At PennCrest Bank®, we are diligent about protecting your personal information.

We use a variety of methods to ensure your privacy. As always, we recommend changing your passwords on a regular basis and not using the same password for multiple online accounts. You may access the link to our Customer Alerts and Tips below, where more tips are available.

Please take as many precautions as you, our valued customer or visitor, can take to help lower the risk of unauthorized activity on your account(s) and protecting your computer(s) and devices.

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Your Computer Internet Access Security

With Wired Internet Access:

  1. The operating system should have current Service Packs and Security Patches installed.
  2. A current and updated anti-virus/anti-spyware/anti-malware with real-time scanning should be installed.
  3. At least the Windows Firewall should be activated, but a software firewall and Intrusion Prevention System(IPS) or Intrusion Detection System(IDS) is preferable.
  4. If the system has the Adobe Acrobat and/or Java programs,these should also be removed or updated with security patches from the vendors.

With Wireless Internet Access:

  1. The operating system should have current Service Packs and Security Patches installed.
  2. A current and updated anti-virus/anti-spyware/anti-malware with real-time scanning should be installed.
  3. At least the Windows Firewall should be activated, but a software firewall and Intrusion Prevention System(IPS) or Intrusion Detection System(IDS) is preferable.
  4. If the system has the Adobe Acrobat and/or Java programs,these should also be removed or updated with security patches from the vendors.
  5. In addition, the wireless router should have no less than WPA-2 encryption, while WPA-2 PSK is considered stronger.
  6. The router should be strong password protected.
  7. Preferably, the router should not broadcast its address, but if it does, the encryption should be strong.

Internet Banking Security

PennCrest BANK provides security through RSA Multifactor Authentication Device Security.  In conjunction with RSA’s device forensics to seamlessly authenticate our customer’s computers/devices, the traditional Access ID and password required at login and security challenge questions used to verify our customer’s identity are used as a method of layered security.  This type of multifactor authentication device security is in compliance with FFIEC guidelines.

RSA Multifactor Authentication Device Security includes the use of Extended Validation (EV) certificates.  PennCrest BANK customers can easily and reliably verify this site’s identity and security by looking for the green website address bar above. The Extended Validation (EV) certificate triggers web browsers to display a green address bar and our site provider’s name (Fiserv, Inc.).  Each browser displays the EV certificate differently. 

Identity Theft

How to tell if someone is using your identity

Taking steps to protect your personal information can help you minimize the risks of identity theft. But what if a thief gets your information anyway? Here are some of the ways thieves might use your stolen information and signs you can look out for.

An identity thief could use your information to get credit or service in your name.

  • How to spot it: Get your free credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com. Review it for accounts you didn’t open or inquiries you don’t recognize. A new credit card, a personal loan, or a car loan will appear as a new account. A new cell phone plan or utility service — like water, gas, or electric — will show up as an inquiry.

An identity thief could use your credit card or take money out of your bank account.

  • How to spot it: Check your credit card or bank statement when you get it. Look for purchases or withdrawals you didn’t make.
  • Bonus advice: Sign up to get text or email alerts from your credit card or bank whenever there’s a new transaction. This could help you spot unauthorized or fraudulent activity on your account.

An identity thief could steal your tax refund or use your Social Security number to work.

  • How to spot it: A notice from the IRS that there’s more than one tax return filed in your name could be a sign of tax identity theft. So could a notice that you have income from an employer you don’t work for.

An identity thief could use your health insurance to get medical care.

  • How to spot it: Review your medical bills and Explanation of Benefits statements for services you didn’t get. They could be a sign of medical identity theft.

An identity thief could use your information to file a claim for unemployment benefits.

  • How to spot it: A notice from your state unemployment office or employer about unemployment benefits that you didn’t apply for could be a sign of fraud.

If you discover any signs that someone is misusing your personal information, find out what to do at IdentityTheft.gov.

Is a credit freeze or fraud alert right for you?

Credit freezes and fraud alerts can help. Both are free and make it harder for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. One may be right for you.

Credit freezes

A credit freeze is the best way you can protect against an identity thief opening new accounts in your name. When in place, it prevents potential creditors from accessing your credit report. Because creditors usually won’t give you credit if they can’t check your credit report, placing a freeze helps you block identity thieves who might be trying to open accounts in your name.

A freeze also can be helpful if you’ve experienced identity theft or had your information exposed in a data breach. And don’t let the “freeze” part worry you. A credit freeze won’t affect your credit score or your ability to use your existing credit cards, apply for a job, rent an apartment, or buy insurance. If you need to apply for new credit, you can lift the freeze temporarily to let the creditor check your credit. Placing and lifting the freeze is free, but you must contact the national credit bureaus to lift it and put it back in place.

Place a credit freeze by contacting each of the three national credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. A freeze lasts until you remove it.

