9 Tips To Avoid Card Fraud This Holiday Season from State Bank of Cross Plains
Kim Schaller, Card Services Officer

Americans are expected to fire up their cards this holiday season, spending hundreds of billions of dollars over the last two months of the year. 

Following a year of data breaches at many well-known retailers and eateries consumers clearly have cause for concern.

As sneaky as thieves can be in stealing card information, consumers can do a lot to protect themselves simply by exercising a little common sense.  Here are 9 tips to keep you safe.

1. Practice basic credit card security
When you get a new card in the mail, it’s important to sign the back right away. Do not to store you PIN in the same place as your card; if your card gets stolen, you don’t want a thief to have the PIN as well.

2. Keep your account number private
There are a number of ways thieves can get their hands on your credit card number. To prevent this:
Keep your card private. Don’t let anyone see it when you’re out in public
Don’t give your card information over the phone unless you initiated the call and you’re talking to a bank or merchant you trust.
Never answer an email that asks for your account number or personal information, even if it looks like it’s from your bank or a reputable company or organization.
Consider paperless statements and making payments online to remove your sensitive information from the postal system.

3. Keep your information current
Notify your bank if you move; you want to make sure your statements and other information follow you to your new address and don’t end up in anyone else’s hands. Be sure to periodically check to make sure financial institutions have your correct phone number and email address on file.  This way, if anything goes wrong, you can be contacted quickly. 

4. Be careful with your receipts
If you have extra space on your receipt, draw a line through it so no one can add in any additional charges or amounts. It’s also a good idea to check your receipts against your billing statements to make sure everything adds up.  Shred receipts you don’t need and securely file the rest.

5. Secure your devices and networks
When securing your digital information, there are a few best practices to follow:
Make sure your computer is equipped with a firewall. Be sure to change the password and keep the firewall turned on.
Download and install updates to your operating system, software and browser when prompted. These updates tend to include the most up-to-date security features.
Install security software. The two most common types are antivirus, which protects your computer from malicious code, and anti-spyware, which keeps people from monitoring your activity.  Even if you have a security software, avoid downloading programs or files from unknown places.

6. Protect yourself online
Online shopping is more popular than ever, which means it’s more important than ever to protect your information online. Try to shop at established businesses that you can contact easily if there’s an issue.  Look for sites with https: in their web address – the “s” stands for secured. Don’t just follow links from emails that you’re getting from a store that you’ve never heard of before.  Make sure you check policies on payment, refunds, returns, and shipping.  Finally, be sure to keep copies of any confirmation codes or receipts.  Using your smartphone to shop online or conduct other financial activities?  Make sure your mobile devices are password – or fingerprint – protected.  Your phone should also be equipped with security software, just like your desktop computer.

7. Keep your passwords secret
A good password is complex and combines letters and numbers – the longer the better. Avoid using details that are easy to guess (family member names or birthdays) or important information (like bank account or Social Security numbers).  Change passwords periodically and pick different ones for every account – don’t use the same password for your bank account and retail sites. Don’t check that box that says to remember your info.  If your log-in account or computer is compromised, the bad guys now have your credit card info, too!

8. Check your account often
Reviewing your recent account activity is fundamental to card safety- and it’s easy. You can do it online or by phone.  If your card issuer offers email or text alerts about unusual activity, sign up to receive them.  If you’ve been a victim of fraud or identity theft in the past, consider signing up with a credit-monitoring service.  Learn more about the State Bank of Cross Plains CardValet and set up your fraud alerts today.

9. Report lost cards and suspected fraud right away
If you lose your card or suspect fraudulent activity, contact your bank or card issuer right away. Your card issuer can block your card and account number so no one else can use them, then give you a new card and account number.  Remember: Speed is critical.  The State Bank of Cross Plains offers Instant Issue cards at our Cross Plains, Verona, Madison, Middleton West, Waunakee, and Mount Horeb location. 

Monona Bank and Middleton Community Bank to Finalize Merger

Monona Bank expects to complete their data integration of Middleton Community Bank over the weekend to become one bank. Beginning June 12, 2017, all five former Middleton Community Bank branches will begin operating as Monona Bank locations.

Monona Bank President & CEO Paul Hoffmann feels that “merging our two banks made good sense for many reasons, especially since both banks were locally owned and shared similar management philosophies and a dedication to growing their communities.” He believes that “people may be surprised to learn about all the banking options Monona Bank has as one of the largest banks chartered in the State of Wisconsin.”

Hoffmann added that “now that our banks are fully integrated, our combined bank will offer increased services and locations while retaining the same knowledgeable advisors our clients at both banks are familiar with.” The merger also gives Monona Bank the opportunity to serve the agricultural market through the addition of several experienced Ag lenders to our team.

