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Hills Bank and Trust Company

HBT Connect eNewsletter from Hills Bank and Trust Company

  HBT Connect  
Volume 2, Issue 6: November - December 2012  

  Protect Yourself While Holiday Shopping

This season, while you’re focused on holiday deals, thieves are looking for holiday steals. Protect yourself while holiday shopping with the following tips:

While Shopping in Stores
Only take the necessities on your shopping trips. If possible, avoid taking a purse or wallet with you, so if anything is lost or stolen, it’s limited to a few items. Thieves often sit in parking lots looking for victims. Be alert to your surroundings, and park in a well-lit area as close to the storefront as possible. Avoid parking by vans, trucks with toppers, or vehicles with darkly tinted windows. Don’t leave items in plain view and put purchases and valuables like a GPS or MP3 player in the trunk of your car so they are not visible to thieves.

Don’t make yourself an easy target by being distracted while talking on the phone, listening to music, etc. Have your keys in hand as you walk to your car so you are not fumbling to find them, and never leave your purse in a cart or on top of your vehicle as you are loading your purchases. All these things make you seem like an easy target to thieves looking to steal your holiday gifts and your identity.

While Shopping Online
Always perform due diligence when sending sensitive information over the Internet by making sure the website you’re using is legitimate and has adequate security measures. Sometimes malicious websites may look legitimate but the URL may be misspelled or have a different domain ending in .net versus .com, etc. Make sure you are using the latest version of a web browser and your online security software is up-to-date for the highest level of security.

If you are going to do a lot of online shopping this season, you may want to look into purchasing a Hills Bank Shop Locally Visa® Gift Card so you are not using your credit or debit card to make purchases. Even if your computer has been infected with malicious code, thieves won’t have your credit or debit card number. Also, be sure to keep record of online transactions, including product description, price, and receipts, then compare them with your account statements to make sure there are no unauthorized charges.

Even after your holiday gifts are in the house, you still need to protect them. Don’t leave your house unlocked, even for a short amount of time. Leave a few lights, the TV, or a radio on when you’re not home, and have motion lights installed outside the house. Never tempt thieves by leaving large displays of gifts within sight of windows or doors in your home.

Finally, if you are traveling for the holidays, have a trusted neighbor or friend pick up your mail and newspapers so it’s not obvious to thieves you are not home. AND…if travels are in your holiday plans, don’t mention travel dates on social media sites. Criminals are resourceful and could find out no one is home even if you have done everything to make it appear like someone is.

Keeping these tips in mind will help keep the holiday season merry and bright!

  Tips to Protect Your Mobile Device From Fraud

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 or trade it 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 screen lock 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.

For more information on how you can protect yourself against fraud, visit the Customer Protection Center on


Give the Gift of Charity

According to the National Retail Federation’s holiday consumer spending survey conducted by BIGinsight, the average holiday shopper will spend nearly $750 on holiday gifts, decorations, greeting cards, etc. this holiday season.* Consider giving the gift of charity in a family or friend's name this year as a unique gift that you both will feel good about. Ways you can give back to the Corridor include, but are not limited to:

The United Way of East Central Iowa
Find a list of community organizations in need of volunteers and other donations during the holiday season like adopting a family, transporting the elderly, or preparing food boxes for those less fortunate. Visit to learn more about the opportunities for holiday and volunteer giving for 2012.

Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign
The Salvation Army of Johnson and Linn Counties has a combined Christmas Campaign goal of over $1 million this holiday season. If you can’t volunteer to be a bell ringer, then throw some change into the red kettles outside of participating businesses. Every bit counts!

Salvation Army’s Toys for Tots
The Salvation Army is able to distribute toys to children who otherwise wouldn’t have presents Christmas morning through donations. At participating businesses, you can select a tag from a tree and purchase toys for a child, or you can volunteer time to help sort, pack, or distribute toys.

The Crisis Center of Johnson County
Project Holiday is an annual food distribution to families in need. You can donate money or time to help those less fortunate. Learn more about Project Holiday at

Help make the Corridor a better place by donating some of those holiday dollars to area non-profit programs. Visit under “Give Back to Your Community” for more opportunities to give the perfect gift this holiday season.



Holiday Schedule

The bank will be closed the following holidays:

Thanksgiving Day
Thursday, November 22nd

Christmas Eve - closed at 1:00 pm
Monday, December 24th

Christmas Day
Tuesday, December 25th

New Year's Eve - closed at 3:00 pm
Monday, December 31st

New Year's Holiday
Tuesday, January 1st

Even though we will be closed, you can still do your banking at over 90 Hills Bank ATMs, Hills Bank Online, via mobile banking, or through Push Button Banker. View the complete Hills Bank holiday schedule.

Be Vocal for Shop Local
Be Vocal 4 Shop Local and you could win $10!
Simply wear a Shop Locally button or sticker, get spotted by a
Hills Bank employee, and receive a coupon for $10 cash! Get
your button or sticker today at any Hills Bank location or
participating business!
  Visit and tell us why you shop locally. If you do, you'll be entered into a drawing for a $100 Visa Gift Card!
Send us your feedback!

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