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There’s a new scam out there, preying on veterans who are making decisions about their medical care. The Veterans Choice Program (VCP) is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The program allows certain eligible vets to use approved health care providers who are outside of the VA system. Veterans or families can call the VCP’s toll-free number to verify their eligibility for the program.


Here’s the problem: Scammers have set up a phony telephone line that very closely resembles the VCP’s real telephone number. Con artists often use names, seals, and logos that look or sound like those of respected, legitimate organizations. This time they’re using a phone number that’s almost identical to the real thing, counting on creating confusion. You call and think you’ve reached the VCP. The fake line’s message says you’re entitled to a rebate if you provide a credit card number. But if you give up your account information, they’ll debit your account and you’ll get nothing in return.  There is no rebate and you’ll need to cancel your credit card. 


If you’re a veteran – or you’re helping one with health care – remember these tips to avoid a scammer’s tricks.


Be sure you’re calling the real number for the Veterans Choice Program: 866-606-8198. If you’re not sure you’ve reached the VCP, hang up. Check the VCP’s site for the real number and try again.
The VA – or any government agency – will not ask for your financial account information. 

Visit VCP’s site to learn more about the Veterans Choice Program – or call 866-606-8198. Check out the VA’s identity theft prevention program, More Than a Number.  Report identity theft to the FTC – and get a personalized recovery plan – at




The US District Court for Northern Illinois has issued a warning describing email scams that use FORGED court documents to seek payments or personal financial information.  The documents may tell recipients that they are entitled to money from a class action settlement if they first send in a payment or provide their bank account information.  Recipients of these emails may file a compliant online with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center at 


The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is issuing this advisory to help financial institutions guard against a growing number of e-mail fraud schemes in which criminals misappropriate funds by deceiving financial institutions and their customers into conducting wire transfers. This advisory also provides red flags—developed in consultation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Secret Service (USSS)—that financial institutions may use to identify and prevent such e-mail fraud schemes.

E-mail Compromise Fraud:

Schemes in which criminals compromise the e-mail accounts of victims to send fraudulent wire transfer instructions to financial institutions in order to misappropriate funds. The main types of e-mail compromise fraud include:

Business E-mail Compromise (BEC):

Targets a financial institution’s commercial customers.

E-mail Account Compromise (EAC):

Targets a victim’s personal accounts.

BEC and EAC schemes are among the growing trend of cyber-enabled crime adversely affecting financial institutions. Since 2013, there have been approximately 22,000 reported cases of BEC and EAC fraud involving $3.1 billion.1 In some cases, financial institutions have absorbed losses through reimbursing customers victimized by e-mail compromise fraud. Financial institutions can play an important role in identifying, preventing, and reporting fraud schemes by promoting greater communication and collaboration among their internal anti-money laundering (AML), business, fraud prevention, and cybersecurity units. 


Unlike account takeover activity, e-mail-compromise schemes involve impersonating victims to submit seemingly legitimate transaction instructions for a financial institution to execute. In account takeover activity, criminals access victims’ accounts and are able to directly execute transactions without submitting transaction instructions.2


While BEC and EAC schemes have unique aspects, as noted below, both focus on using compromised e-mail accounts to mislead financial institutions and their customers into conducting unauthorized wire transfers. Both BEC and EAC schemes can be broken down into three stages:

Stage One - Compromising Victim Information and Email Accounts

Criminals first unlawfully access a victim’s e-mail account through social engineering3 or computer intrusion techniques. Criminals subsequently exploit the victim’s e-mail account to obtain information on the victim’s financial institutions, account details, contacts, and related information.

Stage Two - Transmitting Fraudulent Transaction Instructions

Criminals then use the victim’s stolen information to e-mail fraudulent wire transfer instructions to the financial institution in a manner appearing to be from the victim. To this end, criminals will use either the victim’s actual e-mail account they now control or create a fake e-mail account resembling the victim’s e-mail.

Stage Three - Executing Unauthorized Transactions

Criminals trick the victim’s employee or financial institution into conducting wire transfers that appear legitimate but are, in fact, unauthorized. The fraudulent transaction instructions direct the wire transfers to the criminals’ domestic or foreign bank accounts. Banks in Asia—particularly in China and Hong Kong—are common destinations for these fraudulent transactions.



If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact a banking representative for further information.


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UPDATED MARCH 2016  Important Debit Card information if you're traveling out of the United States   UPDATED MARCH 2016


During any time of year, NorthSide Community Bank and the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) want consumers to have the information they need before they leave home to keep their money safe.


Financial professionals agree that the safest and most convenient way to travel with your money is to take a small amount of cash with you. It’s also a good idea to carry a debit, credit or ATM card. These cards are convenient while traveling because they are easy to carry, easy to use and often offer the lowest fees and the best exchange rates.


However, travelers still need to plan ahead to be prepared. To help, we offer these tips to consumers about what they need to take care of before they take off:


  • Let us know when and where you will be traveling to avoid account holds or transaction rejections when out-of-the-ordinary transactions are presented for processing or posted.
  • If you're traveling overseas, keep in mind that ATMs in many countries only accept four-digit personal identification numbers (PINs) and some countries have keyboards with numbers only, while others do not acknowledge zeros. Ask your community bank if you should create a new PIN for your account before you take your trip.
  • Carry a back-up card that you keep in a separate place. Families or couples may get even greater back-up coverage if each person takes a different card.
  • Make copies of all the cards you’ll be carrying. Be sure to copy the front and back of the card. Take a copy with you and give a copy to someone you trust back home. Be sure to also include the security code for the card and the customer service phone number.
  • Bring a list of emergency phone numbers, but remember, 800 numbers can only be used in the United States and Canada. Be sure to get a number for your bank that you can call if you’re out of the country.
  • Check your balance before you leave. Know the limits on how much you can withdraw. Save all your receipts.
  • Thoroughly check any ATMs that you use; fraudsters are increasingly altering the facades of ATMs in an effort to capture card data.  Ensure the card reader does not look tampered with and pull on it to ensure it’s not a layover.


For your protection against debit card fraud, NorthSide Community Bank has restricted transactions originating in countries with a high level of fraudulent transaction.


Click here to see a listing of restricted countries. If you are traveling to one or more of these countries just call us first!






Expense Tracking Comes to NorthSide



 Community Puzzle

You now can track your expenses with new features added to our internet banking product.  Check out the new features for yourself or contact a banker for more information.



Click Here to learn about the expiration of the Temporary Full FDIC Insurance Coverage for Noninterest-Bearing Transaction Accounts.