10 Simple Security Steps to Help Protect Your Accounts

We value all of our Bell State Bank & Trust customers, and we work hard to protect your security. Here are steps you also can take to reduce your online risk.

Follow these Tips to protect yourself:

1. Create unique usernames for online activity.

  • Use long passwords as they are more difficult to compromise.
  • Combine letters, numbers and special characters.
  • Avoid using your name, birthdate or common words.
  • Avoid using the same password for many accounts because if it is stolen, it can be used to take over all your accounts with the same password.

2. Regularly check your account activity online. If you find any charges or debits that you didn’t make, contact Bell State Bank & Trust or the merchant immediately.

3. Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software and a firewall on your computer and keep them updated.

4. Ensure the website is secure when you provide financial or other sensitive information online. The website address should change from “http” to “https” or “shttp.” A lock symbol may also indicate that the website is safe.

5. Be cautious with suspicious email messages received by deleting them because they could contain harmful software or links that could lead to the exploitation of your computer and your personal information.

6. Never call a number provided within an email related to your personal information unless you are sure it is valid. Always verify the number with a source you already know and trust.

7. Spam or phishing emails may look like they are from someone you may recognize. If any of the information sent to you seems suspicious, it is a good idea to contact the sender directly for verification before opening any attachments or clicking on any links.

8. Don’t give out private information such as your Social Security number, PIN, account number or password via emails or text messages.

9. Keep your billing and banking statements and other personal records secured, and shred them when they are no longer needed.  For more convenience and security, sign up for Paperless Online Statements within Online Banking.

10. Sign up for Account Alerts: Set up Email and Text Alerts to stay up-to-date on all of your account activity. When purchases or withdrawals are made, you’ll know about them almost immediately. To sign up, log in to personal online banking and click on the “Mobile & Alerts” tab.

We recommend that you monitor your credit report for unauthorized activity. You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report each year from each credit bureau. Since there are three credit bureaus, it is recommended to get one from each. This is a great way to actively monitor your credit. Request a report by visiting the official government site, annualcreditreport.com, or by calling 877-322-8228.

What if you become a victim?

If you are a Bell State Bank & Trust personal checking customer, and you believe you have fallen victim to fraud or identity theft, contact any Bell State Bank & Trust location. You are automatically covered with our FREE Identity Theft Recovery Program! This program covers any identity theft, such as fraudulent use of your name, Social Security number, bank account, any credit/debit card, or other identifying information—even of non-Bell State Bank accounts and credit cards—with up to $10,000 ID theft expense reimbursement insurance. Plus, a FREE Personal Recovery Advocate assigned to you will manage your recovery plan and contact banks, credit card companies and agencies such as the DMV, Social Security and the U.S. Post Office for you, working on your behalf for as long as it takes to recover your good name.

For more tips on how you can avoid identity theft and fraud, look for the Federal Trade Commission’s online guide, “Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft.”  You can also find additional information about consumer protection on the Consumer Federation of America website.

Have a question?

If you have questions or concerns about your Bell State Bank & Trust account, please call our customer service center at 701-298-1550 or toll-free 800-450-8949.

4 Responses to this post...

  • Don Schmidt on Jan 20, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

    Regarding the free credit report: There are three reporting entities. If you contact them one at a time, you can get a free report every four months, not just once a year.

  • jlarson on Jan 20, 2014 at 3:28 pm #

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention. You are correct! You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report each year from each credit bureau. Since there are three credit bureaus, it is recommended to get one from each credit bureau. This is a great way to actively monitor your credit.

  • Sandra on Jan 20, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

    Thank you for this very important information.

  • jlarson on Jan 21, 2014 at 8:32 am #


    You are welcome! Please let us know if you have any questions.

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