HBT Connect eNewsletter
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 your card or your PIN in order to make ATM or debit transactions. However, most debit card transactions can be ran as credit, so a thief doesn't always need the PIN in order to fraudulently charge your account.
The magnetic stripe embedded on your card contains the cardholders name, card number, expiration date, and Card Verification Value (CVV). This information makes it easy for thieves to make fraudulent purchases on a stolen card once it is obtained. The thief takes the stolen information to make fraudulent transactions in two different ways. In fraudulent transactions where the card is not present, they use the stolen information to make purchases online or over the phone. To make fraudulent transactions where the card is present, thieves embed the magnetic stripe information onto another card via a card reader. In this instance, they have photo identification to verify if the clerk checks their driver’s license, but the magnetic stripe has different account information than what is embossed on the card. If examined closely, the card number on the receipt and the number on the card do not match. To combat this issue more merchant processing systems are asking the clerk to type in the last 4 of the card number. In these situations where there is individual card fraud, resolution comes easier and has little or limited liability to the consumer.
Identity theft occurs when someone steals your identity in order to gain access to finances, credit history, and reputation for their own gain. Oftentimes, new lines of credit are taken out falsely in someone’s name, bank accounts are drained, credit cards are maxed out, new utility accounts are opened, or medical treatment received on your insurance. In the instance of identity theft, consumers can spend many years and thousands of dollars to resolve their credit.
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.
I would also like to remind you that Hills Bank 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.
About Hills Bank's Scratchboard Artist - Claudia McGehee
If you’ve been to any Hills Bank location, it’s possible you’ve noticed variations of the scratchboard shown above on display. This artwork was created by local Iowa City artist, Claudia McGehee.
Claudia discovered scratchboard in art school. Aligning with her love for rendering subjects in nature, it creates images that appear woodcut, rustic, and nostalgic. “The sturdy, energetic line quality captures what I see in living things,” explains Claudia.
Scratchboard is not a print-making medium, but consists of a thin layer of white clay covered with black ink. Claudia first makes a rough sketch in pencil, and then using white chalk, transfers it to the black-inked surface of the scratchboard. With a sharp blade, Claudia begins scratching away what she wants white, leaving details in black. Once finished with the scratchboard, Claudia scans the black and white piece, prints it on watercolor paper, and adds color with watercolors or dyes.
Claudia was approached by Hills Bank and asked to create a circular scratchboard illustration to reflect the circle of community and elements present within our Midwest cycle of life. The scratchboard Claudia created illustrates Hills Bank’s culture, rural roots, and urban reach through the following components:
- The barns, fields, and corn represent Hills Bank’s longstanding involvement with agriculture, dating back to 1904.
- The buildings show Hills Bank’s dedication to commercial and small business enterprise, along with a commitment to providing residential real estate loans. Both enable customers to achieve their dreams of owning their own home and/or business.
- The school bus and small children symbolize a commitment to youth and youth-related activities, including education and life-long learning.
- The two individuals shaking hands depict a belief that business can still be done on a handshake and is based upon trust and mutual respect.
- The rising sun signifies the belief that in every new day there is an opportunity to make a difference.
To complete the Hills Bank scratchboard, many hours went into the design and concept of the piece. Claudia created 2-3 rough drafts in the form of sketches before actually creating the final scratchboard. Scratching the piece took approximately 5 hours with the watercolor taking an additional hour. The original scratchboard Claudia created has been used throughout Hills Bank in various ways, including murals, coffee mugs, and advertising.
Claudia is originally from the Pacific Northwest and moved to Iowa City in 1993. Learn more about her, see other artwork she’s done throughout the community, and view her illustrated books by visiting her blog at claudia-mcgehee.com.
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.
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!