Customer Education

Information you Need to protect yourself from Identity Theft

Identity Theft is a crime that occurs when someone uses information such as your name, Social Security Number, credit card number or other identifying information to commit fraud against you. It is one of the fastest growing crimes in the U.S.   Please ask any Bank of Coushatta Customer Service Representative for a copy of our Identify Theft Protection and Prevention brochure. Here you will find very important information that will help you protect your identity.

We would like to provide you with very important information as it pertains to your accounts at Bank of Coushatta.

  • We will never call, email or otherwise contact you to request your access ID, password or other login credentials for the online services we offer. If you receive such a request, do not provide any information. Instead, contact us immediately at (318) 932-3491 to report the incident.
  • If you see suspicious activity on your account(s) or have received suspicious calls, emails or letters regarding your relationship to Bank of Coushatta, call us at (318) 932-3491 to report the activity.

Tips for Protecting your Identity

Review your credit report from the three major credit bureaus at least once a year. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. To learn how to obtain your free copies visit

Credit Reporting Agencies

Understand that when you make a loan from a financial institution, your information will be sent to the one or more of the 3 credit reporting agencies. If you have reason to believe that your personal information may have been compromised, you might consider Freezing your credit.   If you freeze your credit, a lock is placed on access to your credit report.   This will prevent identity thieves from opening accounts in your name. You might consider freezing your credit with each of the 3 reporting agencies.   In the event you need to make a loan, you can unfreeze your credit.

Shred your personal information

Do not throw away receipts, tax information, credit card offers, medical/insurance information, etc. without first shredding them.

Protect your credit cards

  • Sign your credit card or write that the merchant must “check ID” on the back of the card.
  • Close any accounts that you are not using.
  • Make sure you receive your bills and review them for fraudulent charges.
  • Place passwords on new or existing accounts (see Password Security Tips section below for more detail).
  • Keep a list of all your credit card numbers and the customer service phone numbers for each in a safe place at home in case your wallet or purse is lost or stolen.

Do not give out personal information over the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you have initiated the contact or are sure you know who you are dealing with.

Remember the IRS will NOT contact you by phone or email to solicit payment as a first means of contact.

Be aware of current telephone scams advising that your loved ones are hurt or in need of your help and asking you to send money immediately. Also be aware of current telephone scams advising you that a utility is going to be turned off if you don’t pay immediately. Be aware of Telemarketing Fraud, when you send money to people you do not know personally or give personal or financial information to unknown callers, you increase your chances of becoming a victim of telemarketing fraud.

Here are some warning signs of telemarketing fraud—what a caller may tell you:

  • “You must act ‘now’ or the offer won’t be good.”
  • “You’ve won a ‘free’ gift, vacation, or prize.” But you have to pay for “postage and handling” or other charges.
  • “You must send money, give a credit card or bank account number, or have a check picked up by courier.” You may hear this before you have had a chance to consider the offer carefully.
  • “You don’t need to check out the company with anyone.” The callers say you do not need to speak to anyone including your family, lawyer, accountant, local Better Business Bureau, or consumer protection agency.
  • “You don’t need any written information about their company or their references.”
  • “You can’t afford to miss this ‘high-profit, no-risk’ offer.”

If you hear these or similar “lines” from a telephone salesperson just say “no thank you” and hang up the telephone. Do not give them any personal or financial information. (See “Other Web Resources” section below for more tips and information.)

Protect your Social Security Number (SSN)

  • Do not carry your SSN card. Leave it in a secure place.
  • Give your SSN only when absolutely necessary.
  • If your state uses your SSN as your driver’s license number, ask for a substitute number.

Secure personal information in your home, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help or are having service work done in your home. 

Keep your purse or wallet safe

  • Secure your belongings at work.
  • Guard your belongings in public places. Ladies do not hang your purses on the back of your chairs when in public.
  • Do not share your PIN with others.
  • Be aware of others nearby when entering your PIN at an ATM machine.
  • Carry only identification and the credit or debit cards you actually need.

Protect your Personal Identification Numbers (PIN)

  • Do not write your PIN down.
  • Do not choose a PIN that is easy to guess such as the part of your SSN or your date of birth. 

Safeguard your Postal mail

  • Do not leave outgoing checks in your mailbox. Use post office collection boxes instead.
  • Request the post office to hold your mail if you are going to be on vacation by calling 1-800-275-8777.

Password Security Tips 

Do not share your User ID’s or Passwords with another person or provide them to others.  Safeguard your User ID and Password information—never leave the information in an unsecured location.

  • Create a unique User ID and Password for each site.  Do not use the same identifying information on multiple websites.
  • Create strong User ID’s and Passwords.  In other words, use upper case letter(s), lower case letter(s), number(s), and special character(s) (!@#$%^&*)
  • Many websites force password changes (i.e. every 60 days).  If a website does not do so, take the initiative and change your password on a regular basis.

