Security Awareness

Identity Theft

Identity Theft is the fastest-growing crime in America. To help you avoid being an ID Theft victim:

  • Be aware that your garbage may contain sensitive information or account numbers. Shred when possible.

  • Never provide personal information to someone by phone unless you have placed the call and trust the person/company with which you are dealing.

  • If someone claims to be calling from Planters First Bank and is seeking personal information you have already provided, the call is likely a scam in process.

  • If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is a scam.

Opening A New Account

To comply with federal regulations, and to help in the fight against terrorism and money laundering, Planters First Bank will ask for identification and other pieces of personal information. This information is closely guarded to avoid identity theft.

Mobile Device

Your mobile device provides convenient access to your email, bank and social media accounts. Unfortunately, it can potentially provide the same convenient access for criminals. Planters First Bank, the Georgia Bankers Association and American Bankers Association recommend following these tips to keep your information and your money safe.

Internet Phishing Scams

The federal banking, thrift and credit union regulatory agencies have published an informational brochure to assist consumers in identifying and preventing a new type of fraud known as "phishing."

The term "phishing" as in fishing for confidential information is a scam that encompasses fraudulently obtaining and using an individual's personal or financial information. In a typical case, the consumer receives an e-mail requesting personal or financial information; the e-mail appears to originate from a financial institution, government agency or other entity.

The e-mail often indicates that the consumer should provide immediate attention to the situation described by clicking on a link. The provided link appears to be the Web site of the financial institution, government agency or other entity.

However, in "phishing" scams, the link is not to an official Web site, but rather to a phony Web site. Once inside that Web site, the consumer may be asked to provide Social Security numbers, account numbers, passwords or other information used to identify the consumer, such as the maiden name of the consumer's mother or the consumer's place of birth.

When the consumer provides the information, those perpetrating the fraud can begin to access consumer accounts or assume the person's identity.


It can be a bit overwhelming to understand all of the terms you’ll hear tossed about regarding cybersecurity. Just a few include malware, ransomware, phishing, worm, and many more. So while we can’t explain all things cybersecurity, our goal here is to give you an overview of many of the more common terms.

Malware – This includes viruses, worms, and Trojan Horses. These are software programs that infect your machine and carry malicious codes to destroy the data on your machine or allow an intruder to take control over your machine. They usually come to you in an email. Hence, it’s always a good idea to never open any email attachments from someone you don’t know.

Spyware – This is software that sends information from your computer to a third party without your consent.

Spam – Remember when Spam was just canned meat? Not now. Spam is a program designed to send a message to multiple users, mailing lists or email group. An unwanted email that is unsolicited and pops up in your email inbox is how most know spam.

Worm – A worm is a computer malware program that replicates itself in order to spread to other computers. Once the worm gets into one computer’s system, if that computer is on a network, it can infect them all.

Phishing – The practice of using email or fake websites to lure the recipient in providing personal information. Sometimes, it wants you to confirm your account and asks for your SSN or a password. It may also link to you a website that looks a lot like a website you know. Never click on any link. If it’s a company you do business with, then open a new browser window and type in their address. You can also call them to double-check if they need to contact you.

Ransomware – The biggest so far is named WannaCry. Ransomware happens when you open an attachment and a worm is released onto your hard drive. A ransomware worm will literally lock up your data, and you will receive a message demanding you pay a ransom to access your data again. If you have a business that depends on your data, the ransom demands can be very costly.

Understanding how criminals try to trap you is your first line of defense, learn more about cybercrimes by visiting

Quick Tips for Small Businesses

Cybersecurity Basics (PDF)

Business Email Imposters (PDF)

Phishing (PDF)

Ransomware (PDF)

Tech Support Scams (PDF)

Protect your Wireless Network (PDF)

Physical Security (PDF)

Tech Support Scams

Technical support scams, where the subject claims to be an employee (or an affiliate) of a major computer software or security company offering technical support to the victim. Recent complaints indicate some subjects are claiming to be support for cable and Internet companies to offer assistance with digital cable boxes and connections, modems, and routers. The subject claims the company has received notifications of errors, viruses, or security issues from the victim's internet connection. Subjects are also claiming to work on behalf of government agencies to resolve computer viruses and threats from possible foreign countries or terrorist organizations.

Initial contact with the victims occurs by different methods. Any electronic device with Internet capabilities can be affected.

  1. Telephone: This is the traditional contact method. Victims receive a “cold” call from a person who claims the victim's computer is sending error messages and numerous viruses were detected. Victims report the subjects have strong foreign accents.

  2. Pop-up message: The victim receives an on-screen pop-up message claiming viruses are attacking the device. The message includes a phone number to call to receive assistance.

  3. Locked screen on a device (Blue Screen of Death - BSOD): Victims report receiving a frozen, locked screen with a phone number and instructions to contact a (phony) tech support company. Some victims report being redirected to alternate websites before the BSOD occurs. This has been particularly noticed when the victim was accessing social media and financial websites.

  4. Pop-up messages and locked screens are sometimes accompanied by a recorded, verbal message to contact a phone number for assistance.

Once the phony tech support company/representative makes verbal contact with the victim, the subject tries to convince the victim to provide remote access to their device.

If the device is mobile (a tablet, smartphone, etc.), the subject often instructs the victim to connect the device to a computer to be fixed. Once the subject is remotely connected to the device, they claim to have found multiple viruses, malware, and/or scareware that can be removed for a fee. Fees are collected via a personal debit or credit card, electronic check, wire transfer, or prepaid card. A few instances have occurred in which the victim paid by personal check.

If you believe that your account(s) have been compromised, please call customer service immediately.