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Consumer Protection

What the Bank is Doing to Keep Your Identity Safe?
Substantial measures are in place to protect your identity against theft and fraud:

  • Internal Confidentiality - Access to non-public information about you is limited to employees who need to know that information to provide you with our products and services.
  • Employee Training - Employees are trained periodically throughout the year on handling sensitive and confidential information, fraud prevention, and identity theft. They are also tested to ensure that they are following the proper procedures.
  • Online Security - Your Online banking transactions are secure. The Online Banking System brings together a combination of industry-approved security technologies to protect data for the bank and for you, our customer. It features password-controlled system entry and a VeriSign-issued Digital ID for the bank's server and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol for data encryption.
  • Privacy Policies - Our Privacy Policy Protects your personal and financial information. These policies are stringent and enforced with employee training which is provided regularly.

What You Can Do to Protect Yourself?

  • Before you give personal information, ask your bank, doctor's office, other businesses and your employer how they will use and protect your personal information.
  • Never carry your Social Security Card or number, birth certificate or passport unless necessary. Report lost or stolen checks immediately. Review new deliveries of checks to make sure none have been stolen in transit.
  • Do not have your social security number or driver's license number printed on your checks.
  • Never give identifying information over the phone or internet to someone you don't know.
  • Shred financial solicitations or financial statements before disposing of them.
  • Deposit your mail into a secure, official Postal Service collection box.
  • If regular bills fail to reach you, call the company to find out why. Someone may have filed a false change-of-address notice to divert your mail and steal your identity.
  • Do not use your mother's maiden name or other common information, ie. Phone number, birthdates, etc. as passwords.
  • Keep a list of credit card and bank account numbers, expiration dates and phone numbers in a safe place.
  • Never leave your purse or billfold unattended. Examples, in your car, motel room etc.
  • PROTECT all PIN's and Passwords. Change them often. Use a combination of lower and upper case letters and numbers.
  • Use Virus Protection software.
  • Do not open attachments or links from unknown senders.
  • Get a copy of your credit report every year. A law (The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, or FACT Act) requires each of the three credit reporting companies to provide you a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. We recommend that you go to www.annualcreditreport.com or call 877-322-8228 periodically throughout the year to get a free credit report.

You can also contact the credit reporting companies:

What To Do If Your Identity Has Been Compromised?
If you become a victim of identity theft, you can take action. To ensure the best possible protection ... don't wait. Once you suspect that your identity has been compromised take the following steps immediately:

  1. Go to the FTC website, www.ftc.gov/idtheft to locate a theft affidavit form. This comprehensive form will help you in documenting the information that you will need to provide to several organizations.

  2. The next step is to contact the three national consumer reporting agencies. Ask each agency to place a "fraud alert" on your credit report, and send you a copy of your credit file. When you have completed your affidavit packet, you may want to send them a copy to help them investigate the disputed accounts.

    Equifax Credit Information Services, Inc.
    1-800-685-1111 to obtain a copy of your report.
    P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
    www.equifax.com

    Experian Information Solutions, Inc.
    (888) 397-3742
    P.O. Box 9530, Allen, TX 75013
    www.experian.com

    TransUnion
    (800) 680-7289/ TDD (877) 553-7803
    Fraud Victim Assistance Division
    P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92634-6790
    www.transunion.com

  3. Then contact the fraud department at each creditor, bank, or utility/service that provided the identity thief with unauthorized credit, goods or services. This would be a good time to find out if the company accepts this affidavit, and whether they require notarization or a copy of the police report.

  4. Contact your local police department. Ask the officer to take a report and give you the report number or a copy of the report. When you have completed the affidavit packet, you may want to give your police department a copy to help them add to their report and verify the crime.

  5. Contact the FTC, which maintains the Identity Theft Data Clearinghouse - the federal government's centralized identity theft complaint database - and provides information to identity theft victims. You can call toll-free 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338), visit www.ftc.gov/idtheft, or send mail to:

    Identity Theft Data Clearinghouse
    Federal Trade Commission
    600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC 20580

    The FTC collects complaints from identity theft victims and shares their information with law enforcement nationwide. This information also may be shared with other government agencies, consumer reporting agencies, and companies where the fraud was perpetrated to help resolve identity theft related problems.

  6. If you believe someone may have used your SSN fraudulently you will need to contact and complete forms for the IRS. To aid victims whose social security number has been compromised the IRS has a Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft. Please click here to access the guide: www.irs.gov/uac/Taxpayer-Guide-to-Identity-Theft.

Additional Websites and Information on Identity Theft & Fraud

These websites contain more information on securing sensitive data and protecting yourself or your business from identity theft and fraud.

If you have any questions, please contact Western Bank’s Customer Service at 651-290-8176.

Elder/Vulnerable Adult Financial Abuse Prevention

Western Bank, a division of American National Bank is committed to offering information and resources to make sure this crime doesn’t happen to you or a loved one.

What is financial elder abuse?

Financial elder abuse is the theft or embezzlement of money or any other property from an elder. It can be as simple as taking money from a wallet and as complicated as manipulating a victim into turning over property to an abuser.

Where is financial elder abuse taking place?

Elder financial abuse can occur anywhere – in the home, in nursing homes, or in other institutions. It affects seniors and vulnerable adults across all socio-economic groups, cultures, and races. (Source: NBA How to Stop Elder Abuse & Exploitation)

A growing problem

According to a recent Investor Protection Trust poll, nearly 1 out of 5 U.S. seniors are hit by financial scams and 17 percent of Americans aged 65 or older have been taken advantage of financially, representing more than $3.0 billion in losses annually.

