Fraud & ID Theft Prevention

As a local community bank, we at First Federal are focused on serving the financial needs of the people with whom we interact every day. Your transactions and personal information are always treated with the utmost respect and confidentiality.

While we are constantly updating our practices to preserve our customer's privacy and assets, we recognize the need to provide additional information to you so that you are armed with the appropriate tools to make proactive decisions about how you handle private information in your daily life. The information below provides helpful tips and guidelines to protect yourself and your business from identity theft.

Visit our Online Education Center, to view helpful videos on Identity Theft Prevention.

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft is the means by which fraud artist use or transfer, without lawful authority, the identification of another person. Skilled identity thieves use a variety of methods to steal your personal information, including:

  • Dumpster Diving: Thieves will rummage through trash looking for bills or other documents with your personal information.
  • Skimming: Thieves steal credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card, for example at an ATM. Once the skimmer captures the information found in your card, it can be used to perform credit card fraud or product counterfeit cards.
  • Phishing: Thieves pretend to be financial institutions or companies and send spam or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal information.
  • Changing Your Address: Thieves will divert your billing statements to another location by completing a "change of address" form.
  • Old-Fashioned Stealing: Thieves steal wallets and purses; mail, including bank and credit card statements; pre-approved credit offers; and new checks or tax information. Thieves also steal personnel records from employers, use social engineering, or bribe employees who have access.

What can I do?


DETER identity thieves by safeguarding your information.

  • Shred financial documents and paperwork with personal information.
  • Protect your Social Security number. Don't carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write your Social Security number on a check.
  • Don't give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you know who you are dealing with.
  • Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails; instead, type in a web address you know. Use firewalls, antispyware, and anti-virus software to protect your home computer, keep the up-to-date. Visit for more information.
  • Don't use an obvious password like your birth date, your mother's maiden name, or the last four digits of your Social Security number.
  • Keep your personal information in a secure place at home, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help, or are having work done in your house.

DETECT suspicious activity by routinely monitoring your financial accounts and billing statements.

Be alert to signs that require immediate attention:

  • Bills that do not arrive on time
  • Unexpected credit cards or account statements
  • Denials of credit for no apparent reason
  • Calls or letter about purchases you did not make.
  • Inspect your credit report:
  • The law requires the major nationwide consumer reporting companies; Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, to give you a free copy of your credit report each year if you ask for it.
  • Visit for more information.

DEFEND against identity theft as soon as possible.

Place a "fraud alert" on your credit reports and review the reports carefully. The three nationwide consumer reporting companies have toll-free numbers for placing an initial 90 day fraud alert; a call to one company is all that is needed:

  • TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
  • Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
  • Experian: 1-888-397-3742
  • Close any accounts that have been compromised with or established fraudulently.
  • File a police report with law enforcement officials to help you with creditors who may want proof of the crime.
  • Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission.
  • Online:
  • By phone: 1-877-438-4338 or TTY, 1-866-653-4261
  • By mail: Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580

What is Information Security?

Information security is defined as the protection of information and information systems against unauthorized access or modification of information, whether in storage, processing, or transit, and against the denial of service to authorized users. Everyone needs to follow information security best practices, especially businesses. Here are a few tips for keeping your data and your customers' data secure:

  • Password Security. Protecting your workstations, servers or any other device on your network with a strong password is crucial. A strong password is:
  • A minimum length of eight-character; comprised of a combination of upper and lower-case letters and special characters.
  • Not a dictionary word or based on any obvious items of personal information, for example, a spouse or child's name.
  • Changed often (if you change your password every 90 days, the chances of cracking your password becomes harder).
  • Not written down anywhere near or to the computer (on post-its, pull-out trays in desks, inside drawers, under shelves, etc.).
  • Effective Antivirus/Malware Protection. Constant Antivirus/Malware protection is one of the most critical components on a secure computer system. Viruses can easily cause your system data to be compromised, and their destructive influence is devastating.
  • Deploy a Firewall. A firewall (or internet firewall) helps make your computer invisible to online attackers and some malicious software such as viruses, worms, and Trojan horses. A firewall can also help prevent software on your computer from accessing the internet to accept updates and modification without your permission.
  • Physical Security
  • Never Leave Data Unattended. Even the most secure password can be compromised if you step away from your computer while logged in. Something as simple as encouraging your staff to lock their computer before leaving their desks can limit PC security risks. In addition, any confidential or sensitive papers that need to be saved should be locked away and not left out in the open.
  • Shred Sensitive Paper. Always have shredders available to shred sensitive data when it is no longer needed.
  • Dual Control. Initiate electronic transactions (such as payroll and wire transfers) under dual control, with a transaction originator and a separate transaction authorizer.
  • Limit administrative rights on users' workstations.
  • Educate employees on information security practices.

What do you do if your Business is a Victim?

If you suspect that your business information or computer has been compromised, take action immediately to try to minimize the extent of any damage or loss.

  • Immediately cease all activity from computer systems that may be compromised.
  • Immediately contact your local branch or personal banker so that your online access can be disabled. When speaking with First Federal Bank, you should also change your online banking passwords, open new account(s) (if needed), request that the bank review all financial transactions and electronic authorizations on your account and ensure that no unauthorized requests have been made without your knowledge (such as an address change).
  • If you have questions or concerns about ID Theft for your Business, please contact your local branch or call 910-892-7187, Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • If you prefer, you may also Contact Us here
  • Maintain a written record or events: what happened, what was lost and what steps you took to report the incident to banks, authorities and others (such as affected customers). Be sure to record the date, time, telephone number, person spoken with, details discussed and any applicable reference numbers (such as report or case numbers).
  • File a police report and provide the facts and circumstances surrounding the loss. Obtain a police report with the date, time, department, location, and name of the officer filing the report. Having a police report will facilitate dealing with insurance companies, banks, and other organizations that may be affected by the fraudulent activity against you and your business.

Additional Website Security Resources

Questions about Identity Theft Prevention?

Visit our Online Education Center to learn more.

If you have questions or concerns about Identity Theft Prevention, please contact your local branch or call 910-892-7187, Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. or Friday from 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

If you prefer, you may also Contact Us here

First Federal Bank

200 East Divine St.

Dunn, NC 28334


This free service provides greater protection against fraudulent use of your card. There is no application process--you are automatically enrolled. And best of all it's free!

  • Reviews spending patterns
  • Detects unusual card activity
  • Contacts you to verify abnormal activity