Fraud alerts

A fraud alert doesn’t limit access to your credit report, but tells businesses to check with you before opening a new account in your name. Usually, that means calling you first to make sure the person trying to open a new account is really you.

Place a fraud alert by contacting any one of the three national credit bureaus. That one must notify the other two. A fraud alert lasts one year and you can renew it for free. If you’ve experienced identity theft, you can get an extended fraud alert that lasts for seven years.

Learn more about credit freezes, fraud alerts, and active duty alerts for service members. And, if identity theft happens to you, visit IdentityTheft.gov to report it and get a personal recovery plan.

Stolen Identity

When identity theft happens, it’s hard to know where to begin. That’s why the FTC created IdentityTheft.gov, a one-stop resource for people to report identity theft to law enforcement and to get step-by-step instructions on how to recover from any type of identity theft.

The first step in avoiding identity theft, or stopping the damage, is placing a fraud alert on your credit report. This makes it harder for a thief to open new credit in your name, and lets you get free copies of your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus. Next, read through your reports and note any accounts or transactions that don’t belong. Then, go to IdentityTheft.gov.

When you report at IdentityTheft.gov, you’ll answer questions and give details about what happened. Include information about any problems you spotted on your credit reports. IdentityTheft.gov will use that information to create your personalized:

  • Identity Theft Report, which shows that someone stole your identity, and
  • recovery plan with step-by-step advice to help you fix problems.

Your Identity Theft Report, recovery plan, and sample letters from IdentityTheft.gov will help you repair problems caused by identity theft. Your recovery plan may tell you to:

  • close new accounts opened in your name
  • remove charges made on your existing accounts
  • contact the three credit bureaus to correct your credit report
  • consider an extended fraud alert or credit freeze
  • check your credit reports regularly. Through April 2022, you can check your reports every week for free at AnnualCreditReport.com.

Learn more about protecting your identity and recovering from identity theft at ftc.gov/idtheft.

Customer Alerts and Tips

Avoiding a money mule scam

Scammers are looking for people to help them move stolen money. They visit online dating, job search, and social media sites, create fake stories, and make up reasons to send you money, usually by check or Bitcoin. Then they tell you to send that money to someone else by using gift cards or wire transfers. But they never say the money is stolen, the stories are lies, or — if you sent the money — you might be acting as what law enforcement calls a money mule.

If you help a scammer move stolen money — even if you didn’t know it was stolen — you could get into legal trouble. You’ll be at financial risk, too. If you deposit a scammer’s check, it might clear at first. When it turns out to be a fake check, the bank will want you to repay the full amount. You may be charged fees, and your account may be overdrawn or closed. And using a scammer’s money to buy gift cards and turning over the PIN codes, or sending wire transfers is almost like sending cash. In both cases, the scammer gets the money quickly, and it’s almost impossible to recover.

How can you avoid a money mule scam?

  • Don’t forward money for an online romantic interest who sends you money. That’s always a scam, and a way to get you to move stolen money.
  • Don’t accept a job that asks you to transfer money or packages — even if they tell you to send money to a “client” or “supplier.” You may be helping a scammer move stolen money or gift cards.
  • Don’t accept a grant or prize award and forward some of the money. That’s another way to get you to move stolen money.

If you think you might be involved in this scam, stop the payment transaction and stop communicating with the person. Tell your bank, the wire transfer service, or any gift card companies right away. If a scammer has your bank account information, close your account immediately. Then tell the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Online BillPay Will Keep You On Time 

We've become a nation of time-savers. One of the simplest and most burgeoning time savers is online bill pay. By using online bill pay, we can save time, postage and ensure that our bill payments arrive on time.

Some people are hesitant to use this service because they don't understand how it works, are distrustful of putting financial information on the web or prefer the traditional method of paying bills by writing a check so they can have a paper trail.

There are three ways to pay your bills online:

  1. First, you may want to check with your community bank or other financial institution to determine whether they offer online bill pay to their customers. Many financial institutions offer online bill pay as a free service to their customers. You simply set up an online account on the bank's secure server, register your bills and schedule payment dates.
  2. Secondly, you may want to use a third-party bill pay service to set up accounts for all of your monthly bills. This system works in the same manner. Just be sure the service you select has a safe encrypted Internet site. To ensure that you are not being directed to a fraudulent site, look for an image of a padlock in the lower portion of your computer screen. When you double-click the padlock, you'll be able to read the certification information on the pop-up screen. If there is no padlock image, you need to keep searching for another secure bill pay service.
  3. As a third alternative, many companies accept online payments without charging you a fee. Additionally, once you set up an online bill pay account with one of your creditors, the company will send you an e-mail reminder that your bill payment is due and then send you a follow-up e-mail after you confirm your payment.

