Sadly, fraud is all too common in our world today and personal information is more vulnerable than ever. Anyone who uses the internet is a potential target for fraudsters. It’s not always easy to identify online fraud but knowing how to protect yourself against cybercrime can be your number one defensive measure. The tips below provide basic information on how you can keep yourself and computer safe.
- Avoid clicking on links inside of emails.
- Never open attachments unless you know the contents of the file. If you do not know the sender or are not expecting the attachment, delete it.
- Be suspicious of any email / text message / phone call with urgent requests for personal financial information.
- Don’t use the links in an email / text message to get to any web page, if you suspect the message might not be authentic. Don’t use the contact information in a suspect phone call requesting information – instead initiate the call yourself using known contact information.
- Ignore anything that comes by unsolicited email or as a pop-up such as contests, invitations to join a club, insurance, vacations, or other offers.
- Avoid filling out forms in email messages that ask for personal financial information. Do not provide your User ID, security word, PIN number, password, or other personal identifying information in an email.
- Always ensure that you’re using a secure web site when submitting credit card or other sensitive information via your Web browser. It should start with https:// which means that it uses encryption to protect your data.
- Use a unique password for each website, especially sensitive accounts.
- Enable two-step verification for sensitive websites and services.
- Only access the internet through a known, trusted and secure connection.
Did You Know?
You are personally responsible for the checks and money orders you deposit, not the financial institution. This is because you are in the best position to determine how risky the transaction is since you are dealing directly with the person issuing the payment.
Protect Yourself and Your Money
If you can answer “yes” to any of the following questions, you could be involved in a fraud or about to be scammed!
- Is the CHECK from an item you sold on the Internet, such as a car, boat, jewelry, etc?
- Is the amount of the CHECK more than the item’s selling price?
- Did you receive the CHECK via an overnight delivery service?
- Is the CHECK connected to communicating with someone by email?
- Are you receiving PAY or a COMMISSION for facilitating money transfers through your account?
- Have you been asked to PAY money to receive a deposit from another country such as Canada, England, or Nigeria?
- Have you been instructed to “WIRE”, “SEND”, OR “SHIP” MONEY, as soon as possible, to a large U.S. city or to another country, such as Canada, England, or Nigeria?
- Have you been informed that you were the winner of a LOTTERY, such as Canadian, Australian, El Gordo, or El Mundo, which you did not enter?
- Is the CHECK drawn on a business or individual account that is different from the person buying your item or product?
- Did you respond to an email requesting you to CONFIRM, UPDATE, OR PROVIDE your account information?
Types of Account Fraud include Checking, Credit Card, ATM
Account fraud is one of the fastest growing crimes in the nation. Home Federal Bank has safeguards to help prevent and detect account fraud, but it is YOUR knowledge, awareness and alertness that are the most important first lines of defense in preventing fraud.
Common Fraud Scams
- Telemarketing Fraud
- Nigerian Letter or “419” Fraud
- Identity Theft
- Advance Fee Schemes
- Health Care Fraud/Health Insurance Fraud
- Redemption/Strawman/Bond Fraud
- Letter of Credit Fraud
- Prime Bank Note Fraud
- Ponzi Schemes
- Pyramid Schemes
Minimize Your Risks to Prevent Fraud
- Protect your account & personal information – never respond to unsolicited requests for this information, whether it’s over the phone, through the mail or via the Internet.
- Online, only provide your credit card number on a secure web page, which is identified by the small lock icon (& is locked) displayed in the lower right corner of the browser.
- Use a single credit card, with low credit limit, for Internet purchases.
- Do Not Send credit card information via e-mail or instant messenger – neither is secure.
- Do Not Have confidential information preprinted on your checks.
- Report any lost or stolen credit cards or checks to the issuing institution immediately.
- Shred any documents containing confidential information, including unused checks (even if the account was closed), ATM receipts and old credit card receipts, before disposal.
- Review all account and credit card statements once they are received to determine that no account irregularities are apparent.
- Notify your bank if newly ordered checks or your regular statements do not arrive in a timely manner. A missing statement may mean someone has changed your billing address to prevent you from seeing fraudulent transactions.
- Deposit outgoing mail directly into post office boxes, not in your own mailbox. If you are going on vacation, place a delivery hold on your mail.
- Carry a minimum number of ID and credit cards. Do not carry your social security card, PIN numbers or passwords in your wallet or purse and make copies of all items that you do carry.
- Cancel and destroy any credit cards that you don’t need or use. View your credit report at least once a year.
For More Information Visit the FBI Fraud Center
- Monitor and review your banking account and statements. Regularly log into your online accounts and check your financial, credit and debit card statements to ensure that all transactions are legitimate.
- Check for any suspicious transactions and report them immediately.
- Guard your cards carefully to make sure no one steals your numbers. Chip cards are more secure than those with only the magnetic strip, so if you haven’t already made the switch, now is a good time to do it.
- Sign the back of your debit or credit card on the signature panel as soon you receive it.
- You should also be cautious about using ATMs anywhere other than your bank. Hackers can sometimes tamper with these third-party ATMs with devices called skimmers that steal your information.
- Report lost or stolen cards immediately.
- Never give out your debit or credit card number or personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call and verified who you are dealing with.
- Never store your card numbers online. Instead, consider using a service like PayPal to avoid inputting your debit card number on a third-party website when online shopping.
- Set up alerts on your account through Online Banking so you can monitor activity even if not logging into the system.
- Install security and antivirus protection. Firewalls, antivirus, and other protection devices help keep a computer safe. These tools are important in order to protect your computer and data. A good firewall is critical if you commonly access the Internet via a wireless connection.
- Keep your operating system, browsers and other critical software optimized by installing patches and updates.
- Sign off, shut down, disconnect. Always sign off or logout from your online banking session or any other Web site that you’ve logged into using a user ID and password. When a computer is not in use, it should be shut down or disconnected from the Internet.
- Create secure backups of important data on a regular basis.
- Someone sends you a check or money order, then asks you to deposit the item into your account and wire transfer money out of your account
- Requests money using your credit or debit card number
- Asks you to purchase gift cards to send them
- Receiving notice that you have won a lottery, sweepstakes, or car
- Being asked to cash a check/money order or to allow transfer of funds to your account, and then offered to keep a percentage of the funds
- Clicking on a pop-up message that says your computer has a virus and you need to pay to fix it and they request your card number for payment
- Receiving a phone call and you are told that you owe back taxes and can pay them by purchasing gift cards from online merchants and you must send the gift cards to them
- Receiving a phone call and you are told a relative has been put in jail and you can get them out by sending them gift cards or bit coins
American Bankers Association