Website and Email Security Tips 

  • Monitor account activity. View account activity online on a regular basis and review periodic account statements (monthly and/or quarterly) and reconcile them to your personal records.
  • Use the “alerts feature” of your online banking accounts to be notified of debits over a certain amount and other possible unauthorized uses.
  • Log Off from a website; do not just close the page or “X” out.
  • Secure websites have a web address that includes an “s” (https rather than http).  If this is lacking, the site is not secure.  Do not log in or conduct business on the site.
  • When completing financial transactions, verify encryption and other security methods are in place, protecting your account and personal information.
  • Always Log out of online banking sites when finished.
  • Don’t use public internet connections for online banking, such as wireless hot spots.
  • Any e-mail which threatens to close or suspend accounts unless you “verify” your information is very likely a hoax. Criminals send e-mails designed to look like official communications from banks or government agencies, but in every case these e-mails contain links which take you to faked web sites where you may be asked for log-in IDs, passwords, personal information or account numbers and PINs. Don’t fall for these types of scams!
  • Enable spam filtering for your email through your internet service or email provider.
  • Never click on email links or email attachments that you were not expecting to receive.
  • Never send your SSN or other sensitive information via email without encryption or a secure server/service.

Computer / Network Security Tips 

  • Use quality security monitoring software on your Computer that includes Anti-virus, Anti-malware and Firewall functions.
  • Always setup a password to access your computer.
  • Set up individual login accounts for each person that uses your computer. Don’t share passwords.
  • Keep Computer operating system security up-to-date by applying patches and critical updates.
  • Password-protect your computer network (physical or wireless).
  • Always turn off or logoff your computer when not in use.
  • Get rid of Windows XP. If you use Windows XP, upgrade to Windows 7 or above.       This will greatly reduce the risk that your computer is compromised.
  • Never use a computer to access online banking that may be infected with a virus.
  • Never use someone else’s computer to access online banking because it could be infected with a virus.
  • Don’t reveal too much personal information on social media sites. 

Mobile Banking and Smartphones

  • Understand that your personal information on your smartphone is more valuable than the phone itself.
  • Suspend service on your phone immediately if it is lost or stolen.
  • Call your bank immediately if you lose or damage your phone so it can be de-activated
  • Protect your home screen with a passcode
  • Don’t share your passcode with anyone.
  • Ensure your device locks automatically after a certain period of time.
  • Always lock your device before leaving it unattended.
  • Enable Remote Wipe capability if available.
  • Only download approved apps through a trusted website that monitors the apps.
  • Don’t reveal too much personal information on social media sites.
  • Always sign off of mobile banking when finished.
  • Don’t use public internet connections such as wifi hotspots for Mobile Banking
  • Use the official Bank of Coushatta Mobile Banking app.
  • Don’t use “Jailbroken” smart phones
  • Don’t give out your mobile phone number on websites
  • Disable interfaces that are not being used, such as Bluetooth
  • Delete Text banking conversations when finished.
  • Don’t give your old phone away when you get a new one. You information will go with it. Wipe your mobile device before you let it go.
  • Be on guard against unsolicited e-mails or text messages appearing to link to the bank’s website. Those could be phishing messages and may infect your device
  • Protect your phone from viruses and malicious software just like you do for your computer by installing mobile security software
  • Download the updates for your phone and mobile apps to ensure that you have the most secure version
  • Avoid storing sensitive information like passwords or social security numbers on your mobile device.
  • Tell your financial institution immediately if you change your phone number or lose your mobile device.
  • Be aware of shoulder surfers. The most basic form of information theft is observation. Be aware of your surroudings especially when you’re punching in sensitive information.
  • Beware of mobile phishing. Avoid opening links and attachments in emails and texts, especially from senders you don’t know. And be wary of Ads claiming that your device is infected.
  • Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.

Signs your computer may be compromised

  • Fake antivirus messages appear that are not part of your normal antivirus
  • New toolbars appear in your internet browsers
  • Your internet home page changes unexpectedly
  • Frequent and random popups
  • System becomes slow and unresponsive
  • Your friends receive emails from you that you didn’t send.
  • Your online passwords change without your knowledge
  • New software programs appear that you didn’t install
  • Your mouse moves without your intervention as if someone is remotely controlling your computer
  • Your antivirus software is disabled and you can’t restart it

Signs your mobile device may be compromised

  • Odd charges on your cellphone statements
  • Larger amount of data usage than expected
  • Unexpected decrease in battery life
  • Apps installed that you didn’t install

What to do if your device has been compromised

  •  Turn the device off so no further damage can be done
  • Take the device to a reputable repair shop 

Consumer Protection provided by Regulation E

Regulation E provides rules for error resolution and unauthorized transactions for electronic fund transfers, which includes most transactions processed online.  In addition, it establishes limits to your financial liability for unauthorized electronic fund transfers.  These limits, however, are directly related to the timeliness of your detection and reporting of issues to Bank of Coushatta.  It is for this reason that we encourage you to immediately review periodic account statements and to regularly monitor your account activity online.  The “Electronic Fund Transfers” disclosure provided to you at the time of account opening provides detailed information.   We will provide to you, upon request, a free printed copy of this disclosure.

