Fraud is a term that has become part of our everyday vocabulary.
You probably hear variations of fraud ranging from identity theft, online fraud, such as phishing and pharming, to offline fraud, including credit card, phone solicitations, print fraud, check scams, and mail fraud. You can help protect your personal information and accounts by using caution when providing confidential information. Also, by keeping yourself updated on the latest fraud alerts, you can help prevent yourself from becoming a victim.
At Bank of Bridger, N.A, the protection of all your assets – including your identity – is our top priority. There are many things you can do to help secure your identity and your accounts. Here are some definitions of the different kinds of fraud and how to protect yourself:
Identity theft is fraud committed or attempted using the identifying information of another person without authority. Identity theft is the unlawful act of capturing, transferring, and/or using one or more pieces of another person’s personal identifying information (including, but not limited to, name, address, driver’s license, date of birth, Social Security number, account information, account login credentials, government passport number, employer or taxpayer identification number, or family identifiers) and using or attempting to use that information to establish or take over a credit, deposit, or other financial account (“account”) in that person’s name.
Identity theft falls into one of two categories:
- True name fraud – Establishing (or attempting to establish) an account(s) using another person’s identity.
- Account takeover – Establishing (or attempting to establish) control of an existing account(s) without authority of the account holder. Account takeover does not include solely the posting of unauthorized transactions against an existing account, such as forged-maker signature, counterfeit, and credit card misuse.
Tips on how to help identify fraud:
- Monitor your bank statements monthly.
- Review your credit report at least once year.
You are your own best protection against fraud. By staying informed, you can help protect your identity and accounts.
How to protect yourself from Identity Theft
- Don’t include your Social Security Number or driver’s license number on sensitive documents.
- Don’t leave incoming mail lying around.
- Drop your mail in an official postal mailbox.
- Shred or destroy any junk mail before you throw it away.
- Don’t respond to unsolicited requests for personal or account information.
- Use a safe deposit box to protect important documents.
- Review your credit report at least once a year.
The most common kinds of online fraud:
- Phishing – Phishers use fraudulent emails or pop-up Web pages that appear legitimate and are designed to deceive you into sharing personal or account information.
- Pharming – Pharming occurs when you type in a Web address and it redirects you to a fraudulent Web site without your knowledge or consent. The Web site will try to look similar to the legitimate site in hopes of capturing your confidential information.
- Vishing – Vishing occurs when an email is sent asking you to call a fake phone number. The number is set up to sound like a legitimate financial institution’s phone system, prompting you to type in your 16 digit credit card number and expiration date to verify your information. Once you do that, however, you have just given the scammers all they need to have access to your account.
How to protect yourself from online fraud:
- Look beyond the logo. To make fraudulent emails or Web sites appear real, scammers often include actual logos and images of legitimate companies. They also convey a sense of urgency, stating that if you fail to provide, update, or verify your personal or account information, access to your accounts will be suspended. It’s important that you look beyond the logo and not give out your information.
- Use your spam filter. Many email services now have spam filters that minimize the amount of spam you receive. The filters can help you minimize the number of fraudulent emails in your inbox.
- Type, don’t click. Even if you do open a suspicious email, don’t click on any links. By clicking on the links, you could unknowingly download a virus or spyware to your computer. Even if you think the email is legitimate, type Web addresses into your browser instead of clicking on links. If the email is from an institution you do business with, use a bookmark that you have already created to visit the company’s Web site.
- Change your online passwords often. The rule of thumb is to change your password every 30 to 60 days. Be creative with your passwords – stay away from obvious passwords like your ZIP code, year of birth, or sensitive information such as your mother’s maiden name or your Social Security Number. Include symbols and/or upper and lower case letters so passwords cannot be easily intercepted.
- Update your anti-virus and anti-spam software. By keeping anti-virus and anti-spam software up to date on your computers, you make it more difficult for scammers to access your personal and account information. You can purchase anti-virus and anti-spyware software at major retail stores, as well as on the Internet.
- Delete emails from unknown senders with nonsensical subject lines.
Click Here to learn more on avoiding social engineering attacks
Credit Card Fraud
Credit card fraud can occur when someone takes your card and uses it without your consent. It can also happen when the card sits safely in your wallet.
How to protect yourself from credit card fraud:
- Sign your cards immediately once they arrive in the mail.
- Memorize your PIN and don’t write it on anything, especially something in your wallet.
- Don’t enter your card online unless you’re on a secure site. Don’t send your credit card number in the mail.
- Keep a record of all your account numbers, expiration dates, and contact information for each issuer. This will come in handy if your wallet is lost or stolen.
