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Ready for tax season?

If you haven’t heard about tax identity theft, you may not be.

Tax identity theft happens when someone files a phony tax return using your personal information — like your Social Security number — to get a tax refund from the IRS. It also can happen when someone uses your Social Security number to get a job or claims your child as a dependent on a tax return. Tax identity theft has been the most common form of identity theft reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for the past five years.

Tax identity thieves get your personal information in a number of ways. For example:

  • someone goes through your trash or steals mail from your home or car
  • imposters send phony emails that look like they’re from the IRS and ask for personal information
  • employees at hospitals, nursing homes, banks, and other businesses steal your information
  • phony or dishonest tax preparers misuse their clients’ information or pass it along to identity thieves

So what can you do about it? To lessen the chance you’ll be a victim:            

  • file your tax return early in the tax season, if you can, before identity thieves do
  • use a secure internet connection if you file electronically. Don’t use unsecure, publicly available Wi-Fi hotspots at places like coffee shops or a hotel lobby
  • mail your tax return directly from the post office
  • shred copies of your tax return, drafts, or calculation sheets you no longer need
  • respond to all mail from the IRS as soon as possible
  • know the IRS won’t contact you by email, text, or social media. If the IRS needs information, it will first contact you by mail.
  • don’t give out your Social Security number (SSN) or Medicare number unless necessary. Ask why it’s needed, how it’s going to be used, and how it will be stored.
  • get recommendations and research a tax preparer thoroughly before you hand over personal information
  • if your SSN has been compromised, contact the IRS ID Theft Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490
  • check your credit report at least once a year for free at annualcreditreport.com to make sure no other accounts have been opened in your nam

What if you are a victim? Tax identity theft victims typically find out about the crime when they get a letter from the IRS saying that more than one tax return was filed in their name, or IRS records show they received wages from an employer they don’t know. If you get a letter like this, don’t panic. Contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490.  Visit IdentityTheft.gov, the federal government’s one-stop resource to help you report and recover from identity theft. You can report identity theft, get step-by-step advice, sample letters, and your FTC Identity Theft Affidavit. These resources will help you fix problems caused by the theft.

More information about tax identity theft is available from the FTC at ftc.gov/taxidtheft and the IRS at irs.gov/identitytheft.

Unfortunately, tax identity theft isn’t the only way scammers are targeting taxpayers. The FTC has gotten thousands of complaints about IRS imposters who claim people owe unpaid taxes and will be arrested if they don’t pay up. They may know all or part of your Social Security number, and rig caller ID to make it look like it’s really the IRS calling. Before you can investigate, you’re told to put the money on a prepaid debit card and tell them the number — something no government agency would ask you to do.

If you owe — or think you owe — federal taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 or go to irs.gov. IRS workers can help you with your payment questions. The IRS doesn’t ask people to pay with prepaid debit cards or wire transfers, and doesn’t ask for credit card numbers over the phone. When the IRS contacts people about unpaid taxes, they usually do it by postal mail, not by phone. Report IRS imposter scams to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) online or at 800-366-4484, and to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

 

Mobile Banking

It's cold outside. Stay warm and use our mobile banking.

Try our convenient mobile app, FSBIOWA, to fulfill your banking needs.  The app can be found at the Apple App Store or at Google Play.  You will be able to:

  • Check your balances

  • Make transfers

  • Deposit checks

  • Pay your bills

  • Pay a person

  • Make a loan payment

Try it today! It is just another way Farmers State Bank is there for you.

 

Mobile Deposit Update

When you use mobile deposit on the Farmers State Bank app, please write the following phrase on the back of you check, along with your signature:

For Mobile Deposit at Farmers State Bank

 

Data Privacy Day

Go to this website to learn more.

https://staysafeonline.org/data-privacy-day/about/

Privacy is good for business.

https://staysafeonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Privacy-Is-Good-For-Business.pdf

Tips for parents and grandparents.

https://staysafeonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/STOP.-THINK.-CONNECT.-Tips-for-Parents-on-Raising-Privacy-Savvy-Kids.pdf

 

New Year’s Resolutions for Your Finances 

The new year has arrived. That means it’s time to set some new year’s resolutions. While resolutions involving your physical health are important, we recommend setting resolutions for your finances as well.