Additional Information for Business users of Online Services

Business transactions are inherently more risky than consumer transactions because of their frequency and dollar value. In the last five years there has been a steep rise in online account takeovers and unauthorized online fund transfers related to business accounts. Recently small to medium sized businesses have been primary targets as cyber criminals have recognized that the security controls they have in place are not as robust as that of larger businesses. Bank of Coushatta suggests that you follow these basic recommendations:

  • Business customers should be encouraged to perform a periodic risk assessment and an evaluation of the effectiveness of the controls they have in place to minimize the risks of online transaction processing.
    • The password, website, computer and network tips above provide a starting point for this process and the web resource links provide additional detailed information.
    • The FTC Business Center has a great deal of information for businesses at
  • Business customers should understand the security features of the software and websites they utilize and take advantage of these features.  Segregation of duties—the process of separating duties so no one person can perform all steps of a transaction—is an example of a very important security feature.
  • Layered security options that may be available to customers using online banking include out-of-band verification (such as telephone or email verifications), fraud detection and monitoring systems and IP reputation–based services.

Other Web Resources – Learn more and do more to protect yourself online! 

FDIC Cybersecurity Guide



FDIC Tips for Safe Internet Banking

FDIC Computer Security Tips for Bank Customers

FDIC Consumer News.


  • Two user-friendly sites for users of all ages and interests:                    
  • Consumer  alerts and online security tips on the FTC website:
  • Youth and teens and those concerned about them will find the following helpful:
  • Recent scams and how to report scams – Go to the IC3 website, a partnership of  the FBI, the National White Collar Crime Center, and the Bureau of Justice:
  • Scams and fraud and tips to avoid being a victim – Go to the FBI website at:


What to do if you are a victim of Identity Theft

  1. Make Sure to Document your Actions
  • Document the time and money you spend on straightening out the identity theft.
  • Keep copies of correspondence and documents related to the theft.
  • Write records of all telephone calls, including the date and time of your call and the name and title of the person who assisted you.
  • Write letters to confirm all phone conversations. Include the date, the name of the person you spoke with, and what actions were taken.
  • To be extra careful, send documents and letters Return Receipt Requested and keep the postal receipt with your copy.
  • Consider using the ID Theft Affidavit to avoid having to complete different forms. Download Affidavit form at:
  1. Contact the Police
  • File a report with your local law enforcement. You will need information from the police report to straighten out your credit and accounts after the crime. Make sure to get the police report number and give this information to all companies you contact in getting your credit cleared up.
  1. Contact the Credit Bureaus
  • Contact the fraud departments at each of the three credit bureaus:
    • Equifax (800) 525-6285
    • Experian (888) 397-3742
    • TransUnion (800) 680-7289
  • Get all three agencies to flag the accounts with a “fraud alert.” Find out how long the fraud alert will remain on your report and how to extend that time, if needed. Ask that all creditors contact you at a phone number you provide to verify all future applications.
  • Add a “victim’s statement” to the report.
  • Have each credit bureau send you a copy of your report to help guide you in tracing where and when any fraud occurred to your accounts.
  • Send a dispute letter to the credit bureaus telling them what information is inaccurate. Credit bureaus must investigate the items in question, usually within 30 days, unless they consider your dispute frivolous.
  • In a few months, order new copies of your reports to verify corrections and changes, and to make sure no new fraudulent activity has occurred.
  1. Contact Credit Card Companies
  • Close any affected accounts so they’re registered as “Closed at customer request.”
  • Send dispute letter telling the credit card issuer what charges were not authorized.
  • Get new accounts and protect accounts with passwords.
  • Follow up with a letter documenting the date, the name of the person who helped you, and what actions were taken.
  1. Contact Your Bank / Broker
  • Cancel checking and savings accounts and open new ones.
  • Stop payments on outstanding checks.
  • Get a new ATM card, account number, and PIN.
  • If you believe that a thief has tampered with your securities investments or a brokerage account, immediately report it to your broker/account manager and to the Securities and Exchange Commission (202-942-8088).
  1. Contact Major Check Verification Companies

If your checks have been stolen or misused, contact these major check verification companies for these services:

  • To request that they notify retailers who use their databases not to accept your checks, call:
    • Cartegy, Inc. 1-800-437-5120
    • Global Payments 1-800-766-2748
    • TeleCheck 1-800-710-9898
  • To find out if an identity thief has been passing bad checks in your name, call:
    • SCAN 1-800-262-7771
  1. Contact Government Authorities
  • Contact other authorities that specialize in identity theft. The FTC runs the ID Theft Hotline and the ID Theft Data Clearinghouse:
    • FTC ID THEFT HOTLINE: (877) IDTHEFT (438-4338)
  • If your Social Security number has been compromised, report it to the Social Security Administration:
  • If any mail was used in the fraud, contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. This agency is helpful if any fraudulent utility bills or apartment leases show up on your credit report:
    • U.S. POSTAL INSPECTORS: (800) 372-8347


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