Featured Safety Tip
We’re excited to announce we’ll be adding Text Fraud Alerts as part of our debit card protection program in the coming weeks. Keeping your account safe and secure is our highest priority. You’ll soon begin receiving text alerts when suspicious activity is detected on...
By James Owen Editor’s note: This is one in a series of blog posts to critically examine how poverty is defined, measured, and talked about, and how those conversations influence public policy. If you’ve been keeping up with our series on poverty, it should be...
Frequently Asked Questions
Go to the new Frequently Asked Questions page.
Reporting Online and Email Fraud
Suspect you are a victim of online fraud?
- To report a suspicious email that uses Southern Bancorp’s name, forward it to us immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- To learn more about online fraud and prevention, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s ID Theft website .
- To report fraudulent activity not associated with Online Banking, please call your local police department immediately to report the incident.
To report fraudulent activity within Online Banking:
- Contact us immediately
- Visit your nearest Southern Bancorp location
Avoiding Identity Theft
Identity Theft is a growing area of concern in the digital age. We take your identity protection very seriously, but there are some steps required on your end as well. Check your accounts often for any unauthorized or fraudulent activity, and check your credit report at least annually. You are entitled to a free credit report; you can request that at AnnualCreditReport.com. If you notice any discrepancy or have any other questions, you can contact us or visit these government-sponsored websites:
- Arkansas Attorney General ID Theft – http://gotyourbackarkansas.org/identity
- Mississippi Attorney General ID Theft – http://www.ago.state.ms.us/victims/identity-theft/
Be very careful when giving out personal or account information. For instance, if the bank contacts you, we will never ask for your full name, account number, or social security number; however, if you contact the bank, we may ask a few verification questions to ensure that we are talking to the correct person.
Safe Internet Banking
In today’s society, technology is being used to make life easier; unfortunately, this also leads to more chances for fraudsters to maliciously use your information. We have safeguards in place to protect your information, but there are steps you can take to minimize any risk:
- Never give out your username or password to anyone. This includes saving your login credentials to your browser or PC, as this often leads to hacking as well.
- Use a complex password. Currently, our online banking requires 8 characters with at least one number. We recommend using a password that has both upper and lower case letters, as well as numbers or symbols ( ! @ # $ etc.).
- Update your PC software and Anti-Virus/Malware protection regularly. Many attacks come from exploits in your operating system, browser, or other programs on your computer—by updating these regularly, you will minimize the risk of someone gaining unauthorized access to your information. If you do not have an anti-virus program on your computer, Microsoft has compiled a list of reputable vendors here.
We recommend commercial (business) customers perform a periodic Risk Assessments to evaluate technology risks and mitigation controls. In the risk assessment, you should analyze virus and malware vulnerabilities, software update procedures, PC administrative access, employee education in regards to scams and phishing techniques, physical security of devices with sensitive information, and other technology risks. Mitigation controls could include, but are not limited to, anti-virus and anti-malware software, firewall protections, automatic updating of vulnerable software (including Operating System), employee education, and user access restrictions. If you need advice on safeguarding your systems, you can contact the bank and ask for the Information Security department.
Mobile banking has become a part of everyday life for many people, offering convenience and functionality in the palm of your hand. Southern Bancorp mobile banking is secure, but it is important to protect your phone against viruses and malware by using appropriate anti-virus apps, and never installing apps from untrusted sources. In addition, avoid “Jailbreaking” or “Rooting” your phone, as this will allow rogue apps and malware easier access to your device. Finally, password protect your device (on boot up or unlock) to prevent unauthorized access.
Calls, Emails, and Texts
When the bank needs to contact you, we will call, mail, or send a secure message via online banking. If we need to call you, we will never ask for your account information. Additionally, we will never send unsecured emails or texts asking for account information. If you are contacted by an entity claiming to be Southern Bancorp or our affiliate and asked to verify private information, be very cautious. “Phishing” is a common tactic used by fraudsters that involves impersonating a bank employee to try to gain information from a customer for fraudulent use. If in doubt, do not give any information and call the bank directly, either your local branch or our customer service number: 1-800-789-3428
Currently, we have an opt-in service that allows us to text customers their End of Day balance and daily transactions. Any other texts received can be considered fraudulent and should be deleted immediately.
Social media is a growing part of our lives, and is something to consider regarding banking security. Any information submitted to the site, including private messages, should be considered public information. Be careful not to post pictures that may contain personal information, such as personalized checks or debit cards.
