Consumer Safety  |  Business Safety

Security is important for consumers and businesses alike. Below are some easy to follow steps to help protect yourself online. 

Consumer Safety

At Charlotte State Bank & Trust, we want to help you protect your personal information and protect you from fraud. We will never send an email, phone or text message request asking our customers to verify or update personal information or passwords. For your protection and privacy, bank representatives will ask for certain information to verify your identity when you contact us.

If you receive an email, phone call or text that appears to be from us, but you suspect that it is fraudulent, please do not click on any links or attachments, or enter any requested information.  These are all forms of phishing. Please notify us immediately.

Report suspicious emails, texts and voice mails appearing to be from Charlotte State Bank & Trust here.

Mobile Device Safety Tips

Consumer use of mobile devices continues to increase.  Cyber criminals are targeting them with greater frequency.  We suggest you follow the following 12 steps to protect your mobile device:

  • Use the passcode lock on your smartphone and other devices. This will make it more difficult for thieves to access your information if your device is lost or stolen.
  • Log out completely when you finish a mobile banking session.
  • Protect your phone from viruses and malicious software, or malware, just like you do for your computer by installing mobile security software.
  • Use caution when downloading apps. Apps can contain malicious software, worms, and viruses. Beware of apps that ask for unnecessary “permissions.”
  • Download the updates for your phone and mobile apps.
  • Avoid storing sensitive information like passwords or a social security number 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 surroundings especially when you’re punching in sensitive information.
  • Wipe your mobile device before you donate, sell or trade it using specialized software or using the manufacturer’s recommended technique. Some software allows you to wipe your device remotely if it is lost or stolen.
  • 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 (not from your security provider) claiming that your device is infected.
  • Watch out for public Wi-Fi. Public connections aren't very secure, so don’t perform banking transactions on a public network. If you need to access your account, try disabling the Wi-Fi and switching to your mobile network.
  • Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.
Online Safety Tips

Whether you’re a new Internet user or an expert, it is important to keep yourself and your computer safe and secure so you can avoid becoming a victim of cybercrime. Here are a few tips to make sure your operating system is helping to protect you:

  • Keep your browser and operating system up to date
  • Always lock your screen or device when you’re not using it
  • Use secure networks and reputable internet sites
  • Do not open e-mails, attachments or links from an unrecognized sender


Just days after Microsoft released its latest operating system, hackers have begun targeting  Windows 10 users with an emerging kind of malware.

Microsoft security researchers are warning users against opening e-mail attachments purporting to be from the software giant. The “ransom-ware” malware, which encrypts files until a ransom is paid, is being sent as part of an e-mail spam campaign. The attackers are impersonating Microsoft in an attempt to exploit their user base for monetary gain.

What is Phishing?

Phishing is an attempt to steal information by trying to manipulate or lure you to do something.

Tips for spotting a suspicious/phishing email or text message:

  • It may appear to be from someone important, like the bank.
  • It may have an urgent message.
  • It may have links and attachments that contain malicious software, also known as malware.
  • It may ask for your personal information.

Why do they send these emails?

  • Fraudsters are trying to steal information.
  • Fraudsters may be trying to install malicious software on your computer.  Be sure to keep your computer healthy by installing antivirus software, security updates and turning on your firewall. 

What do I do with these emails?

  • Do not respond to these emails or click on links or attachments.
  • The bank will not ask for personal information by sending an email.  However, if it appears to be from our bank, please contact us at 1-(941) 624-5400 or
  • All other phishing may be reported to or simply delete it and then delete it again from your deleted items.


Prevent Identity Theft

Things you should do to prevent Identity Theft 

Check your credit report at least annually for free. Visit or call 1 (877) 322-8228.

