone and don't use checks with your SSN printed on them.
- Shred all statements or pre-approved credit card offers using a cross-cut shredder before throwing them away to prevent dumpster divers from obtaining your personal information.
- Some thieves create fake websites and will recruit unsuspecting victims into phone interviews for "work from home" types of employment. They will ask for your Social Security Number and bank account information for a direct deposit. To avoid this type of scam, do your due diligence in checking out a company, and try to get a meeting in person. Remember, if a job offer is too good to be true, it probably is.
- When at work, never provide personal information about yourself or your company, especially about the organizational structure, technology, or networks unless you are certain the person you are talking to is authorized to have that information.
Don't let fraud, pickpockets, or identity theft ruin your next vacation. The following tips will help protect your wallet, valuables, identity, and financial information while traveling.
Credit Card Purchases: Alert your credit card company of travel plans as well as a lost or stolen card as soon as possible. The sooner the better, so be sure to carry the Hills Bank lost or stolen credit card number (1-800-423-7503) or download the Important Card Information brochure, and keep it in several places so it won't be lost or stolen either. Another precaution is to pack a backup card and secure it in a hotel safe, so if one is lost or stolen, you will have a backup to pay for hotel rooms or other large purchases.
Be Careful with Your Debit Card: When using a debit card, keep in mind it is linked directly to your checking account, so it's important to know what is leaving your account at every transaction. You can sign up for alerts through Hills Bank Online or mobile banking to receive a message anytime there is a change in your account. Immediately contact the Hills Bank lost or stolen debit card number (1-800-383-8000) if yours is lost or stolen so we can cancel the card and limit fraudulent withdrawals. Hills Bank has designed an Important Card Information brochure so you can print and keep these phone numbers with you.
Make Copies of Important Financial Information: Make copies of all cards you will have on your trip, your passport data page, and travel itinerary. Carry only what you need, and do not carry anything with your social security number. If you must carry a card with your social security number on it, make a copy of it and black out the last four digits. Take the copy and leave the card at home. Also, leave copies of everything with a trusted friend or family member while you are gone.
Alert Hills Bank and Your Credit Card Company about your Travel Plans: Remember to alert Hills Bank and your credit card company about your travels. If you don't remember to do this, we may think a thief—not you—is making purchases and we could freeze your card. This is especially imperative for travel outside the United States.
Protect your Hard-Earned Cash: Take only the cash you need for the day and leave the rest. Use the hotel safe to secure your cash and valuables including your computer, camera, jewelry, mp3 player, and other valuables. Be sure to split up your money while you are traveling: carry some in your wallet, some in your belt, and some in your sock as a precautionary step. Be aware of your surroundings and be particularly alert in crowds and in taxis. It is easy to become distracted, let your guard down, and be an easy target for a pickpocket or thief attempting to steal your luggage.
For International Travel: Take several forms of payment in case one is not accepted, is lost or stolen, or is deactivated while out of the country. Some countries have converted to EMV (Europay, MasterCard® and VISA®) cards outfitted with microchips for better security. Hills Bank also has prepaid VISA cards as an alternative to your regular debit/credit card. Take US currency or foreign currency with you and if you need additional currency, you may be able to use your ATM or debit card to get cash at an ATM.
For more information and tips for traveling abroad, visit travel.state.gov.
For Business Travel: If your employees need to travel for work, especially internationally, consider purchasing a travel laptop and travel pay-per-use phone for your business. Make sure these devices carry as little information as possible in the event they are lost or stolen.
Make sure your employees are aware of the risk of connecting to public networks. Even if employees travel with a clean computer and wipe it upon their return, hackers could still capture what is typed in emails or username/password fields if connected to a public network. Educate employees to avoid sensitive information like logging into financial accounts or business accounts while on public networks. After the laptop is returned, have the computer cleaned and then restored back to default settings in order to delete malware or suspicious code.
When you return from your vacation, carefully review your purchases within online banking. Don't wait for your monthly statement to review your balances.
Please remember the hillsbank.com Help Center has all the phone numbers you need in case your cards are lost or stolen. For any questions regarding your debit and credit cards, contact Hills Bank at 319-654-8100 (Cedar Rapids), 319-679-5500 (Iowa City), toll free at 1-800-445-5725, or email email@example.com.