Safe Debit Card Practices
Debit cards are a great way to pay for your purchases online and in stores. Here are some ways you can safeguard against debit card fraud:
- Do not keep your card and your PIN together; if possible, memorize your PIN and do not write it down.
- Keep your card within your sight at all times. It is very easy for a fraudster to swipe your card in his or her own card reader, gaining all the information contained in the magnetic strip.
- When shopping online, use a credit card if possible. Your debit card is linked directly to your checking account—if it is compromised, your funds are directly affected. Disputes are much easier with a credit card, and your money has not been stolen.
- Be aware of your surroundings when at the ATM. Look for out of place attachments, such as a hidden camera, or skimming device. Skimming devices may look out of place, or be loosely connected to the functional part of the payment machine. These devices are fairly sophisticated, and will allow your transaction to process, but save your information for the skimmer to pick up later. If you are in doubt, try moving the card reader—if there is a skimmer attached, it may come off with very little force. For more information, visit this US Secret Service document: Skimming Fraud. Also check to see if there could be a tiny camera hidden anywhere nearby to record the PIN number you enter. If you believe there could be, place some object between you and the suspected camera location as you enter your PIN.
- Southern Bancorp continuously monitors its debit cards for possible fraud, so we may call you to verify whether you conducted certain transactions. If we do contact you, we will not ask for any personal or confidential information; we will only ask if you attempted the transactions that appeared to be fraudulent.
Understanding FDIC Deposit Insurance Coverage
Since Southern Bancorp Bank is an FDIC-insured institution, it means that your qualifying deposits are insured by the federal government. And when your money is FDIC insured, you can’t lose a penny, no matter what. But as with any insurance, there are coverage limits and requirements that must be met.
To help you determine your insurance coverage, you can use an easy-to-use online FDIC tool called EDIE The Estimator. A few minutes with EDIE can give you endless peace of mind. You’ll know if the money you have in your Southern Bancorp Bank deposit accounts is fully protected or if any accounts exceed coverage limits.
Using EDIE is easy. Just click the button below to get started. To save time, have a list of your deposit accounts and the amount you have in each. If you have joint accounts or trust accounts that name beneficiaries, have those names, too. To check business accounts, you will need the business name and Employer Identification Number (EIN).
To ensure your privacy, Southern Bancorp Bank does not allow EDIE access to any personal or account information, nor will EDIE store any of the information you provide. No information is sent over the Internet.
General Customer Information
The United States government has established a website to help spread awareness of how to be safe and secure online. That website address is: http://www.onguardonline.gov You will find many helpful resources on avoiding scams and securing your computer and other internet-related safeguards.
NEW! FDIC Consumer News A Bank Customer’s Guide to Cybersecurity. This guide was published by the FDIC to help consumers protect themselves from identity theft and online fraud. You can download it here:
How We Gather Information
As part of providing financial products or services, we may obtain information about our customers and consumers from the following sources:
- Information we receive from you on applications, emails, or other forms
- Information about your transactions with us, our affiliates, and others
- Information we receive from a consumer-reporting agency
Information that is generated electronically when you visit our website’s Internet Banking services
Southern and/or our Internet Banking service provider(s) (“Southern Bancorp”) may collect general information on our Virtual Branch visitors simply to help us provide banking and other financial services to you online. They collect certain information on our behalf for security and statistical purposes. The information collected for these purposes may include:
- The Internet address (referral site) which brought you to our web site
- The date and time you access our site
- The name and version of your web browser
- The Internet service provider you used when you accessed our site
- Your Internet Protocol (IP) address
- The pages visited in our website
Privacy of Children
Southern Bancorp respects the privacy of children. We do not use the web to collect and gather names or any other personally identifiable information from children. We do have products that teach children to save, but we do not allow children to open accounts online.
Internet Protocol (IP) Addresses
An IP address is a number that’s automatically assigned to your computer or internet-facing device whenever you’re on the Internet. Web servers, the computers that “serve up” Web pages, can automatically identify your computer by its IP address. When collecting information, Southern Bancorp does not normally link IP addresses to anything personally identifiable, which means that a user’s session will be logged, but the user remains anonymous. Southern may use IP addresses to audit the use of our site. Southern can and will use IP addresses to identify a user when necessary for security purposes.
