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10-27-2008 04:11 PM CET | Business, Economy, Finances, Banking & Insurance

Press release from: Americana Community Bank

/ PR Agency: Wowza
Americana Community Bank has actively participated in and supported the communities it serves for more than 125 years

Americana Community Bank has actively participated in and supported the communities it serves for more than 125 years

Identity theft can be a nightmare. That’s why this Halloween, Americana Community Bank is encouraging consumers to follow some simple steps in order to avoid an identity theft nightmare.

Identity theft, the fastest growing type of fraud, involves more than the misuse of a Social Security number; it can also include credit card and mail fraud. Fraudsters are continually developing innovative ways to steal consumer’s personal information.

“The greater the public’s awareness of identity theft, the greater chance we have at preventing it. An educated consumer is the key to prevention,” said Allen Obernolte, Americana Community Bank President and CEO. “Most people enjoy a Halloween scare, but no one wants to wake up to the real life nightmare of having their identity stolen.”

Americana Community Bank offers tips to “pass” on an identity theft nightmare this Halloween:

• Protect- Protect your Social Security number. Don’t carry your social security card with you, or have your number printed on checks. Never give out your bank account or credit card number, unless you initiated the contact. Use firewalls, anti-spyware and anti-virus software to protect your home computer. Put locks on mailboxes and protect mail before and after it gets into your home.

• Alert- Be on alert for signs that your identity may be in jeopardy, including: bills that don't arrive when expected; unexpected credit cards or account statements; denials of credit for no apparent reasons; calls or letters about purchases you did not make; telemarketing scams that trick customers into revealing personal account information.

• Shred- Shred or tear up statements and other personal information that link your name to account numbers or your Social Security number. Criminals may be able to get access to your accounts and personal information by “dumpster diving,” or retrieving canceled checks, deposit receipts or bank statements from dumpsters or trash bins.

• Scan- Scan your credit report and accounts regularly. For your credit report, check that everything is accurate, all accounts are yours and closed accounts are marked closed. Check your bank and credit card statements online for unauthorized charges. To access your free credit report, visit

In addition to educating consumers, banks use encrypted systems, employee training, strict privacy policies and rigorous security standards to protect consumers’ personal information. Consumers are generally not responsible for fraudulent transactions or accounts they did not open.

If you suspect that you are a victim of identity theft, contact your bank immediately, then file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission by calling 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338) or visiting

Americana Community Bank encourages both current and prospective customers to visit any one of their five bank branches to learn more about identity theft.

Americana Community Bank is a full-service community bank providing down-to-earth consumer and commercial financial services in Sleepy Eye, Medford, Chanhassen, Maple Grove and Minnetonka, Minn. Chartered in 1881 as The State Bank of Sleepy Eye, Americana Community Bank has actively participated in and supported the communities it serves for more than 125 years.

2601 2nd Avenue South
Studio One
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Melissa Hillmyer

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