  • Do not carry your Social Security card with you.
  • Shred all confidential information such as credit card offers and account statements.
  • Never provide credit card or personal information to a phone or email solicitation unless you initiate the transaction.
  • Use complex, secure passwords to sites containing your personal information.
  • Only do business with a reputable company.
  • Do not leave paid bills in your mailbox with the flag up.
  • Trust your intuition. If it is too good to be true, it is probably a scam to steal information to use for financial gain.
Cyber Crimes

The top Cyber Crimes reported today, as reported to

1. Fake Check Scams

With initial contact made in online classified ads or marketplaces, an authentic-looking (but fake) check is sent to a consumer with directions to deposit it in their personal account and wire a portion of the proceeds to a third party. The scam artist gets cash in hand, but the victim is left owing their bank money.

Remember: Anyone asking you to deposit a check and wire the proceeds to someone you don’t know is scamming you. Don’t fall for it!

Get help: Report it to

2. Internet Merchandise Scams

These bogus websites appear to sell everything from fake pharmaceuticals to electronics to counterfeit brand-name clothing, but the merchandise you buy never arrives or is completely different than what you ordered.

Remember:  If it seems too good to be true, it is!

Get help: Report it to the Better Business Bureau,

3. Bogus Prizes, Sweepstakes and “FREE” gifts

Lottery winnings, sweepstakes, free vacations and cars are offered…. but…. you have to pay up front to cover things like “taxes” or “fees.” In reality, there is no prize or winnings. It’s all a scam.

Remember: If someone wants you to pay in order to collect winnings, it’s a scam. Period!

Get help: Find resources at

4. Advance Fee Loans, Credit Arrangers

Loans or credit are offered in exchange for an upfront fee. If the consumer pays, the loan never materializes, and the consumer loses his/her “fee.”

Remember: Any reputable lender will want to know your credit history before offering a loan.

Get help: Find resources at

5. Phishing or Spoofing

A phishing email or text message, allegedly from a business or organization you know or trust, often includes a link or attachment which, when opened, installs malware or directs you to a look-alike website where personal information is requested.

Remember: When in doubt, throw it out!

Get help:  Report it to the Anti-Phishing Working Group,

To protect against Cyber Crimes, the National Cyber Security Alliance offers these tips:

  • KEEP A CLEAN MACHINE by making sure your security software, operating system and web browser are up to date.
  • WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT. Don’t click on any links or open attachments unless you trust the source.
  • MAKE YOUR PASSWORDS long, strong and unique. Combine capital and lower-case letters with numbers and symbols to create a more secure password. Use a different password for each account.
  • SET YOUR BROWSER SECURITY HIGH enough to detect unauthorized downloads.
  • USE A POP-UP BLOCKER (the links in pop-up ads are notorious sources of malware).
  • BACK UP YOUR DATA REGULARLY (just in case your computer crashes).
  • PROTECT ALL DEVICES that connect to the internet. Along with computers, smart phones, gaming systems and other web-enabled devices also need protection from malware.
  • MAKE SURE ALL MEMBERS OF YOUR FAMILY follow these safety tips (one infected computer on a home network can infect all other computers).

Help the authorities fight Cyber Crime
By using the following additional resources

Internet Crime Complaint Center  -

Electronic Crimes Task Forces and Working Groups  -

Identity Theft Resources Center (ITRC)  -

Victims of Fraud Resources  -

U.S. Department of Justice  -

National Center for Victims of Crime  -  -

Visit for more information.
Information co-sponsored and provided by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Alliance, the nation’s leading nonprofit, public-private partnership promoting the safe and secure use of the internet.

Business Safety

Small Businesses are at risk for Corporate Account Takeover
  • What is corporate account takeover?  It is the same as identity theft, but for a business.
  • Why is a business at risk?  Thieves target small business because they often have more money than an individual, but do not invest a lot of money in security.


Ten Security Tips for Small Businesses

Make cyber security a part of your business plans.  Here are 10 tips to help secure your business:

1. Train employees in security guidelines:  Implement security guidelines for your employees to follow.  Use the links below to get you started.  Train them on these guidelines often; awareness is a key element in securing your business.   Clearly communicate if there will be penalties for non-compliance.

