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Protect Yourself - Be Vigilant

Common scams to be aware of

Fraud is everywhere. With the ongoing use of personal devices and electronic everything, you need to be the best gatekeeper of your personal information. Here are some common scams that are happening more frequently and some best practices to protect your information.

Fraudulent Phone Calls & Voicemails

When someone calls from an unfamiliar number and claims they are from a large online retailer like Amazon, Apple, or maybe a place you have not heard of, proceed with caution. If they offer computer services or claim to owe you a refund, the alarm bells should be sounding in your head. What are they asking you to do? Is this something you recall doing or even ordering?

Take control of this conversation. Here are some questions you should ask:

  • Where are you located?
  • What is your call back number?
  • Please spell the name of the company you are representing?

Rather than follow their instructions, complete due diligence yourself before giving them any personal information. If they are actually calling from a legitimate company, they will understand why you want to be cautious. Do an online search to confirm the company's name, location, and, callback number. You will quickly find out if this is indeed a legitimate contact. Only return calls to phone numbers posted on the company website.

If the caller becomes agitated and pushy, you may be dealing with a fraudster who will try to bully you into giving them personal information. Do not allow this to happen. End the conversation. You do not have to provide anyone with anything over the phone when you are not comfortable. Review any credit card and bank statements for the charge they insinuated you had.

If there is a voicemail, call back with a phone number you find on the company’s website. Do not return the call with the number provided in the voicemail; this is often the fraudster.

Emails with Links – STOP! Don’t Click

Email is another method fraudsters will try to reach you. With the multiple email messages you receive throughout the day and night, several which may appear valid will slip through spam filters and land into your inbox. Be overly cautious when emails advise you to 'click a link.' Some examples include emails that appear to be from legitimate companies, like Amazon and Apple, stating that your method of payment was denied and your service will soon be canceled. The emails contain a link that the fraudster is hoping you will click. There are several ways they can infiltrate your device the second you click that link.

Rather than clicking any links provided in the email, login to your account and see if you have any messages, or call them directly with the information they have provided on their website. Do not click on any links or call phone numbers provided within the email.

Logging into your Online Banking

Never should there be a time where you will need to provide someone with your Online Banking login information or when you should allow someone to access your computer or device remotely to help you log in. If that information or access is requested, that should be an immediate red flag.

Protect Yourself

Common scams include:

  • Advising you they need to ‘verify a purchase’ and subsequently need to ‘reimburse’ you for the transaction.
  • The caller asking for your Online banking information. If you do not have this, they may offer to set this up with you over the phone.
  • ‘Accidentally’ depositing more than what the original amount was. The fraudster will advise you to either wire the money back or buy gift cards from major retailers. They will then ask you for those gift card numbers.
  • Asking for your computer's IP address so they can help you log in to your Online Bank account to assist in finding the ‘refund’ amount.
  • Emails that advise your payment method has been declined or that your order cannot be shipped and include a link. Instead of clicking the link, go to the company’s website to inquire directly about your account.
  • Checks sent to you in the mail that advise you to deposit them and only return a percentage of the amount in gift cards.

FIBT offers several tools that can help you stay in control of your accounts. Within Online Banking, we offer SecureAlerts. SecureAlerts can send alerts via text and email or through First International Bank & Trust’s mobile banking app or online banking. These security alerts, set up by you, can tell you when unusual activity occurs on your accounts. Another tool that can help you remain vigilant is Credit Sense. Credit Sense is a comprehensive program designed to help you stay on top of your credit. You will be informed by email if any big changes such as new account openings or credit inquiries are detected.

We hope hearing about some of these common scams will help you avoid becoming a victim. It is ok to ask questions and even hang up the phone when someone is making you uncomfortable. If something does not feel right, it usually isn’t. Be very cautious with any callers asking you for your personal information such as SSN, bank account information, and even Online Banking login credentials. There is never a reason to give this out over the phone. Do not automatically click on any links included in emails sent that may seem legitimate. Protect yourself and your information.