Who are the perpetrators?
Family members, including sons, daughters, grandchildren, or spouses. They may:

  • Have substance abuse, gambling or financial problems.
  • Stand to inherit and feel justified in taking what they believe is "almost" or "rightfully" theirs.
  • Fear that their older family member will get sick and use up their savings, depriving the abuser of an inheritance.
  • Have had a negative relationship with the older person and feel a sense of "entitlement."
  • Have negative feelings toward siblings or other family members whom they want to prevent from acquiring or inheriting the older person's assets.

Predatory individuals who seek out vulnerable seniors with the intent of exploiting them. They may:

  • Profess to love the older person ("sweetheart scams").
  • Seek employment as personal care attendants, counselors, etc. to gain access.
  • Identify vulnerable persons by driving through neighborhoods (to find persons who are alone and isolated) or contact recently widowed persons they find through newspaper death announcements.
  • Move from community to community to avoid being apprehended (transient criminals).

Unscrupulous professionals or businesspersons, or persons posing as such. They may:

  • Overcharge for services or products.
  • Use deceptive or unfair business practices.
  • Use their positions of trust or respect to gain compliance.

Who is at risk?

The following conditions or factors increase an older person's risk of being victimized:

  • Isolation
  • Loneliness
  • Recent losses
  • Physical or mental disabilities
  • Lack of familiarity with financial matters
  • Have family members who are unemployed and/or have substance abuse problems

Why are the elderly attractive targets?

  • Persons over the age of 50 control over 70% of the nation's wealth.
  • Many seniors do not realize the value of their assets.
  • The elderly may be more likely to have disabilities that make them dependent on others for help. These "helpers" may have access to homes and assets, and may exercise significant influence over the older person.
  • They may have predictable patterns (e.g. because older people are likely to receive monthly checks, abusers can predict when older people will have money on hand or need to go to the bank).
  • Severely impaired individuals are also less likely to take action against their abusers as a result of illness or embarrassment.
  • Abusers may assume that frail victims will not survive long enough to follow through on legal interventions, or that they will not make convincing witnesses.
  • Some older people are unsophisticated about financial matters.
  • Advances in technology have made managing finances more complicated.

(Source: National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse-NCPEA)

Know the scenarios

According to the Nebraska Bankers Association, common abuse scenarios include:

  • Misappropriation of income or assets - Perpetrator obtains access to an elder's Social Security checks, pension payments, checking or savings account, or credit or debit card, or withholds portions of checks cashed for an elder.
  • Excessive rent or fees for service - Perpetrator charges an elder excessive rent or unreasonable fees for basic care services such as transportation, food, or medicine.
  • Money or property obtained by undue influence, misrepresentation, or fraud - Perpetrator coerces an elder into signing over investments, real estate, or other assets through the use of manipulation, intimidation, or threats.
  • Improper or fraudulent use of the power of attorney or fiduciary authority -Perpetrator improperly or fraudulently uses the power of attorney or fiduciary authority to alter an elder's will, to borrow money using an elder's name, or to dispose of an elder's assets or income.
  • Pigeon drop - Perpetrator claims to have found a sum of money and offers to split it with an elder provided the elder first withdraws an amount equal to his or her share as a sign of good faith.
  • Fake accident ploy - Perpetrator convinces an elder that the elder's child has been seriously injured or is in jail and needs money for medical treatment or bail.
  • Telemarketing and mail fraud - Perpetrator persuades an elder to buy a valueless or nonexistent product, donate to a bogus charity, or invest in a fictitious enterprise.
  • Fake prizes - Perpetrator tells an elder that he or she has won a (nonexistent) prize and either asks the elder to send a check to pay the taxes on the prize or obtains the elder's credit card or checking account number to pay for shipping and handling charges for the prize.
  • Unsolicited work - Perpetrator arrives unexpectedly at an elder's residence and offers to perform work for a reasonable fee; after starting the work, the perpetrator insists that the elder pay more than originally agreed before the work will be completed.

Additional Resources

  • 14 Red Flags for Elder Financial Abuse
    http://www.aba.com/Engagement/Documents/OlderAmericansTipSheet_Financial.pdf
  • 7 Tips to Help Older Adults Choose the Right Caregiver
    http://www.aba.com/Engagement/Documents/OlderAmericansTipSheet_Caregiver.pdf
  • Protecting the Elderly from Financial Abuse
    http://www.aba.com/Consumers/Pages/ProtectingTheElderly.aspx
  • Is a Joint Bank Account Right for Me?
    https://www.aba.com/Engagement/Documents/ABAAARPJointAccounts.pdf
  • Don’t Fall Victim to the Grandparent Scam
    http://www.aba.com/Engagement/Documents/OlderAmericansTipSheet_GrandparentScam.pdf
  • 5 Ways to Spot a Lottery Scam
    http://www.aba.com/Engagement/Documents/OlderAmericansTipSheet_Lottery.pdf
  • Planning for Diminished Capacity
    http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201505_cfpb_consumer-advisory-and-investor-bulletin-planning-for- diminished-capacity-and-illness.pdf
  • Contact Nebraska Health and Human Services at 800-652-1999
    http://dhhs.ne.gov/children_family_services/Pages/nea_aps_apsindex.aspx
  • Contact Iowa Health and Human Services at 800-362-2178
    http://dhs.iowa.gov/report-abuse-and-fraud
  • Contact Minnesota Health and Human Services at 844-880-1574
    http://mn.gov/dhs/people-we-serve/people-with-disabilities/services/adult-protection/