- Report a lost or stolen card right away. Quick action will minimize potential loss and liability.
- Save your receipts to compare against your billing statement. When discarding receipts, tear them up or shred them.
- Monitor your statements monthly, making sure you recognize all charges. If you see any suspicious transactions, contact the bank immediately.
- Carefully review receipts for voided transactions and be sure they do not post to your account.
- Destroy your carbons. Do not leave them behind without tearing them up.
- Don’t leave your purse, wallet, cards or receipts unattended. Always keep them secure or in your sight.
- Only carry cards that you need, leaving others in a safe place at home.
- Don’t give out your account number unless you know and trust the company.
In lieu of a signature on your credit card, write “verify signature on driver’s license.”
- Shield your hand from view of others when entering your PIN at ATMs.
Scammers will attempt to randomly call people with hopes of luring them with cash gifts or prizes in exchange for personal account information.
How to protect yourself against phone solicitation fraud:
Be wary of telephone scammers. If you receive a call from someone asking for personal and account information, call the company back using a phone number you know is legitimate.
Scammers use fraudulent contact information such as mailing addresses, phone and fax numbers and claim to be “third-party consultants.” When unsuspecting consumers contact the scammers, the callers are asked to provide their personal and account information. Scammers then tell applicants that their loans have been approved but that they first need to make an advance payment or deposit before the loans can be advanced by wire transfer.
Scammers will use local and community newspapers to publish fake advertisements with special rates and offers. If clients call, they are asked for their personal information and for an advance payment before the transaction can be completed. Always be wary of advertisements that seem too good to be true, and never provide personal or financial information over the phone to someone you don’t trust.
Scammers may deceive clients into responding to an illegitimate online or newspaper advertisement or may victimize clients by paying for goods with a stolen or counterfeit check for more than the agreed upon amount. The clients are then asked to return the overpayment either by a wire transfer or an official check.
How to protect yourself against check scams:
- Use direct deposit for paychecks, Social Security payments and other regular deposits.
- Be aware of fake check scams that promise easy money for working at home, winning sweepstakes or depositing checks from foreign countries.
- Do not leave your checkbook unattended.
- Know who you are doing business with.
- Report lost or stolen checks immediately.
Scammers may steal or tamper with your mail, and might gain personal for financial information that can be used for scams, identity theft, and more.
How to protect yourself from mail fraud:
- Shred Documents containing your personal and financial information before placing them in the trash.
- Check your mail regularly as soon as possible after it’s delivered.
- Consider using a P.O. Box for some or all of your mail, because that requires a key to access the mailbox.
- Drop your outgoing mail in an official postal mailbox.
- Report an unauthorized transactions to the Bank of Bridger, N.A. immediately.
Protecting Your Computer and Online Accounts
Protect your computers like you protect your checkbook. The following tips will help you protect your computer and your online accounts:
- Be cognizant of your surroundings when using a public computer or working on a wireless network.
- Keep your online accounts active – such as Online Banking with Bill Pay – to watch for any suspicious transactions.
- Help protect your computer and your accounts by installing anti-spyware on your computer. Anti-spyware can help prevent the collection of your personal and account information without your knowledge.
- Update your anti-virus software regularly to help protect your computer against viruses and other harmful computer codes.
- Check out these additional security tips to help protect your online banking accounts (PDF download).
- Download these additional tips and tricks on protecting your mobile devices and the online accounts you access through those devices (PDF Download).
How Scammers Obtain Your Email Address
Many scammers randomly generate email addresses – that’s why you may have received fraudulent emails that appear to be from banks you do not have an account with. They also purchase mailing lists, obtain email addresses online from Web pages, chat rooms, online auctions, and directories or from illegitimate sources.
Commercial Banking Customers
Safeguarding Your Information
At Bank of Bridger, N.A. , the security of customer information is a priority. We are strongly committed to the safety and confidentiality of your records. Every day, unscrupulous individuals are busy developing new scams targeting the unsuspecting public. One of the best ways to avoid fraud is to become an educated user.
Small to Medium sized business and government banking accounts are being targeted by criminals every day.
Every security system in place today can and has been compromised by criminals. No system that the bank has put in place can catch 100% of fraudulent attempts.
*** Commercial Accounts and Government Accounts are not covered under Regulation E. ***
In most circumstances you will be responsible for assuming the loss on fraudulent transactions. It is vital that your following best practices:
While these layered processes are designed to prevent fraud. They will not catch fraud 100% of the time. You are responsible for losses incurred on commercial and government accounts. Be vigilant and monitor your account at all times.
If at any time you have questions regarding security or possible fraud, please contact your local branch immediately.