2. Protect information, computers and networks from viruses, spyware and other malicious code: Keep your computers healthy by installing a firewall, security updates and antivirus software and keep them all updated.  Hire a professional to occasionally test your systems.

3.  Use a dedicated computer to perform online business transactions such as ACH origination and wire transfer activity:  Do not use the dedicated computer to browse the internet and read emails.  By isolating the computer used for online business, you will better ensure that the PC does not get contaminated with malicious software, which may cause compromised credentials.

4. Reconcile accounts daily, if possible:  If any unauthorized activity has occurred, you will discover it right away and can take immediate action.  Report any suspicious activity to the bank as soon as you find it.

5. Control access to your computers and network:  Review access given to employees and ensure each employee uses a unique ID and secure password. Only give key personnel administrative privileges and allow employees access to only what is necessary to do their jobs.

Do not allow them to install software without permission.  Prevent access or use of business computers by unauthorized individuals. Laptops can be particularly easy targets for theft, so make sure they are stored and locked up when unattended.

6.  Keep passwords secure: Passwords are the keys to your accounts.  Keep them secure by making them at least 8 characters long, upper and lower case letters and numbers and symbols.  Never use dictionary words.  Remember, each employee needs to have a unique user ID and password.

7. Secure your Wi-Fi network:  To hide your Wi-Fi network, set-up your wireless access point or router so it does not broadcast the network name, also known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID). In addition, make sure to turn on the encryption so that passwords are required for access. Lastly, it is critical to change the default administrative password that was on the device when it was first purchased.

8. Make backup copies of important business data and information:  Regularly backup the data on every computer used in your business. Backup business data daily and set it up to do so automatically if possible. If daily is not possible back up at least weekly.

9. Keep an eye on your copy machines:  Check with your copy machine vendor before you let it leave your business for repair or replacement. Some copy machines store information.  If so, be sure to erase the hard drive prior to removal of the copy machine.

10. Shred confidential documents:  Shred paper documents containing confidential data by using a secure shredder or hire a company to do it for you.

Additional Information on how to protect your business:

Stay Safe Online
Internet Security Essentials for Business (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)
Small Biz Cyber Planner (FCC)
10 Cybersecurity Strategies for Small Business tip sheet (FCC)
Data Security Made Simpler (Better Business Bureau)
Sound Business Practices for Businesses to Mitigate Corporate Account Takeover (NACHA – The Electronic Payments

Important Information

Take Action Name of Organization Website/Address Phone Number
Hacking Crimes FBI/ Internet Crime Complaint Center
IC3-gov None
Deceptive SPAM and Phishing Emails Federal Trade Commission Forward email to:
(1 877 382-4357)
If you have divulged personal information Federal Trade Commission

Identity Theft Clearinghouse/Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20580

(1 877 438-4338)
TTY 1 866 653-4261
Phone Fraud Federal Trade Commission 1 877 FTC-HELP
(1 877 382-4357)
Put your home and cell phone number on the do-not-call registry Federal Trade Commission 1 888 382-1222
Report Violations of do not call registry Federal Trade Commission 1 888 382-1222
Check your credit reports Annual Credit Report Request Service

Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

1 877 322-8228

After filing, you will receive within 15 days of receipt.


If you are a victim of Identity Theft, place an alert on only one of the 3 credit companies. The company you call is required to alert the others.

  • Equifax
  • Experion
  • Transunion
P.O. Box 740241 Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
1 800 525-6285
P.O. Box 9532 Allen, TX 75013
(1 888 397-3742)
Trans Union
P.O. Box 6790 Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
1 800 680-7289
To learn how to back up your files
Microsoft Microsoft Support
(1 800 642-7676)
Tips to protect your PC
Microsoft Microsoft Support
(1 800 642-7676)

Additional Links: