Anthem Breach: How To Protect You and Your Family

Anthem Breach: How To Protect You and Your Family
Follow these tips to protect you and your family’s data from compromise due to the Anthem Data Breach.


February 6, 2015

Recently, Anthem announced a breach of their computer systems which may have compromised the information of up to 80 million customers. The breach involved access to customer names, social security numbers, date of birth, job history and insurance account numbers among other items.

What makes this compromise different from recent compromises involving debit and credit cards is that criminals can use this Non Public Personal Information (NPPI) to do some of the following;

–    Make fraudulent claims for medical care,
–    Use this NPPI to gain access to on-line banking, shopping or e-mail accounts,
–    Apply for loans and credit cards under the victim’s name,
–    File fraudulent tax returns with the IRS.

There are things you can do to protect you and your family from this compromise. 

–    Monitor notifications from your health insurers on claims made on your policy,
–    Change your passwords, update your security questions and constantly monitor bank accounts, shopping accounts and electronic mail.
–    If you do not plan to file for any credit in the near future, consider putting a fraud alert or credit freeze on your credit file with the big 3 credit reporting firms.
You can find more information on this process on the Federal Trade Commission website.
–    Enroll into the IRS Identification Protection PIN service and consider filing your Tax Return sooner rather than later. If criminals have enough information, they may try to file your tax return and collect your refund.
–    Ensure you are signed up for IDSafeChoice, F&M Bank’s Fraud Protection Services, a free service for Platinum Account Holders.

If you become a victim of identity theft, consider filing a complaint with the FBI at the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) on your experience.

Finally, you will want to educate yourself and your family on good security practices to keep you identity safe. Some good resources on this issue are below:

–    Anthem Breach Frequently Asked Questions: Call Anthem’s toll-free number for questions at 877-263-7995
–    Federal Trade Commission site on Identity Theft Fraud:
–    Internal Revenue Service site on Identity Protection:



Features and Benefits Of Online Banking

Features And Benefits Of Online Banking
An overview of F&M Bank’s Online Banking features and benefits.

By Jackie Burner, Assistant Manager of the F&M Bank Bridgewater Branch

The last time we chatted, we discussed safety procedures for online banking.  This time I would like to discuss a couple of the features that our online banking offers.

My absolute favorite feature of online banking is Bill Pay.

I came from the “Old School” that said, “I like having a check in my hand”.  “I feel more in control when I write a check, address the envelope and run to the post office because I ran out stamps and finally mail the letter”.  I cringed as I typed that statement, because what I have found is that the “Old School” way controlled me.

Well, times have changed and I have finally embraced our online banking with a passion. Here are just a couple of the benefits it offers.

It is so nice to be able to pay your bills right from the comfort of your own recliner.

It is so easy and with just a few clicks on your computer, your bills are paid. I can actually pay all my bills in about two minutes. You can even pay your bills while away on vacation. If you have recurring payments you definitely will like bill pay. You set them up once and each month on that day, your bill will be paid.   Our system is very easy to navigate and if you do have an issue, we have many friendly faces in our branches that would be more than happy to help you.

Using your bill pay is very safe. Keeping your passwords up to date and confidential is very important. Using Bill Pay gives you the assurance of knowing that your bill, when processed properly, will be handled quickly and efficiently.

The second benefit of Online Banking is the Mobile Banking feature. My husband loves this feature.  If you are paid by check like he is and can’t get to the bank, Mobile banking is for you.  Just take a picture of your check and deposit it directly into your checking account. How amazing is that.  You even get a confirmation text that your check was processed correctly. Checking your balance on your phone is a breeze.  You can even have your balance texted to you every day.

Online Banking offers you the ability to print copies of your monthly statements and let’s not forget the ability to make transfers from one account to another by just a few clicks.

It’s all about making life easier for our customers.

If you have never used Online Banking, give it a try.  We are here to help you through the entire process from beginning to end.  Don’t wait!  Start today and enjoy the benefits available to you.


Online Banking Internet Browser Update

Our bank is pleased to present its website for all of our current and future customers to enjoy. The Internet is viewed through web browsers.