Five Financial New Year’s Resolutions for 2019

Financial resolutions should be realistic goals that can be achieved in the new year. [BANK NAME] suggests considering setting the following resolutions in 2019.

  1. Set or update your budget. Set aside some time early in the year to examine your budget and decide what needs to be altered for the new year. Take a hard look at all debts and expenses, as well as amounts you want to spend for food, entertainment and savings.
  2. Eliminate at least one debt. After reviewing or creating your budget, decide on at least one debt that you will pay off in the new year, and make a plan to achieve it. If you do not have a debt that you can realistically pay off by the end of the year, reduce at least one debt by paying more than the minimum monthly amount, so you can pay it off more quickly.
  3. Make one financial sacrifice. Review your budget again and decide what you can do without. Choose at least one expense that you can either reduce or eliminate completely in 2018. This will give you more money to use toward savings or paying down debt.
  4. Start saving automatically. After you’ve decided what you will be able to afford to save in 2019, make it automatic. If your paycheck is deposited directly into your bank account, talk to your employer’s human resources department about having a set amount deposited directly into a savings or retirement account, or talk to us about setting up an auto transfer between your payroll account and your savings.
  5. Check your credit report. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com to order a free credit report from each of the credit reporting agencies. Review your reports to ensure that there are no mistakes in your credit history and to protect yourself from identity theft.

If any of these goals seem too daunting, consider rewards for yourself for meeting these goals at the end of the year. Whether your reward is a gadget, experience, trip or something else, earmark a specific amount of your savings that you will use for your reward and keep that reward in your sights as you work to take control of your finances in 2019.

 

Debit Card Fraud Protection

SHAZAM Fraud Text Alerts

Dear valued cardholder,

Keeping your account safe and secure is our highest priority. We partner with SHAZAM, our debit card processor, to implement a fraud management solution powered by FICO® Falcon® to help protect your debit card against fraudulent activity.

We provide Text Fraud Alerts as part of our debit card protection program. You’ll receive text alerts when suspicious activity is detected on your Farmers State Bank debit card. If you receive a “fraud alert,” reply Yes or No to confirm or deny the activity. If you reply No (the activity is fraudulent), you’ll quickly receive a follow up text to let you know that a SHAZAM fraud specialist will call you soon to help protect your account. We’ll also automatically block your debit card to prevent any additional fraudulent activity.

If you reply Yes (the activity was legitimate), you can continue to use your debit card as normal. If you don’t reply to the text, or your phone number is not a mobile number, we’ll attempt to reach you via automated voice call.

Text message alerts from: 72718

Automated phone calls from: 855-219-5399

Make sure to save these numbers to your contacts so you don’t miss any alerts. This added protection to your debit card is automatic and text message alerts are free. To ensure we can reach you promptly if fraudulent activity is suspected, we’ll need to have your current contact information on file including phone number(s) and address. Please contact us if you have any changes in this information. We’ll keep your information completely confidential.

If you have any questions, or ever see a suspicious transaction on your debit card, please call (515) 887-2221. Always use caution when providing your debit card information and contact us immediately if you suspect your debit card has been stolen or compromised.

Thank you!

 

Back to School / Winter Sports Schedules

Algona Bulldogs

Athletic Schedule:  https://www.northcentralconf.org/public/genie/176/school/3/

 

Bishop Garrigan Golden Bears

Athletic Schedule:  https://topofiowaconference.org/public/genie/97/school/585/

 

West Bend Mallard Wolverines

Athletic Schedule:  https://www.cornbeltconferenceia.org/public/genie/174/school/9/

 

 

Check out America's Banks website

American Banking Association

ABA’s  America's Bank website demonstrates the tremendous impact banks have across the country on their customers, communities and the overall economy.