What is a Cookie?
A cookie is a very small text file sent by a web server and stored on your hard drive, your computer’s memory, or in your browser so that it can be read back later. Cookies cannot “read” information about you from your computer or be used to “steal” information about you, and cookies don’t generally carry viruses. Cookies are a basic way for a server to identify you (most cookies actually identify the computer you happen to be using at the time, not you personally). Cookies are used for many things from personalizing start up pages to facilitating online purchases. Cookies help sites recognize return visitors and they perform a very important function when you engage in secure Internet banking. For your security, we do not store any of your personal information in our cookies. For Internet Banking purposes, Southern Bancorp uses encrypted cookies. This Internet banking cookie allows Southern Bancorp to process multiple transactions during your session without requiring you to reenter your pass code for each individual transaction. In addition, it helps identify you as a returning user next time you log on. The cookies for Internet banking simply provide another level of security for our Internet banking product. Southern Bancorp does not (and cannot) use this cookie to collect or obtain new personal information about you. You must allow your browser to accept this cookie so you can use the Internet banking system.
Disclosure of Information
We do not disclose any nonpublic personal information about our customers, former customers, or website visitors to anyone, except as permitted or required by law.
External 3rd Party Links
Our website may have numerous links to other 3rd party sites. These links to external third parties are offered as a courtesy and a convenience to our customers. We do NOT have access to the information collected by any third party website, nor can we control how they use this information. If you have questions or concerns about the privacy policies and practices of these third parties, please review their websites and contact them directly.
Online Security – further reading
Southern Bancorp has developed security policies and procedures to protect your confidential information when using our online banking systems. This multi-factor authentication meets or exceeds regulatory guidance and recommendations using technologies like: Secure Socket Layering Protocol, Access ID verification and Password verification, Digital Certificates, Out-of-Wallet questions, and out of band security codes. For more information on how to safely use the online products, please visit our online banking education pages at our Customer Information page.
If you believe any information that Southern Bancorp has collected about you has been used for an improper purpose; we want to hear from you. Explain your concerns in as much detail as possible so that we may take appropriate action.
Excessive and Luxury Expenditures Policy
This policy fulfills the requirements under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) enacted February 17, 2009. ARRA requires each recipient of funds under the Capital Purchase Program (CPP) of the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) to have in place a company-wide policy regarding excessive or luxury expenditures, as identified by the Secretary of the Department of the U.S. Treasury.
Southern Bancorp (Company) prohibits excessive or luxury expenditures on entertainment and events, office or facility renovations, aviation or other transportation services or other activities or events that are not reasonable expenditures for conferences, staff development, reasonable performance incentives or other similar measures conducted in the normal course of business operations of Southern Bancorp.
All employees of Southern Bancorp, including subsidiaries and affiliate companies, are subject to this Excessive and Luxury Expenditures Policy and will be held accountable for compliance with the Policy.
Renovations of facilities and office spaces should be relative to the approved project and current profit, and tracked within the capital expenditure policy of the Company. An exception to this can be allowed if management must deal with an emergency situation, such as an act of nature, and the expenditure is necessary to make the facility operational for customer use.
All expenditures for facilities and renovations shall be paid by invoice and approved by the appropriate level of senior management relative to the cost of the project.
At no time should renovations be done that would have the appearance of being extraordinary, or excessive from a shareholder perspective.
Entertainment is defined as an activity for which an Employee or Executive would use corporate funds for business development purposes relating to a current customer(s) or prospective customer(s) or to further enhance the company’s marketing efforts.
Our expectation is that all expenses incurred to the Company would be for company purposes, and used to drive business to the Company. Occasional events such as taking customers or prospects on trips, playing golf, eating dinner, taking them to other events the customer/prospect would find pleasurable is a necessary part of the Company’s marketing efforts and is not deemed as “entertainment” or a violation of the Excessive and Luxury Expenditures Policy. These expenses should be documented and detailed as to the benefit derived by the Company through the normal accounts payable process. Expenses not approved as necessary and/or appropriate for business development will not be reimbursed.
We encourage our staff to attend conferences that are appropriate educational opportunities and have a direct correlation to their job. At times it may be appropriate that a spouse would travel to these conferences with Company attendees. Typically these conferences are sponsored by venders, banking associations, non-profit associations, or other industry related entities.