Our Online Banking program supports the latest version of Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer and Firefox. Each time a new version of these browsers is released the bank encourages you to update your internet browser for the best online experience. Online Banking requires the latest browser version because of the increased security features. If you don’t have the more recent versions then you will not have access to these features as a precaution to protect your personal information.

Browsers can be downloaded for free by going to the browser provider’s website or by following this link:

All of these installs are several megabytes. If you have a dial up connection to the internet then we recommend you start your download before going to bed and it will be ready for you in the morning..

Please contact us if you have any questions.


Online Banking? To use or not to use, that is the question?

Online Banking? To use or not to use, that is the question?
Tips and best practices for online banking

By Jackie Burner, Assistant Branch Manager, F&M Bank Bridgewater

online bankingThirty eight years ago when I started in banking you didn’t hear about the internet or online banking.

According to Wikipedia, experiments with online banking started during the early 1980’s, but it wasn’t until October 6, 1995 that Presidential Savings Bank first offered customers with an online alternative to the traditional banking experience.  It wasn’t long afterwards that Chase and other large banks jumped on board.  Today, internet banking is the norm.

Maybe you are like me and early on decided that you would never use the internet and especially online banking.  To have a personal computer in my home seemed outrageous, but as the years moved on, I knew that I was fighting a battle I couldn’t win. Computers and the internet were here to stay.

The very first computers took up an entire room.  Where was I to put such a machine?  I chuckle now as I look at my iPhone® which will do about anything I want it to, including my banking.

Now that we have a little history, I would like to discuss some questions customers usually have about online banking.

Is it safe?

One key to your safety when doing anything online, including your banking, is your personal login.  Your bank has done its part to keep your accounts safe. Consider these tips to make sure you are doing your part.

-when choosing your user ID and password make sure that it’s difficult for others to guess. Don’t use your own name or nicknames that others may know.  Make sure you use both upper and lower case letters, numerals and even punctuation marks if allowed by your financial institution’s software.  Passwords should never be shared with others.  I would recommend not using birthdates, phone numbers or street addresses.  I know we love our children and grandchildren, but this is not a good place to use them. Another idea is acronyms for a sentence. For example, (I love my Farmers and Merchants bank family! becomes- IlmFaMbf!)

-Change your password occasionally. It doesn’t have to be weekly or monthly, but maybe every six months or a year

Don’t use the same ID and password on all your secure sites.  If someone would figure out your password for your grandchildren’s pictures, they would have the password to your online banking. Make your online banking login unique.

Don’t share your information with anyone. This includes the person on the phone claiming to be your bank.  No one from your bank will ever need to know your password.

Shut it down. Always make sure that you sign off when you are finished with your online banking.  Don’t just close your browser, but actually sign off or exit the program.  The bank’s software will automatically log you out after a lull in activity, but leaving your ID logged in leaves a gap in your security.

I have found internet banking to be very simple and saves a lot of time.  Use the necessary precautions and enjoy your journey.

Next time we will discuss some ways you can use your online banking to make your life easier.


Online Banking Alert

Online Banking and Internet Explorer alert
If you are using Internet Explorer Version 8, please be advised that you will not be able to access Online Banking after June 25, 2014. You can download a newer version free from Microsoft Updates.

If you are using Internet Explorer Version 8, please be advised that you will not be able to access Online Banking after June 25, 2014. You can download a newer version free from Microsoft Updates.


Heartbleed Vulnerability

Heartbleed Vulnerability
Farmers and Merchants Bank has reviewed our systems and confirmed with our software vendors that we are not currently a part of the Heartbleed Vulnerability being discussed in the media.

Farmers and Merchants Bank has reviewed our systems and confirmed with our software vendors that we are not currently a part of the Heartbleed Vulnerability being discussed in the media.  Our bank and its software providers do not use the Open SSL servers that have been compromised. While our customers do not need to take action due to this event, we do encourage safe online practices, such as changing passwords to online banking websites often.  F&M requires at least an annual password change but encourage customers to be proactive and change more often.  We also encourage customers to use separate passwords for each different website that you login to.  At a minimum do not use the same login password for their financial information such as online banking and investment websites as they do for other websites.  For more tips for safe online banking, click here.