At American Federal, we're committed to protecting your privacy and security. We will never initiate a request for sensitive information from you via email (ie., Social Security Number, Personal ID, Password, PIN or account number). We strongly suggest that you do not share your Personal ID, Password, PIN or account number with anyone, ever (unless you initiate the communication).
To help prevent FRAUD, we have elected not to allow foreign ATM and Debit Card transactions. Please contact us if you plan to travel outside the United States so we may activate that feature for you.
"Phishing" refers to a person or a group of cyber-criminals who create an imitation or copy of an existing legitimate Web page to trick users into providing sensitive personal information. Responding to "phishing" emails put your accounts at risk. Receiving an email is a matter of chance and does not mean that your data or our systems have been compromised. Please contact the Bank at (406) 442-3080 immediately if you suspect you've received a "phishing" email posing as American Federal Savings Bank.
Large numbers of recipients are being "spammed," without actual knowledge of their banking affiliation. They request and collect email addresses and other confidential information like financial account numbers, IDs and passwords. The cyber-criminals have copied the logos and the content styles of widely known and respected financial institutions in an attempt to elicit a response from a recipient who may or may not be a customer of that financial institution.
"Phishing" cyber-criminals solicit personal data from unsuspecting victims via the Internet - like personal IDs, passwords, card numbers and PINs - and sell this information to other criminals who use it for financial gain. They can also access a customer's accounts through online banking and set up false bill payments that send checks to the criminal or a conspirator. In other cases, criminals transfer funds from all available customer accounts, including credit cards, savings accounts and home equity loans into their checking account. A copy of the customer's credit card or check card is then used with their PIN at ATMs around the world to withdraw cash from their checking account.
To increase the number of responses, cyber-criminals include upsetting or exciting statements in their emails. They want people to react immediately and respond with the desired information without thinking. To protect yourself, take the time to examine the claims made in the email. If you receive an email requesting sensitive information, check its authenticity by contacting the company that appears to be the originator of the email, however do not use the phone number in the email, use a different source for that information.
Similar to phishing, pharming is a means for criminals to fraudulently gain access to your personal information. While phishing requires the victim, in some fashion, to voluntarily come to the criminal's website, pharming is more insidious. As you may know, phishing is a means to trick the user to come to a fraudulent website, usually by sending links to the fake site in emails purporting to be from the victim's financial institution. Pharming, however, redirects the victim to the fraudulent website without assistance, often regardless whether the victim is security-conscious. Pharming works by subverting a basic service of the Internet known as the 'Domain Name Service,' or 'DNS.'
Get your credit report annually for free
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (known as the FACT Act) was signed into law by President Bush in 2003. It requires that the three national credit reporting agencies (Transunion, Equifax, and Experian) provide a free credit report to consumers upon request. You can do this by using the established website https://www.annualcreditreport.com, or by calling toll free 1-877-322-8228, or by writing Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. We encourage you to request your free credit report annually to monitor it for accuracy and notify the credit reporting agency if any errors are identified.
Opt out of prescreen solicitations
The FACT Act also requires the national credit reporting agencies to allow consumers to "opt-out" of receiving prescreen solicitation for credit. Briefly, this will greatly reduce the number of credit card solicitations you receive in the mail. Major credit card companies purchase lists of consumers that meet certain criteria (hence the term "prescreened"). In turn, they use these lists to send out mass mailings soliciting customers to open credit cards. You can elect to "opt-out" by using the established website https://www.optoutprescreen.com, or by calling toll free 888-567-8688.
For more information on how you can protect yourself against fraud and identity theft, please visit the following web sites:
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
FTC's "Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft"
State of Montana - ID Theft
State of Montana - Security Freeze