Free Credit Report
An important tool against identity theft is to regularly monitor and review your credit report. With a yearly review, you can make sure no accounts have been opened without your knowledge. In accordance with the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act), AnnualCreditReport.com is a secure way to obtain your credit report from the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Get your free annual credit report today!
Below are common types of scams commonly used by thieves to gain access to your personal information or steal your money.
Nigerian Scams or 419 Fraud:
Nigerian scams (also known as 419 fraud) are one of the most common types of scams. This type of scam comes in the form of unsolicited communication, like email or postal mail, to the recipient that offers the opportunity to share a large sum of money with a self-proclaimed government official. The recipient is encouraged to send personal information, mainly bank account information, in order to pay taxes on these large sums of money, pay legal fees associated with the large sum of money, or as payment to get the thief out of the country.
To learn more about Nigerian Scams, visit the fbi.gov.
Lottery scams are unsolicited messages via email, letter, or fax that claim the recipient has won a lottery. Lottery scams often claim you were randomly chosen as a “winning entry” even though you never bought a ticket or entered in a lottery. Often times, lottery scams will even claim to be endorsed by well-known companies and will ask you to provide personal information and to send money to cover expenses associated with the winnings. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
To learn more about Lottery Scams, visit fbi.gov.
Social Media Scams
A majority of social media scams want you to enter your username and password. If you receive anything via social media that asks to see who has un-friended you, who has viewed your profile, etc., do not click on the message, even if it comes from a friend. And always be suspicious of any communication that offers money.
Even if it appears you are on a familiar site, double check the web address of every link you click. If you’re not on the site you thought you were on, close out immediately.
For more information about social media scams, visit fbi.gov.
Classified Ad Scams
A majority of classified ad scams want you to wire money. Never agree to wire money when purchasing merchandise from a classified ad. To avoid becoming victim to a classified ad scam, only deal locally with people you can meet in person. If you are selling online, be sure that cashier checks and money orders are not fake.
As always, never provide personal information like bank accounts, PayPal info, social security numbers, etc.
For more information about classified ad scams, visit fbi.gov.
Internet Auction Scams
Internet auction scams are tempting, because you can find items priced far too low, but be careful. They could be fake items, stolen merchandise, in poor condition, or a scam that you pay for and never receive the item you bought. When shopping Internet auction sites, never agree to pay via cash or money order. As with all scams, if someone approaches you through email or instant message, never buy from them. Their goal is to get you to a fake website and steal your personal information.
To learn more about Internet Auction scams, visit fbi.gov.
Remember, any business, including Hills Bank, will never call you and ask for personal account information by email, text, or phone. For more information and examples of common scam types, visit fbi.gov/scams-safety.
- Department of Homeland Security: View the national public awareness campaign aimed to increase the understanding of cyber threats and how to be safer and secure online.
- FBI Scam & Safety Be Crime Smart: Learn about common scams and fraud techniques thieves use to try to gain access to your personal information.
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: Learn about ways to reduce risk of thieves using your personal information to commit identity theft.
View more information from the FDIC on these pages:
- Consumer Alerts: View notifications from the FDIC about fraudulent emails.
- Safe Internet Banking: Provides consumer protection tips about banking and safety over the Internet.
- Identity Theft: Informs customers of Identity Theft methods and ways to protect yourself.
- Internet Thieves and Electronic Scams: Watch the FDIC's video on guarding yourself against Internet thieves and electronic scams.
- Phishing: Learn more about phishing and view videos about phishing at home, at the office, and in a store.
- Federal Trade Commission: Learn about the crime of identity theft and provides information to help you deter, detect, and defend against identity theft.
- Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force: View a vast list of resources and information to help find and report suspected cases of financial fraud.
- OnGuardOnline.gov: The federal government developed this website as an educational tool to help you stay safe, secure, and responsible online.
- Protect Your Computer from Malware Video: Watch this video to learn more about how to avoid, detect, and get rid of malware from OnGuardOnline.gov.
- StaySafeOnline.org: Developed by the National Cyber Security Alliance as an educational tool for Internet safety at home, work, and school.
- Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft: The Federal Trade Commission developed this publication on what to do if your identity is stolen.
- Task Force on Identity Theft: View government resources and information about identity theft.
- U.S. Government: An everyday guide to prevent identity theft, understand credit, and being a smart shopper.
- United States Postal Inspection Service: Learn about identity theft, how thieves steal your identity, and what to do if you're a victim.