No positions were lost as a result of the merger. Monona Bank employs more than 150 associates at nine locations around the Madison area. All five former Middleton Community Bank locations in Middleton, Cross Plains, Belleville, Sauk City and Brooklyn remain open, as well all four Monona Bank locations in Monona, Madison and Cottage Grove.

Monona State Bank’s headquarters will remain in Monona with more than $835 million in assets by the end of Q2/2017.

About Monona State Bank (www.mononabank.com) Monona State Bank is a locally owned and managed bank that believes “together, we prosper.” Founded in 1991, it is committed to making communities great places to live, work and raise a family.

Cross Plains Area EMS to celebrate 40 years of service
Those who showed up at the original interest meeting for the Cross Plains Area EMS back in 1977 looked at the inside of a new EMT training ambulance.
This year, 2017, marks 40 years of service for the Cross Plains Area EMS (Emergency Medical Services). The organization was formed back in 1977 after an initial interest meeting was held in February of that year, and the organization covers the Village of Cross Plains, the T...own of Cross Plains, and the Town of Berry.
In honor of National EMS Week (May 21-27) and their 40th anniversary, Cross Plains Area EMS will be having a celebration at Culver's, located at 2523 Main Street in Cross Plains, on Saturday, May 20 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. where you can meet the EMTs, tour the ambulance, and get an equipment demonstration. Read more.


State Bank of Cross Plains President & CEO, Jim Tubbs, was among the honorees at the In Business Magazine, 2017 Executive of the Year Awards reception February 15th at the Overture Center for the Arts.  Congratulations, Jim, on this well-deserved recognition!  Read the full article here.

Nissenbaum and Schleusner PRO Physical Therapy celebrate moving to 1118 Main St., Suite A, Cross Plains, WI 53528, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony performed by the Cross Plains Area Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Nissenbaum and Schleusner PRO Physical Therapy is an outpatient orthopedic and sports medicine clinic taking care of patients of all ages. We focus on manual therapy treatment and advanced therapeutic exercise. Our mission is to provide exceptional customer care and timely service. We offer immediate appointments and will see you within 24-48 hours

At PRO Physical Therapy our focus is on YOU the patient. We take great pride in seeing you, getting to know you and your family and working on your goals to help you in getting back to your life. Our patient-centered plans include a thorough examination and individual treatment plan.

PRO Physical Therapy is led by Dave Nissenbaum MPT, PT, OCS, LAT, PES and Jeff Schleusner DPT, CSCS, MBA. Dave and Jeff combined have over 25 years of experience of taking exceptional care of patients.

Crossroads Coffeehouse celebrates 10 years of business in Cross Plains
Celebratory events to be held January 4, 5, and 6­­

Crossroads Coffeehouse has been a mainstay in downtown Cross Plains for the past 10 years, opening up on January 2, 2007, and in honor of that milestone, Crossroads will be having several fun events on Wednesday, Jan. 4 through Friday, Jan. 6 including a party on Friday night.
"Over the years, it (Crossroads) has layers of meanings," said owner Mary Devitt. "I wanted to create a space people felt comfortable in and stayed at. I also wanted to share things with customers that I loved. I had no preconceived notion of how it'd be filled and become the place that it is."
While 10 years may have passed, Devitt explained that not much has changed in Crossroads. She had thought about expanding, but decided that that would take away from the main mission of Crossroads: to have really good coffee.
"The whole thing started as an experiment: Can I have a place where I offer good quality, fair trade, locally made items and pay a fair wage and still make it go?" she explained. "I've found that it's doable and sustainable. I think the main thing is to keep it simple and do what you love. To me, Crossroads is like inviting people into my living room." Read the full article here.

Happy Anniversary to Saeman Lumber!!
Saeman Lumber Company celebrates 140 years of business

Not many businesses can claim being in operation for 100 years, but Saeman Lumber Company of Cross Plains celebrated that milestone back in 1976 and is still going strong 40 years later.
The company was started back in 1876 by Louis Saeman, who came to the United States of American in 1868 from Baden, Germany. He worked for a lumberyard for a year in Newark, N.J. where he became knowle...dgeable about the lumber business.
The lumber business in Cross Plains started after Louis purchased some piles of raw lumber from a non-resident of the local area and opened up shop. Read the full article here.

Dane County Executive, Joe Parisi announced the proposed 2017 budget. It is appropriately titled "an investment for our future." In this budget proposal, the county executive would like to offer unique partnerships with local land owners, local units of government, and constituencies to create safe corridors to recreate, enjoy the beauty of our area, commute between our municipalities safely, and develop our communities for the future.
Creating the "Black Earth Creek Connection Fund" allows matching grant dollars for local communities to access through the county to assist in development of this recreational corridor. Our northwest region of Dane county is rich in heritage, unique land and rock formations, beautiful rich farmland, and is an untapped resource to the wider regional community and beyond.
The Cross Plains Area Chamber of Commerce proudly participated in the public announcement of this fund today at the head of the Wolf Run Trail in Mazomanie with Dane County Executive, Joe Parisi, and Nikki Jones, Dane County Supervisor.​​

Check out Madison Magazine Banking and investing resolutions for the New Year article. Our Own Jim Tubbs from State Bank of Cross Plains shares his perspective.

