FMB Bank is committed to informing customers of local scams and Internet fraud. Below you’ll find information about the latest schemes and ways to avoid becoming a victim.
If you can say "yes" to any of the following, you could be a victim of a scam!
- Is the check you received for an item sold on the Internet ?
- Was the check payable for more than the item sold?
- Did the check arrive by express mail?
- Is the check drawn on an account with a different name than the person who purchased your item?
- Did you receive something saying you're the winner of a lottery that you did not enter?
- Did the check come with instructions to wire the funds to a foreign country or large U.S. city?
- Are you receiving a percentage of the check for cashing it?
- Have you been asked to confirm or provide account information?
What is it?
Phishing is a form of criminal activity where individuals pose as legitimate entities to try to obtain or "fish" for personal information.
How Does it Work?
Individuals masquerade as legitimate companies and send what looks to be an official email, instant message, or fax requesting you "update" or "verify" credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security numbers, passwords, and any other sensitive information. Most recent attempts are targeting account holders. They will try to establish what financial institution you are affiliated with and send an official looking email from your bank to get account information.
What is it?
Pharming is a criminal activity where a website's information is acquired and traffic on that website is directed to another location in order to obtain personal information.
How Does it Work?
If an individual wants to obtain information illegally they will set up a fraudulent website that looks like the real web site in almost every aspect. They will then use "phishing" tactics to entice people to the website to divulge personal information such as pin numbers, account numbers and passwords.
Please Note: FMB Bank will NEVER send an unsolicited email requesting you to verify your personal information.
How Can I Protect Myself?
- Don't reply to emails from people or companies you don't recognize. Misspelled URL's are common deceptions as well as the @ symbol in web addresses.
- Contact the company cited in the email requesting your information by using a web address you know to be genuine.
- Avoid emailing personal and financial information. If you must, make sure you see the "lock" icon on your web browser's status bar before submitting any personal data. This "lock" icon signals that your information is secure during transmission.
- Be sure your virus protection software is current.
What is it?
It is the act of using someone's personal information illegally and without their knowledge to obtain bank accounts, credit cards or loans. The victim usually does not know this has occurred until they receive a past due or delinquent notice for items that have been purchased in their name.
How Do They Get My Information?
These are just a few of the ways thieves can obtain your information.
- Internet scams are used to acquire the information by claiming to be your financial institution wanting you to "update" or "confirm" private information.
- They will break into your car or home and take your wallet or other personal documents such as social security card and driver license.
- They will complete a change of address form to have your mail redirected to another location.
- They can get into your computer, especially those that do not have proper firewall protection.
- They call you on the telephone and trick you into giving your account number out over the phone.
What Can I Do to Protect Myself?
- Make sure the websites are legitimate and secure before giving out any of your information online.
- Keep your bank documents and any other personal information in a secure location.
- Shred private documents such as bank statements or credit card statements. Do not just throw them away.
- Reconcile your bank statement regularly to watch for any unauthorized transactions.
- Check your credit report annually.
- Do not give confidential information in response to an email. Banks do not request this type of information via email.
If I Become a Victim, What Should I Do?
- Report it immediately to the proper authorities.
- Notify your financial institution and any creditors.
- Notify the Federal Trade Commission, by calling 1.877.438.4338 or online at www.consumer.gov/idtheft .
- Notify government agencies such as the Post Office and Social Security Administration.
- Notify any credit bureaus and credit reporting agencies
Every consumer should be aware that Internet fraud is on the rise and should take precautions when purchasing or selling on the Internet. In each of the scenarios counterfeit checks are sent and good money is wired out leaving the customer at a loss. These are current examples of the types of scams that are being played out upon unsuspecting people.
A prospective buyer makes contact via email claiming they want to purchase the item you have for sale such as a car, boat, or motorcycle. You then receive a cashier's check in the mail for more than the asking price of the purchase. The buyer claims he made the check payable for the wrong amount by mistake and asks you to wire the money to someone else. The cashier's check later comes back counterfeit and you are out the difference. Ultimately you wired out good funds off a bad check.
You receive an email claiming you are the winner of a lottery. The company says you will receive a check in the mail that you are to cash at your bank. The email also includes instructions that you are to take the funds from the check and wire it out to pay for taxes or fees. The check sent to you is counterfeit and you are out the amount of the wire.
You are searching the Internet for job opportunities when you come upon a website claiming you can work from home by being a "bookkeeper" for this business. The company will send you checks and ask you to cash the checks and you keep a percentage of the money and wire out the rest. The checks that are sent are counterfeit and you are out the amount for the wire.
A person overseas claims they are inheriting a large sum of money but they are unable to move the money to the United States and needs assistance. They will send you a check, asking you to cash it and wire it back to help the person pay his transfer fee. In exchange you will receive part of the inheritance. The check they send is counterfeit and you are out the amount of the wire.
How Can I Protect Myself?
- Use extreme caution when dealing with someone outside your country.
- Ask your bank to help you verify the check sent. Let your customer service representative know the circumstances behind the check.
- Beware of "fast cash" opportunities or "no experience required" job postings.
- Always remember...If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!