Employee registration for conferences and other educational events is subject to approval by a Regional CEO, the SBB CEO, the SBI CEO or the SBI CFO.
Travel Reimbursement for Spouses
An employee on routine business, accompanied by a spouse or any other person who is not an employee of the Corporation, will not be reimbursed for the spouse’s portion of the airfare, meals, or the excess of the double occupancy rate over the single occupancy rate. These expenses are considered personal expenses of the employee. The only exception to this rule is a business event whereby the spouse is included.
We feel that employee recognition/holiday parties are part of an employee appreciation process. These events should be local in geographic nature, and would include costs for such things as service awards and nominal door prizes. An event should not cost the sponsoring business unit more than an average day’s payroll per employee.
Board Retreats should only be used for educational purposes, and should be kept in consideration, and looked at in the same view and discretion as all other expenses. Board education is a vital part of maintaining and keeping a dynamic director base, and this policy should not limit the retreat that is focused on strategic planning or education.
Events and Parties focused on Customers for the purpose of attracting their business would not fall under this policy.
Transportation for Company staff to outlying locations, including bank locations, conferences, business development purposes, and merger and acquisition research, should be conducted in the most cost appropriate way for the Company. Modes of transportation to be used may consist of vehicle, commercial air or rail service. The selection of transportation services will factor in cost, efficiency, and timeliness of travel. Private air services less than or equal to $5,000 per year require approval from the SBI CEO, SBI CFO or SBB CEO. Private air services in excess of $5,000 per year require the prior approval from the Chairman of the SBI Board of Directors. The SBI CEO and the SBI CFO shall maintain all requisite documentation in file.
The SBI CFO is responsible for the day-to-day administration of this Policy, the SBI CEO is accountable for overall adherence to this Policy, the SBI CEO must approve any exceptions and the SBI CEO shall promptly report any exceptions to the Board of Directors. Strict adherence to this Policy is mandated for all Company employees.
This Policy, and any amendments hereto, shall be posted on the Company’s Intranet website and provided to the Treasury and the Federal Reserve.
ACH and Electronic Transactions
Many merchants today will accept ACH (automated clearing house) and electronic transactions to pay bills and conduct business online. This is different than using a debit or credit card online, as you are giving that merchant your bank account number, usually alongside other confidential information. It is important to verify the integrity of the merchant involved by reading the End-User License Agreement (EULA) and understanding how that company will protect your information, and if they will contact you in case of a security breach. As a consumer, you are also protected from unauthorized electronic transactions under the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Regulation E. Business accounts are not covered under Regulation E.
Southern Bancorp offers our Overdraft Privilege Program for those occasions when there are not sufficient funds in your account to pay a recently completed transaction. In those cases, Southern will advance funds, creating an “overdraft” or a negative balance in your account. The overdraft is typically repaid with your next deposit.
The amount of overdraft privilege granted will vary depending on account activity such as deposit regularity and balance information. This activity will be monitored and overdraft limits will be adjusted accordingly. To qualify for items to be paid under this program, your account must be in good standing at the time the item is presented.
There is no need to apply for this program. You will automatically be enrolled in the program. If you do not desire overdraft privilege on any transactions on your account, you may call us at 800-789-3428 or contact your local branch staff to ask to be excluded from this program. Exclusion from the program will result in all items that are insufficient being returned with a return item fee of $31.50 per item.
What You Need to Know about Overdrafts and Overdraft Fees
An overdraft occurs when you do not have enough money in your account to cover a transaction, but we pay it anyway. We can cover your overdrafts in two different ways:
- Standard overdraft privilege.
- Overdraft protection plans such as a link to a savings account or a line of credit, which may be less expensive than our standard overdraft practices. To learn more, ask us about these plans.
We authorize and pay overdrafts for the following types of transactions:
- Checks and other transactions made using your checking account number
- Automatic bill payments
We do not authorize and pay overdrafts for the following types of transactions unless you “opt-in” (See Below):
- ATM Transactions
- Everyday Debit Card transactions
We pay overdrafts at our discretion, which means we do not guarantee that we will always authorize and pay any type of transaction. If we do not authorize and pay an overdraft, your transactions will be declined.
What fees will I be charged if Southern Bancorp pays my overdraft?
Under our standard overdraft practices:
- We will charge you a fee of $31.50 each time we pay an overdraft.
- There is a limit of seven (7) charges per day for overdrawing your account.
Contact us today for more information.