The Cross Plains Area Chamber of Commerce was thankful to be included in the Veridian Homes celebration November 15, 2016. We congratulate Veridian Homes on this new development. We welcome them to our business community that is dedicated to making the Cross Plains area one of the top communities in which to live and work.

Cross Plains, WI – Veridian Homes is breaking ground on its newest community, Glacier Ridge, in Cross Plains and is celebrating with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, November 15 at 3pm. The ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at the Glacier Ridge entrance and will be open to the public.
Glacier Ridge is located just behind Glacier Creek Middle School off of Military Road and Evergreen Parkway. There are proposed plans for a neighboring community civic/recreation/athletic facility. There are also several proposed walking trails and a sledding hill.
Local leaders are seeing this development as a positive sign for the Village of Cross Plains.
“This is exceptional news,” said Chamber Board Vice President Casey Koenig. “It’s exciting to see Veridian breaking ground on a new community in our beloved Cross Plains.”
Veridian Homes began preliminary construction on the Glacier Ridge development this summer. Pricing for the first phase of homesites in Glacier Ridge was released in October; homes are expected to be in the range of $290,000 to just over $500,000.
“We are thrilled to be able to work with the Village of Cross Plains to develop this spectacular community,” said John Maasch, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Veridian Homes. “The area is surrounded by a beautiful park system, and its topography is wonderful. We have confidence that our home buyers will love this piece of land.”
Veridian representatives will be on-hand at the ribbon cutting ceremony with neighborhood and home plan information.
Veridian Homes is a nationally-recognized, award-winning Wisconsin-based home builder and member of the Madison Area Builders Association, with customer satisfaction scores of 98 percent. Veridian Homes was recognized, in 2016, as the Gold Recipient for the National Housing Quality Award presented by Professional Builder Magazine. 

Energy Director Neal Bickler said the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District has saved more than $3.3 million in energy costs over the past 12 years.
He told the Board at its regular meeting on Oct. 24 that the District would have spent nearly $14.9 million since 2004 without the program but instead has spent $11.5 million, a savings of more than 22 percent. He also announced that all 10 District schools will receive Energy Star awards from the Environmental Protection Energy.

Cross Plains Welcomed into the State’s Downtown Revitalization Program

 CROSS PLAINS, WI. July 12, 2016 The Cross Plains Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce the Village of Cross Plains has been accepted into the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC)’s Connect Communities Program, an initiative that works with communities to advance downtown and urban corridor revitalization efforts.

Cross Plains is one of 15 communities around the state that have been added to the program this year, bringing the total number of participants to 67.

The Connect Communities Program, which was launched in January of 2013, provides access to resources and training to help communities pursue revitalization and redevelopment efforts. In its first two years, participating communities have reported adding 175 net new businesses and more than 550 jobs, as well as $30 million in private investment.

“WEDC congratulates the Village of Cross Plains for being accepted into this program,” said Mark Hogan, secretary and CEO of WEDC. “A vibrant downtown is key to the overall economic health of the community, and we applaud Cross Plains for taking this step toward making its business district even stronger.”

“We have high hopes for the success of the all new Connect Communities members,” added WEDC Regional Economic Development Director Jason Scott. “We have heard from communities around the state that this program has provided them with the guidance and assistance they need as they continue to strengthen their downtowns.”

Cross Plains Chamber Executive Director Amy Hansen states, “As the Chamber Business Development Committee continues the work to promote new businesses to the chamber area and assist existing businesses in their growth, we are confident that the partnership, tools, and resources available through this program will be an asset to our development.”

Connect Communities participants benefit from a variety of assistance and resources simply by being part of a broad-based network of communities with similar objectives, but specific program services include:
A ListServ/network group to get new ideas from staff and other participating Connect Communities
Participation in Main Street workshops focused on a downtown revitalization topic
An on-site visit from a member of WEDC’s community development staff to assist in identifying needs and offering assistance
Training for downtown director or board president
Roundtable discussion groups on pertinent topics
Access to WEDC’s downtown development online library
Access to resources and training materials developed for Wisconsin Main Street communities
Invitation to the annual Main Street Awards program, plus eligibility to nominate a project for a Connect Communities award
Quarterly webinars/regional training
In order to be admitted to the program, each applicant had to explain the type of activities or assistance they hope to undertake, and had to identify a local team that will be responsible for carrying out activities and participating in program events and training.

"Promoting a strong economy and high quality of life for our Chamber members and the Cross Plains area communities."

GET INVOLVED TODAY!  Community Involvement ~ Business Development ~ Communication ~ Networking