With online bill pay, you can schedule your payment due date and won't have to worry about finding time to sit down and write checks. Should you be on vacation or have an emergency situation, you don't have to worry about paying your bills. With your established due date, the bank online bill pay service will automatically deduct your stated amount from your account. Just be sure that you have enough money in your bank account each month to cover your payments. 

If you are really serious about getting all of that clutter off your desk, you can also request that your creditor e-mail your statement to you. At the click of a button, you can access all of your account information whenever it is convenient for you. You can review payment history, transactions and recent activity so you will know if someone is using your account without authorization without waiting for a statement in the mail.

Once you see how easy an online bill pay service can be, you'll wonder why it took you so long to get started. Just remember to always use caution any time you transact business via the Internet. Be sure to use a reliable and trusted company with a secure server. 

This information is provided with the understanding that the association is not engaged in rendering specific legal, accounting, or other professional services. If specific expert assistance is required, the services of a competent, professional person should be sought.

Provided as a public service by the Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers.

Contact: Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers (717) 231-7447

You're Entitled to a Free Credit Report!

Thanks to a recent change in federal laws, Americans are now entitled to receive one free copy of their credit report every year from each of the nation's top three credit reporting agencies - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

And according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the only website authorized to provide those free reports is www.annualcreditreport.com.

However, there are plenty of companies that charge consumers for access to their credit reports, so the FTC cautions you to type that web address carefully to avoid accidentally ending up on a site that charges a fee for a service you're entitled to receive for free.

Updated February 7, 2022: Equifax Data Breach Settlement

Did you get an email or letter about the Equifax settlement?

Lots of people recently got an email or letter about free credit monitoring through the Equifax settlement. That’s because the settlement with Equifax was just approved by a court. So now, if you signed up for credit monitoring as part of that settlement, you can take a few steps to switch it on. The email or letter tells you how. Learn more at the FTC’s official site for information: ftc.gov/Equifax.

Remember that you don’t have to pay for credit monitoring as part of this settlement, and nobody will call, text, or email out of the blue to ask you for your credit card or bank account numbers, or to “help” you get your free credit monitoring. Anyone who does is a scammer, so please tell the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Learn more about the settlement and free credit monitoring at ftc.gov/Equifax.

September 15, 2017

Recently, Equifax, one of the three national consumer credit reporting agencies, announced a major data breach.  This breach affects approximately 143 million Americans.  This is what we know according to Equifax:  the data breach occurred May – July 2017, and the information stolen includes consumers’ personally identifiable information, including names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, addresses and, in some cases, driver’s license numbers.  Approximately 209,000 credit card numbers and dispute documents with personally identifiable information for approximately 182,000 consumers were also stolen.  There is no evidence of unauthorized access to consumers’ credit reporting databases.

To be clear, PennCrest BANK was not compromised and your information was not stolen from our Bank.  However, PennCrest BANK takes the security of our customer information very seriously, and we are providing you with the information we know about this massive breach and the steps you can take to protect your personally identifiable information if you so desire.  Following this unprecedented breach, we are also asking our customers to be extra vigilant and report any suspicious activity in your PennCrest BANK accounts to us by calling 888-716-7587.

Equifax has established a website that informs consumers if they may be affected by the breach, provides additional information on the breach, and offers complimentary identity theft protection and credit file monitoring.  This information is available at www.equifaxsecurity2017.com.  To protect your identity and personal information, PennCrest BANK strongly encourages our customers to take the actions noted below.

Experian ®                              TransUnion®                            Equifax®          

P.O. Box 9554                        P.O. Box 2000                       P.O. Box 740241

Allen, TX 75013                   Chester, PA 19016                Atlanta, GA 30374                        

888-397-3742                           800-680-7289                         800-349-5191

www.experian.com           www.transunion.com              www.equifax.com

 

  • You should also contact the credit reporting agencies to notify them of any suspected fraud or identity theft.

If you believe you are the victim of identity theft, contact your local law enforcement office and/or your state attorney general.  Finally, you may also want to consider reviewing information about recovering from identity theft, which is available from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at https://www.identitytheft.gov/ or by calling 877-IDTHEFT (877-438-4338).  The FTC also offers general information to protect your online presence at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/privacy-identity-online-security.

Equifax has established a dedicated toll-free number to answer questions you may have about the Equifax data breach and its effect on your personally identifiable information.  You may call them at 866-447-7559.

Flu Pandemic Preparedness

PennCrest BANK® is aware of and monitoring the flu activity.  Current activity levels range from minimal to high throughout the nation.  The outbreak is minimal across Pennsylvania with limited transmission in the local area.  This is referred to as Stage 2.  At this time the outbreak has no effect on Banking operations and we will continue to staff our offices as normal.  We will implement our procedures as necessary if there is an increase in the number of confirmed cases in our area.  This message will be updated with information on the flu outbreak and Bank operations as changes occur.

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