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Thursday, November 30th

Security Tips

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Bank with Confidence at Northwest Bank 

Customer Security Awareness

The following information is provided to help you learn ways to protect yourself from identity theft and methods to improve the security of your financial information. We highly recommend our customers to review your financial statements regularly and to report any suspicious activity to us immediately at 815-987-4550 or through our Contact Us form*.

*Please note when using the Contact Us Form that email transmissions are not secure and should not contain personal or confidential information.

What is identity theft?

Identity theft, also known as identity fraud, is a crime where someone obtains your personally identifiable information (such as a social security number or credit card number) for fraudulent use. The imposter may illegally utilize your personally identifiable information to open accounts in your name, drain assets from your existing accounts, etc.

Are there warning signs I should look for?

 Northwest Bank recommends account holders be alert for the following identity theft warning signs:

  • Unauthorized charges to your debit or credit card
  • Missing mailed statements from Northwest Bank 
  • Denied debit card or credit card transactions, indicating lack of funds available
  • Collection calls from unknown companies.                                           

Another illegal activity that customers should be aware of is called phishing. Phishing is when someone misleads you into providing them your confidential information so they may steal your identity or assets. For example, criminals may create a fraudulent email designed to look like it came from a trustworthy source and ask you to click on a link to validate your confidential information. The confidential information you provide to the fraudulent source is then used to commit identity theft. Phishing can also occur via phone calls, voicemail, text messages, or websites—please note that fraudulent websites may also download malware into your electronic device that can be similarly used for identity fraud.

How can I protect myself?

Protecting your personal information is key to fight against identity fraud. We suggest you follow these security tips:

Mobile and Online Security

  • Create a Strong Password for Online and Mobile Banking—The key to a strong password is to be memorable, but hard to guess.  Northwest Bank recommends account passwords to be at least eight characters long, and include one or more capitalized letters, numbers, and special characters such as &*^%$#@!. Avoid creating account passwords that are common phrases like “password” or general knowledge like your name.
  • Password Protect Your Electronic Devices—Lock your electronic device using a PIN code or password when you are not using it to secure any information on your device. We also recommend that you do not store your password on your mobile device.
  • Change Your Password Periodically—This helps reduce the probability of your log-in credentials being compromised. Never write down your user name or password as it could be lost or stolen. If you forget your username and/or password, please call us at 815-987-4550 for assistance.
  • Always Err on the Side of Caution—If you suspect you received a fraudulent phishing message, do not reply or click on any links within the message. Contact the company directly to confirm the legitimacy of the message.
  • For your convenience, we have added a link to Northwest Bank’s Regulation E Disclosure.

Commercial Customers

In addition to the other suggested security tips listed on this page, we recommend commercial online customers perform a related risk assessment and controls evaluation periodically.

We also recommend you review Business Email Compromise to mitigate the risks from fraud schemes.

Other Safeguards

  • Don’t Share Account Information—Account information is private and should not be shared with others who are not joint on the account.  Northwest Bank recommends to not share any account information with others or to keep account information in public view, such as your desk or on your car seat.
  • Avoid Scammers—Verify a website is secure before providing account or payment information.   Never provide account information over the phone or email, especially to someone you do not know.  Northwest Bank may contact you regarding your account, especially if we notice suspicious activity; however,  Northwest Bank will never ask you to provide log in credentials over the phone or via email. In addition,  Northwest Bank will never send an email asking for your credit card information or financial records.
  • Secure Your Records—Keep receipts of account and payment transactions in a secure place. Shred any unwanted documents with your private information before placing it in the trash. You can also sign up for e-statements to avoid your printed records from getting misplaced and potentially compromising your account security.
  • Sign up for E-Alerts—E-alerts will notify you when account transactions have occurred to monitor for suspicious activity. You may always call  Northwest Bank to speak with a friendly member of our staff to also verify all account transactions.
  • Review Your Financial Statements Regularly and Credit Report Annually—Review your bank and financial statements regularly in order to report suspicious activity in a timely manner. You may also receive a free credit report each year by law to review.

What if I notice suspicious activity?

If you notice suspicious activity on your account, contact  Northwest Bank immediately at 815-987-4550 or through our Contact Us form*.

*Please note when using the Contact Us Form that email transmissions are not secure and should not contain personal or confidential information.

If my credit or debit card is lost or stolen, who do I contact to prevent identity theft?

Debit Card

  • Contact Northwest Bank during regular business hours at 815-987-4550 if your card is lost or stolen. Otherwise, call 1-888-297-3416 if Northwest Bank is closed.

Credit Card

  • If your credit card is lost or stolen, contact the credit card company’s customer assistance phone number. When you open a credit card, it is recommended to save the customer assistance phone number listed on the back of your credit card for future reference.

Additional Resources: