Protect Your Information

 

Keeping Your Information Safe

In an increasingly electronic world, it becomes imperative that you are aware of the scams and threats to your confidential information and take steps to prevent identity theft from occurring. Helping customers educate themselves on ways to protect their information is a top priority at Farmers Bank & Trust.  While there is no guarantee against identity theft, below are some best practices to protect your sensitive data.

5 Scams Targeting Bank Customers

Government “imposter” frauds:

These schemes often start with a phone call, a letter, an email, a text message or a fax supposedly from a government agency, requiring an upfront payment or personal financial information, such as Social Security or bank account numbers.

“They might tell you that you owe taxes or fines or that you have an unpaid debt. They might even threaten you with a lawsuit or arrest if you don’t pay,” said Michael Benardo, manager of the FDIC’s Cyber Fraud and Financial Crimes Section. “Remember that if you provide personal information it can be used to commit fraud or be sold to identity thieves. Also, federal government agencies won’t ask you to send money for prizes or unpaid loans, and they won’t ask you to wire money to pay for anything.”

Debt collection scams:

Be on the lookout for fraudsters posing as debt collectors or law enforcement officials attempting to collect a debt that you don’t really owe. Red flags include a caller who won’t provide written proof of the debt you supposedly owe or who threatens you with arrest or violence for not paying.

Fraudulent job offers:

Criminals pose online or in classified advertisements as employers or recruiters offering enticing opportunities, such as working from home.  If you’re required to pay money in advance to “help secure the job” or you must provide a great deal of personal financial information for a “background check,” those are red flags of a potential fraud.

Another variation on this scam involves fake offers of part-time jobs as “mystery shoppers,” who are people paid to visit retail locations and then submit confidential reports about the experience. In an example of the fraudulent version, your job might be to receive a $500 check, go “undercover” to your bank, deposit the check into your account there, and then report back about the service provided. But you also would be instructed to immediately wire your new “employer” $500 out of your bank account to cover the check you just deposited. Days later, the bank will inform you that the check you deposited is counterfeit and you just lost $500 to thieves. One warning sign of this type of scam is that the potential employer requires you to have a bank account.

“Phishing” emails:

Scam artists send emails pretending to be from banks, popular merchants or other known entities, and they ask for personal information such as bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, dates of birth and other valuable details. The emails usually look legitimate because they include graphics copied from authentic websites and messages that appear valid.

“We have also seen emails with links to fake websites that are exact copies of real websites for FDIC-insured banks, except the web addresses are slightly different than the real ones,” said Doreen Eberley, director of the FDIC’s Division of Risk Management Supervision, which is in charge of the agency’s policies and programs related to financial crimes. “These sites are used to trick people into giving up valuable personal information that can be used to commit identity theft.”

Mortgage foreclosure rescue scams:

Today, many homeowners who are struggling financially and risk losing their homes may be vulnerable to false promises to refinance a mortgage under better terms or rates. But borrowers should always be on the lookout for scammers who falsely claim to be lenders, loan servicers, financial counselors, mortgage consultants, loan brokers or representatives of government agencies who can help avoid a mortgage foreclosure and offer a great deal at the same time. These criminals will present homeowners with what sounds like the life-saving offer they need. Instead, the homeowner is required to pay significant upfront fees or, even worse, tricked into signing documents that, in the fine print, transfer the ownership of the property to the criminal involved. Common warning signs of fraudulent mortgage assistance offers include a “guarantee” that foreclosure will be avoided and pressure to act fast.

For more information visit the FDIC website.

SafeGuard Checking

Our SafeGuard Checking account includes Identity Theft protection!

Learn More

Security in Your Home

  • Thoroughly shred paper documents with account or personal information on them or store them in a secure location.
  • Never give out any personal, financial or account information to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the contact. If you feel a request is suspicious, hang up the phone and contact the company directly.
  • Delete all information before you dispose of a personal computer.

Business E-Mail Compromise

Business e-mail compromise is one of the most costly and common scams targeting businesses. This document is a great resource to handout to all business employees dealing with finances. 

Read the full Business E-Mail Compromise Document

Personal Safety Measures

  • Limit the number of credit and debit cards and other personal information you carry in your wallet or purse.
  • Do not keep your Personal Identification Number (PIN) with your debit or credit cards.
  • Do not keep social security cards in your wallet or purse.
  • Report lost or stolen cards immediately by calling 1-877-798-2411 during business hours and 1-800-554-8969 after banking hours.
  • If you ordered a new card and haven't received it in 7-10 business days, notify your financial institution.
  • Sign all new cards upon receipt.
  • Cancel all inactive credit cards.
  • If you have a smart phone, it is recommended that you install a antivirus/malware software on your phone.
  • Review your credit report. Federal law allows you to get a free copy of your credit report annually from each reporting company. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com for your free copy.

Mail Precautions

  • Be cautious of checks received by mail that you were not expecting. Often these checks are accompanied by a letter requesting you wire part of the money out and then you may keep a portion of the check. These checks are later returned as fraudulent and you will be responsible for the full amount of the check deposited to your account.
  • Monitor your statements in a timely manner each month and report unauthorized charges immediately. Consider using e-Statements in lieu of receiving paper statements by mail.

Online Best Practices

  • Use anti-virus and anti-malware software to protect against computer viruses. Verify these programs are set to automatically update.
  • Do not download files from unknown sources.
  • Create strong passwords that are easy to remember but hard for others to guess. Best practice is to use a combination of capital and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters as allowed by each site. Change your passwords frequently and do not share your password or leave your password information sitting out where others could have access.
  • Beware of "spoofing" websites. Criminals can create fake websites to look like a website you may regularly visit in order to get your personal information or login credentials. The best way to know that you are going to the real website is by typing the URL directly in your browser or by saving it to your favorites for future use. As a general rule of thumb, look for a website address that starts with "https".
  • Never give out personal information over an email.
  • Turn off automatic log in features that save your user name and password.
  • Sign off of sites when your transactions are complete.

Learn more about Identity Theft and what to do if your identity is stolen.

In Your Work Environment

  • Keep your purse or wallet in a safe place.
  • Protect your user names and passwords and do not share this information with others.
  • Keep confidential files stored securely when not working on them or as you leave the office.